I have held a special place in my heart for the Cornwall Crew for a while now, even though I have never met them. This group of paddlers range all ages, all backgrounds and all skill levels. I have heard nothing but amazing things about them from fellow paddlers who have worked clinics and went on excursions with this group.
Cornwall is a very interesting town. I had the opportunity to live there for three months while on a course at the Navigation Canada Training Facility, and this was when I first finally got to meet Robert Zwanenburg at a local coffee shop (which boasted the best coffee in town!).
I was extremely impressed with Rob’s vision of “Family Paddling”, and even more impressed that he could organize and maintain a club of this magnitude in a town with no whitewater!! This club includes Rob’s wife, son and daughter, along with many other children and adults of different ages and abilities in the Cornwall/Alexandria/Valleyfield area. They travel all over to New York state, the Ottawa River, the Rouge River, Valleyfield, Palmerfest, Champlain Bridge, all while maintaining family cohesion and improving on their skills as a team.
Their club website has all the info you need: http://www.cornwallwhitewater.com
Robert mentioned that the club was meeting at Valleyfield after work today, and even though I was getting over a brutal cold (complete with sore throat and sinusitis), I decided to meet up with them and see what this whitewater course was all about.
After driving through two cities rush hours, I finally made it to the Valleyfield course. It wasn’t what I had expected at all! Here, nestled between the loading bay for a Zellers and an old folks home, was a gem of whitewater, slalom gates and play holes! I got to meet Rob’s family, other CReW members, and watch some slalom boaters practise their skills.
We spent some time up at the top holes, spinning and looping, before making our way down the course. The course was a great little spot for paddlers of all levels, and I really enjoyed experiencing it and meeting the CReW! What a great after-work session!