Cold temperatures and wind welcomed participants in this year's event. Runners were treated to several rain showers before 6 am and temperatures below 7 celsius which, when you're moving, is quite refreshing, and when you're not, is bone chilling. Collectively the group suffered only one rolled ankle, a good outcome considering the terrain, conditions, and darkness.
We once again were able to paddle the Don and started further upstream than previous years. The paddle launch went smoothly once the runners recovered from their early morning trauma.
The Don was spectacular as usual, with the morning's rain raising the water level just enough to make it easily passable. The construction at the mouth of the Don provided two log booms to traverse and a stark contrast to the beauty upriver. Entering Toronto Harbour we had a strong tail wind and excellent water conditions. Unfortunately conditions worsened quickly leading to very challenging, large, choppy waves towards the western gap. Struggling to stay perpendicular to the waves, the crews of the 12 canoes went from snapping selfies twenty minutes earlier to survival mode. Only one canoe capsized and although two souls were lost, they were quickly found and fished out of the water. A super-friendly interaction with Toronto Harbour Fire Rescue and Toronto Harbour Police ensued, resulting in the found souls being pampered at the fire station and urged on to the start of the portage.
The portage was fairly windy but the team worked very effectively to get packs and canoes across the city with ease and, after a super-generous meal and rest at the Tollkeeper's Cottage, we travelled past the Yorkville Fire Station and down to the Brickworks. Having a spectacular view of the city with new and old friends around the fire, after having done a hard days work, is a great way to end any day!
People at their best... cold and tired but close together and smiling.
Okay, this has got to be an AI generated image. We didn't have a campfire with beer and that kind of view did we?
The first Davenportage. Mike, Nick, John and Blake. It was a lot harder than expected! Beer had to wait.
Rosaire and Torontoadventures.ca - for once again loaning us all of the canoes, life jackets and paddles we needed, and this year bringing them to the start of the paddle for us. Logistically a lot easier for the disorganizers. Tell your friends... they rock... and a great way to spend an afternoon in the spring-summer-fall on the Humber River.
Marilyn and the Tollkeeper's Cottage team -for once again (year 10) providing unmatched hospitality. In Marilyn's words: 'tasteless pea soup, and rock hard biscuits'. Of course the fare is far from that... a well deserved meal and a place to recover! 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm on Davenportage Day, you'll find a mottly crew being fed by an eager team of early settlers; priceless!
Seavey - for writing such a long and heartfelt article about Davenportage in UofT's Varsity Magazine. She portrayed the event in a more positive light than needed; but she provided accurate insights on the event and her balance and honesty made really great reading. Thanks Seavey!
David and Mikhail - for capsizing their canoe, attracting countless search and rescue boats, and then showing up at the start of the portage warm, fed and ready to go. Thanks for adding yet another legend to the madness and fun; and glad that you were both pulled out of the water and successfully revived!
Marc B - for taking our call hours before the start of the run to film a poor quality documentary, driving through the night to start filming at 4:00 am, getting sucked into paddling a canoe through treacherous conditions, risking your life with one hand on your camera and the other waving for help, and finally abandoning filming entirely to enjoy the event properly.
Toronto Fire Rescue - for retrieving our capsized canoe from the harbour and warming up and serving tea to David and Mikhail, the heroes of the day.
All Participants - thank you all for coming out and sharing your energy, optimism, and work ethic to make the event what it is.
We don't normally show pictures of the runners. This group is clearly insane and their employers and loved ones may not know.
FOR HISTORIAN ATHLETES AND VOYAGEUR PHILOSOPHERS