We considered two options as we fit ourselves into the kayaks attached to the small dock and pushed off onto the still water of the Lachine Canal.
We could go left and make our way towards the ‘burbs, to savour some quiet and chase the faint hope of a beaver sighting among the reeds. Or, we could turn right to submit ourselves towards the heart of Canada’s second biggest city, and all the buzz and whir that goes with it.
We started with a right turn.
Now that’s a first, I thought to myself, reflecting on sights that I’m not used to seeing while embarking on one of my favourite outdoor activities. Under shallow bridges, bright paint decorated those of the cement posts which were visible above the water. Graffiti has few limits, it seems.
Everywhere, construction. Even when we couldn’t see it in the neighbourhoods above us, we could hear it. The gentle sound of paddles scooping the water, that sound which (for me) bests the sound of a child’s laughter, was overwhelmed by consistent hammering.
Paths wind around the canal’s edge overhead and enthusiasts raced or rode upon them. Racing joggers I won against, cyclists, I did not. Cement trucks barreled by and I knew I’d lose that race too.
Wait, why was I racing?
A left turn, please.
We made our way back towards the kayak shop and beyond. While we never lost sight of the city views that surrounded us, the distinct buzz faded.
I could hear my own paddling. I could skim reeds along the edge and search for the elusive beaver, appreciating the song of river birds all the while.
I came upon a fisherman seated and hidden among a clump of trees. Not seeing him until the last second, I was likely close enough to be scaring off his potential dinner. I lifted my paddle to minimize disruption and glided by solely on the power of the canal. We made eye contact and exchanged the old Canadian tradition of raising our hands and slightly dipping our heads – each of us wordlessly apologizing for our existence even though we both had every right to be where we were at that moment.
Pete and I paused at the lock which ended our sojourn. We played around with camera angles, and just sat still to enjoy the near silence.
In the peace of the great outdoors, skimming over a still water’s surface is where I am most content. While I do wholly appreciate a good day in a vibrant city filled with cultural taste-testing and other such experiences, it appears that my two loves of city and kayaking may not be the best mix.
But the important history of the Lachine Canal is enough on it’s own to inspire this excursion, and it did offer another viewpoint of the city that few see.
And for next time, we know. Just turn left.
H2O Adventures offers several options for rental including kayaks, canoes, and electric powered boats.
We happily visited Montréal as guests of Tourism Montréal. All opinions, as always, are our own.
Now that’s something I’ll have to try if I make another trip to Montreal soon. Really only want to go back to see a couple museums I missed and eat more.
chinamatt recently posted..Guarding the Journey
We also enjoy kayaking, but don’t get to do it nearly enough. We’re changing that next week though. We’ll be sea kayaking to a volcano in Greece and can’t wait!
Jennifer recently posted..5 Summer Festivals Not to Miss in Northern Italy
Loved reading this write-up 🙂 Our travels have taught us the exact same lesson: the obvious path is never as exciting as ‘the left’
Vid of Bruised Passports recently posted..Lanzarote: Manrique’s Paradise
I have never kayaked! Looks like a fun activity! Next time I know too, which direction to turn to 🙂
Arti recently posted..Winners of the ‘One Picture from My Photo Album’ Contest… Announced!
Both directions seem the way to go – had you not turned right, you’d have missed the off the path view and perhaps that made heading into the opposite direction all the more relaxing. You doubled your fun 😀
Maria recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Cambodia
You always have such a great way at looking at things Maria! 🙂
In no way related to kayaking, but I have to say I like the ‘vale la pena’ tattoo. That’s a pretty nice reminder to have tattooed on your arm. 😉
Audrey | That Backpacker recently posted..Why I am NOT Renting a Scooter in SE Asia
Thanks Audrey! I have one too. 🙂 It was a nice reminder for us after all our time in South America.
You even make it SOUND relaxing.
I’ve actually never been kayaking, but I definitely need to soon.
Amanda recently posted..My Growing Love of Bike Tours
We can’t get enough, clearly! 🙂
I try to seek out that different perspective during travel… even if it’s just for the photography opportunities 🙂
Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Asian soul food (my most anticipated meal in Charleston)
I’ve only ever been kayaking once, on Milford Sound in New Zealand, and I got bit like crazy from a million sand flies. Maybe kayaking in a city would involve less bugs?
Yes, I was saved from bugs that time. When we went north of the city I got eaten alive when we started out, but once we got moving in our canoe, the bugs left us alone. 🙂
Where did you put your kayaks in?
Hi Fred, we put them in where H20 Adventures has their canal-side shack, you can find the details here: http://www.h2oadventures.ca/canal#!rentals/cj5l