A Kayaking and Picnic Adventure

12 Sep

This week I’m judging the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) Awards, so I’ve been trying some fantastic activities that were finalists in the Culinary Tourism Experience category.

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Just before school went back, my son and I spent an evening kayaking and picnicking with the Culinary Adventure Company, whose motto is “adrenaline for foodies.” Even though we live in Toronto, we got to see sides of the city we never knew existed.

We set off across Lake Ontario with around a dozen people in a freighter canoe, like the ones the earliest Canadian settlers used. Paddling to burn calories in anticipation of dinner, we headed towards the yacht club then across the lagoons of a bird sanctuary, where everyone fell silent and lifted their paddles to take in the full Hitchcockian glory.

Once we’d docked at the Toronto Islands, our chefs prepared supper–a sumptuous spread of local pork, charcuterie, chutneys, breads, pickles, cheeses, salads, and to finish up: birthday cake, which we ate at our long table as the sun set. (Sadly, there was not enough light in the forested spot to capture this feast in photos.) Our hosts invited us to take seconds and thirds rather than carry food back. Nobody argued.

After dinner we got back in the kayak to return in the dark, sharing the waters with swans and paddle boarders.

As we turned the last bend to leave the waterways around the islands, we got our first glimpse of the city at night. Seeing it lit up red, pink and blue across the lake was kind of magical; my son said he would happily have sat out on the water all night. I’m glad we got to share such a memorable experience.

What are your favourite picnic memories?

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