A trip to the past by CALEB NICKERSON

About a dozen Métis youth from across Ontario took part in the Métis Nation of Ontario’s Canoe Expedition 2017 over the summer, starting in Ottawa in May and finishing in Kenora, Ont. in August. The route took the paddlers all across Ontario’s rivers and watersheds, with a brief break in the middle to visit Métis communities in south-western Ontario. During their days on the water, the group of about a dozen would average around 40 km per day.

The Pontiac and the river that marks its western boundary are steeped in history. Before paved roads and cars, the water was the quickest way to transport goods. Rivers and lakes were vital trade routes and transportation arteries.
This summer, one young man with local ties got a first-hand lesson in traversing these ancient highways the way his ancestors did it, by canoe.
Will McLean is a burly lad of 20 years that hails from Toronto but grew up coming to Norway Bay in the summers. He is currently studying at psychology and philosophy at the University of Ottawa.

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