What We Do
Canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, environmental stewardship, fellowship and fun. These are the primary objectives of the Ancient Mariners Canoe Club.
From April to October the Mariners canoe weekly, usually on one of the rivers in the Grand River watershed - the Grand, Speed, Conestogo, Nith, or Eramosa. Canoe trips range from two to four hours with a lunch stop en route. Members volunteer as trip leaders, responsible for scouting, organizing and leading one or two trips a year.
The canoe club owns and maintains a fleet of 34 canoes, plus paddles, PFDs, safety equipment, and four trailers. Members who are capable of doing so take turns towing trailers to the put-in site. A few Mariners use their own canoes.
Overnight trips are also offered. Chesley Lake Camp in June and in September are popular destinations. Some Mariners enjoy wilderness camping and paddling in Algonquin or Massassauga Park or along the French River. A five-day getaway at Bondi Village in Muskoka is a highlight for those who enjoy cross-country skiing and winter hiking.
In late October we wash, wax and put away the canoes, ready to begin our weekly hikes in nearby conservation areas and forest tracts. At first snow many Mariners get out their cross-country skis and hit the local trails. Some enjoy bowling. Even in winter we take a lunch and enjoy the fellowship, usually back at one of the Cambridge 50+ Recreation Centres or in our Boathouse at Riverbluffs Park.
In addition to scheduled river and trail clean-up days, Mariners are encouraged to pick up garbage as we paddle or hike. Caring for the environment is one of our commitments. We also collect, crush and recycle aluminum pop cans – a significant source of revenue for the club. An annual yard sale is another major fundraiser.
Social activities include a strawberry social, corn roast, BBQ, Christmas lunch, and a breakfast to celebrate the winter solstice.