The 50th day of a 60-day canoe trip for six Toronto teens saw them land at the North Bay waterfront.
Jacob Heisey, one of the canoers, says he had North Bay circled before their journey even began.
“When we first started this trip I would look at North Bay as where the trip is coming to an end. To be here now is crazy,” he said.
Heisey and his friends are all camp counsellors who were out of work because of the pandemic. In June, the six decided to canoe and portage over 2,000 km from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, raising money for Food Banks Canada.
They will portage from Lake Nipissing to Trout Lake to continue their adventure.
Their goal of $60,000 has already been exceeded with 10 days remaining. Heisey says that he’s learned a lot about himself during the journey.
“I’ve learned that I can accomplish a lot more than I thought I could. At the beginning of this trip, I thought we would get half of our goal… It’s insane to know that me and my friends can accomplish anything we put our minds to,” he said.
The six crossed Lake Nipissing on Friday, landing at the North Bay waterfront where they were greeted by some friends and family. Heisey says the open water can be challenging.
“[Lake Nipissing] was quite the journey in itself. We paddled a 10 km crossing and the waves just in those 10 kilometres were pretty hairy,” he said.
Heisey adds that the support he and his friends have received at every stop has been a nice boost. He says that the long days of paddling can take a toll on more than just the body.
“We’ve had many days paddling where it’s just 50 km straight…It’s so draining because your body gets used to it but it’s tough on the mind,” Heisey said.
The six boys: Cailan Robinson, George Kirijian, Nolan Aziz, Tim Mulligan, Will Vyse, and Heisey all graduated from high school this year. They worked together last summer at Camp Ahmek in Algonquin Park where they were counsellors-in-training and canoe instructors.
After 50 days, the six are on track to land in Ottawa in their expected time, with the opportunity to go above and beyond their fundraising goal in the process.