Woodbridge-Browne Madawaska 2014

Woodbridge-Browne Madawaska Trip

The whole gang at the pull-out at Griffith
The whole gang at the pull-out at Griffith

A couple weeks ago my whole immediate family (older brother Rob, younger brother Peter, oldest sister Tini, and Roy, my dad) and I joined up with some longtime family friends (Tom, a highschool buddy of my dad’s, and his daughter, Michelle, who is my sister’s age) to run the Madawaska.

Dad and Tom Running the Madawaska in 2008
Dad and Tom Running the Madawaska in 2008

It turned out to be a rather bittersweet trip. I was introduced to kayaking and canoeing, and the Madawaska River, by my dad and Tom when I was just a kid. But, despite the apparent ease with which they ran each set of rapids, or the fact that they were a football field in front of the ‘kids’ for the entire trip, these guys are 74 years old, and – after an estimated 4,000 miles of river paddling – this might have been their final trip down a magical Canadian river.

And it was a rockin good time: YouTube Preview Image

I spent most of this trip recording video (those three minutes have been whittled down from about 3 hours of footage), so just a picture show this time:

Expedition Shoppe 30th Anniversary Poster

A Bit of Expedition Shoppe History

Expedition Shoppe 30th Anniversary Poster
Expedition Shoppe 30th Anniversary Poster

I’m not usually one to shill for a retailer, but I got this email from the Expedition Shoppe promoting their 30th anniversary sale and found it to be a neat look at how the little store in the ByWard Market came to be.

Dear friends,

Expedition Shoppe is turning 30! Time sure flies when you’re having fun.

It was 30 years ago this July that I opened a little travel shop in the ByWard Market. The year was 1984 and I was 25 years old. I remember it well…opening the Shoppe was a big life decision. I had about $4,000 to my name and the travel gods were calling. Travel addiction is a powerful force, but luckily I made the right decision and began a new chapter in life as a small business owner.

It was a humble beginning…my whole inventory consisted of a couple of dozen of backpacks and sleeping bags, some travel accessories, and a few pieces of men and women’s apparel. That’s was it!

And to complicate matters with opening day fast-approaching, I realized we didn’t have anything to properly display our products and clothing. So off my brother- in-law and I went to the bush, returning with a small mountain of cherry tree branches tied to the roof of my beat up car. It was quite a sight! But it all worked out well and we had the hippest clothing and pack displays in the city. We had more than one compliment on our ‘natural’ clothing racks and ‘rustic’ displays.

My little stockroom consisted of a big wooden box and some makeshift plywood shelves—all hidden neatly behind some fabric curtains. Using some old panels and string, we concocted a respectable hanging dressing room. A section of an old counter (left by the former tenant) was buffed up, refitted and converted into an attractive cash counter, and the rest is history! It brings a smile recalling those first days. There was electricity in the air…we were having fun and really believed in what we were doing, and building. Life was good.

Today I am proud to say that it’s now officially three decades that we’ve been serving you — our loyal customers — and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. To mark this special milestone we’re having a big sale starting Friday, July 18th, and we wanted to let you know about it.
I look forward to seeing you again soon, and thank you, again.


José Ponsoda, Founder/Co-Owner

Man – thirty years ago snowboarding wasn’t even on the radar, “waterproof bags” were just garbage bags, and tents took their whole backpack. Ok, I exaggerate a little, but the Expedition Shoppe has been around through a lot of changes – my older brother even worked there back in the early 90′s – and I thought this little glimpse into their fledgling start deserved to be shared.

Congrats, José!

Expedition Shoppe is holding a massive 3-day sale starting on July 18th with 30% off pretty much everything. Apparently you get another 10% off if you mention this email, so go for it!
Velo MSM Mountain Fest Poster

Check Out Velo MSM’s Mountain Fest this Weekend?

I’m going to go check out Mountain Fest on the weekend!

Velo MSM Mountain Fest Poster
Velo MSM Mountain Fest Poster

July 18-20 is Velo MSM’s inaugural Mountain Fest: a fun-filled weekend of mountain biking for riders of all skill levels, with clinics, races, stuff for kids, live music, good food… you get the idea.

Nick riding a section near the top of MSM
Nick riding a section near the top of MSM (2012)

A couple friends and I hit up the trails on Mont Ste. Marie a couple years ago and the trails were very rough, way out of our league. Don’t get me wrong: we had a blast hacking our way down the single run we managed in 4 hours (watch me suck pond in the 10-second clip below), but more work clearly needed to be done before these trails went mainstream.

Continue reading

Peter Scouting the Lower Set at Palmer Rapids

Kayaking At Palmer Rapids

I finally made it up to Palmer Rapids last weekend with my brother, Peter, and a couple friends for some kayaking.

Day 1

No Camping Sign at Palmer Rapids
No Camping Sign at Palmer Rapids

We arrived pretty much at dark on Saturday and took one of the last spots available, but Harold the Farmer was down at our site within 10 minutes to collect the $20 and offer up some wood for sale. Some steak dinner with corn, a little camp fire, and then we retired to get the most out of the Sunday.

Day 2 Continue reading

Results Of Police Bicycling Crackdown

ottawa-bike-copOfficers from the Ottawa Police Central District Community team conducted a Bicycle safety and enforcement campaign on June 26th and June 27th 2014, to raise awareness of cycling safety and ensure cyclists were following the rules of the road as set out in both the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and Municipal Bylaws.

The safety and enforcement campaign focused on high-density areas such as the downtown core, Vanier, ByWard Market, Rideau, Hintonburg and Centretown. As a result, officers stopped over 130 cyclists over the course of the 2 days and issued:

  • 124 warnings for “rules of the road” violations;
  • 36 warnings for “equipment” violations;
  • 14 provincial offences tickets for “rules of the road” violations;
  • 2 provincial offences tickets for “equipment violations”.

“The safety of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians is a priority for the Ottawa Police Service and this campaign was an opportunity to educate and conduct enforcement,” said S/Sgt. Atallah Sadaka, of Central District Community.

The Central District Community team encourages the public to visit our website for more bicycle safety tips at: