You see this past weekend was the Spring Cottage LIfe show and when I bought my canoe from Langford back in the fall, I was told that they might use it as part of their kiosk display. Normally a trade show would be out of the questions, as I would have to keep an eye on the kids, rather then what was at the show, but being freed up of that chore, I jumped at the opportunity to catch a glimpse of my canoe.
I had no idea how large the show would be, for when I arrived at the convention centre on Airport Road, where it was held, I was shocked by the fact that the show covered 3 very large halls of the centre. Driving in, I thought I would never get a parking spot, but luck was on my side, and as I approached the main entrance to the show, a guy was pulling out of his spot, leaving his prime spot for me. I'd scored! Getting out of the car, I decided to leave my coat in the car, as the sun was shinning, and the brightness was enough to keep me warn for the brief 1 minute walk to the entrance. You would think such a short walk would be uneventful, but it was fantastic, for just outside the main entrance was parked a truck with 5 or 6 wood stoves on display, all burning fresh wood (to show consumers his product in action I guess) but in the process really treating everyone to the smell of a good campfire, even though we were adjacent to the Airport, ahh the smell of a campfire, how long its been. From there I proceeded to line up to pay for my ticket, and got a "third treat." You see, a man who had purchased bulk tickets to give to his clients (I guess he was an exhibitor) offered me three free VIP tickets, stating that he was done for the day, and didn't want them to go to waste. I accepted his offer, which aloud me to bypass the ticket line and head right into the show. Wow, I thought, I got a few hours of "free baby-sitting", a great parking spot, the smell of a real camp fire and now free entrance to the show.
As I wondered around I quickly realized that I should have brought a compass, as the place was huge, and filled to the rim with people. With a bit of navigation though, I was able to make my way to the Langford Kiosk, the only place I really wanted to visit, and as I approached it, there she was my canoe (or so I thought.) I couldn't contain my grin, but as I walked closer I realized that while the red canoes were prospectors, they were both 16'6" models, one with wood gunnels, the other was Kevlar, and not an Ultra Light.
Funny enough, mine not being there really didn't bother me, for as I looked around, the store owner recognized me from the fall, and he told me that he didn't want to bring a sold canoe to the show in case it got scratched or damaged while on display.
We chatted a bit and during our talk he informed me that my baby was in fact ready, and in dry storage in Dwight. He told me I could come and get it any time, but recommended waiting at least 3-4 weeks, as Dwight was still under 3 feet of snow, and that all but the very largest lakes of Algonquin were still deeply frozen over. In short, he suggested that an April trip would be very difficult, if at all possible, as the ice would still be in most areas of the Park, but that by early May, everything would be easily accessible by canoe, because the water levels will be very good this spring with the all the melt water that will be accumulated.
After chatting a bit longer, he asked if I was the guy with the kids" to which I replied yes, but not today, and he then told me to go by the "Outter Creek" Kiosk, as they were selling good kids paddles for a great price. I thanked him, and made my way there. Man, the place was packed, and everyone had paddles in their hands. To say the price was right, was an understatement as you could get 2 softwood "Beaver Tail" paddles for $20.00. I ended up getting two hardwood "Otter Tail" paddles, that were resin tipped for my kids, that while a bit large for them this year, will be good for them for the next 2 or 3 years. Being the "premium" paddles, I did not get them for $20.00 instead, I paid a whopping $30.00. I felt like I had just scored again!
After that I returned to my car, and as I walked through the lot I noticed an elderly couple in search of a spot. I told them to follow me to mine to which they were very thankful. I also gave them my remaining two free tickets, and when they asked "ho much" I replied "on the house, I'm only trying to return the favor that fait had given me today." While they couldn't have know what I meant, they accepted and then as I drove off, I called back to them "but on the condition that you go in through the main gates" Huh... they must have thought, but I hopped they'd enjoy the smell of a campfire as well.