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Get your paddles in the water at MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest

An adventurous kayaker shoots down the slide at MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest
Courtesy of MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Canada’s leading outdoor retailer, is organizing 12 MEC Paddlefest events across the country, including one happening in Winnipeg:

MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest
FortWhyte Alive @ 1961 McCreary Road
Sunday, June 8th from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Free public admission – all are welcome!

MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest is a celebration of paddling, and all things related. It’s a kick-off to the summer watersport season, bringing together professional paddlers, manufacturers, clubs, and members of the public for a fun day of activities.

Paddlers of all types can participate in skills clinics, demos, gear swaps, and more, with a variety of workshops held on-land and on-water. Novices will discover helpful information and a chance to try the sport, while the more adept paddler will enjoy professional tips and tricks, and get a firsthand look at some of the latest gear.

“As everyone knows, it’s been a long winter here in Winnipeg. So we’re definitely ready to get out there and get back on the water,” says Jamie Hilland, Coordinator for MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest, and passionate paddler himself.

“Canada has countless rivers, lakes and ocean shores best explored by paddle, and MEC wants to help both beginners and long-time enthusiasts find the perfect water adventure,” adds Hilland, who is also a Paddle Canada Kayak instructor for WAVPaddling, previous board member of Paddle Manitoba, past Regional Director for Paddle Canada, and a founding member of the Manitoba Whitewater Club.


MEC is teaming up with a number of other organizations – including event host FortWhyte Alive – to round out the many activities that will take place at MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest. Here are some of the things happening on the day:

 Free Canoe, Kayak and SUP on site rentals all day long! Everyone is invited to come and try out a boat or board on the lakes at Fort Whyte Alive, with on water safety being provided from members of the Manitoba Whitewater Club.
 Paddleswap (gear swap) held adjacent to the Alloway Reception building.
 New product sales and boat demonstrations from Wilderness Supply and MEC Winnipeg.
 Representatives onsite from Paddle Manitoba, Manitoba Whitewater Club, Parkland Paddling Club, and Paddle Canada.
 Advice on gear, planning for trips, and selecting routes.
 The Lake Winnipeg Foundation, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society will be on hand to help educate attendees on water issues in Manitoba
 There will be the best Paddling films from the Waterwalker Film Festival being shown for free all day as part of the festival this year
 Demonstrations by WAVPaddling and Hardcore Paddleboards.
 FortWhyte Alive will offer numerous drop-in sessions – dipnetting on the boardwalks, canoe craft, bannock baking, carnival games, archery, voyageur canoe experience, and atl atl (prehistoric spear throwing!).
 Art City will run art sessions throughout the day – paddlers are encouraged to bring in their old paddles and have them decorated by the kids at Paddlefest.
 A fun and friendly SUP, Kayak and Canoe race in the afternoon for all levels!
 Slacklining demos by MEC Winnipeg.
 Watch members of the Manitoba Whitewater Club shooting down the slide all day!


There is a $5 charge for each clinic and workshop. Waitlists will be created on the day, and participants must be at the clinic/workshop before it begins (or their space will be forfeited to someone on the waitlist). Participants must be 14 to enroll in adult courses, parents must sign waivers for children to attend the kids paddling clinic. The list of clinics and workshops include:

 Paddling instruction for kids, teens and adults in SUP, Kayaking and Canoeing.
 ‘Learn to Slackline’ session by MEC Winnipeg.

All clinic and workshop participants will be given a ‘Club Day’ card entitling them to 10 % off in-store purchases at MEC Winnipeg on June 20th, 2014.

While canoes and kayaks and stand up paddleboards (SUPs) will be available for use at MEC Winnipeg Paddlefest, participants are welcome to bring their own boats and enjoy the lakes at FortWhyte Alive.

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