WO Access Agreement Testimonial: Queensborough, Black River, Elaine & Lud Kapusta

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Kayakers and Queensborough

We spoke to siblings and all concur that we did not see paddlers here until we were adults and came home to visit our parents.  We agreed that we began to see the first spring paddlers in the mid-70s.

Previously, there had always been boats/canoes on the river and millpond.  Many children of Queensborough will tell you their hair-raising adventures on the river.  When I asked my older brother when he thought paddlers first came, he recalled how he and his friend almost drowned trying to ride over the first rapids north of the millpond.  He pointed out that it was an old tin boat, as aluminium boats hadn’t been invented yet.  So you see many a young man has had a run at running the spring water down some section of The Black.

According to my first memories of canoers in Queensborough in the 70’s and 80’s, the paddlers mainly went down The Black putting in at Queensborough. When we looked out our dinning room windows and saw them arriving [and to this very day], there was much shouting, clapping and yelling, “the canoers are here”.  Later, we changed it to “the kayakers are here” and now we do try to use the more inclusive term “paddlers”.

So the question becomes, why so much excitement about this arrival of a group of people into our small hamlet?  Possible oft-repeated reasons are that Kayakers/paddlers represent that the ice is gone and spring is well on its way.  Also today they come with such colour, such enthusiasm, apparently thrilled to be in our small hamlet.  Why then would we not also be thrilled to have such people to appreciate our wee spot on the planet?   And then I’m sure many residents feel as I do, that I’m down right envious that I am not going down the river with them.

Yes, kayakers bring excitement, joy and entertainment to a rather quiet little hamlet, while the wide variety of kayaks brings a splash of colour that automatically announces a celebration of spring.  And as in all small rural communities throughout Ontario, it is always appropriate to celebrate by eating.  In 2006, we started to serve coffee down at the river’s edge, quickly realising that as Queensborough had many excellent pie bakers why not sell pie with that coffee to raise funds for our one room schoolhouse community centre.  The paddlers/kaykers have embraced our fundraising and it has become one of the main fundraiser events in our community,

Queensborough and paddlers/kayakers have become partners.  Over the years we have shared the high water, sunshine and downright miserable cold, icy times together.  I guess the hamlet has morphed into land dwelling paddlers.  Bad weather is just part of the fun.  Otherwise why would you stand outside getting wet while watching people who have wet suits on?  I think we have got the whitewater bug and it is here to stay.

The residents of Queensborough and the Kapusta family look forward to a long relationship with paddlers.

Ludwik & Elaine Kapusta
March 12, 2012

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