‘Canoe for Every Child’ paddlers close completing journey

A pair of Northern Ontario women are well on their way in their canoe journey from Sault Ste. Marie to Spanish. Paige Simon and Lue Mahaffey set out in their orange canoe last Friday as they launched their "Canoe For Every Child" campaign, with a goal of raising money for First Nations water issues as well as raising awareness of residential schools.

The pair began their journey near the former Shingwauk Residential School in the Soo, and they're paddling along the shores of Lake Huron to the former residential school in Spanish. Recent stormy weather and choppy waters forced the pair to take an unscheduled break near Serpent River.

"A few nights ago when were coming out of Thessalon First Nation, it was pretty bad," says Simon. "It was very wavy, and we had to, like, make an emergency landing on an island and stay there for the night."

"Today was the first day that it just wasn't safe to even go on the water," adds Mahaffey. "Thunderstorms coming in. We've got a tarp over our tent just to try to keep us a little bit extra dry. But we're kind of camping out until it clears a little."

Until this latest setback, Simon says the weather has been very cooperative.

"The weather has been in our favour for sure," she says. "We're actually way ahead of schedule and we're getting to our destination way sooner than we expected to be."

The pair says they have reached the halfway point of their $75,000 fundraising goal, which they will donate to "Water First," - an organization working to address drinking water challenges on First Nations.

Simon and Mahaffey are updating their "Canoe For Every Child" campaign regularly on their Facebook page, where information on how to donate to the cause can also be found.