The cultural vitality of South Marysburgh is highlighted by many longstanding annual events such as The Milford Fair, Winter Carnival, The Marysburgh Mummers, Music at Port Milford, and Vicki’s Veggies’ Victoria Day Weekend Heirloom Tomato Seedling Sale and Labour Day Weekend Heirloom Hurrah Tomato Tasting.
But another annual event has enjoyed great longevity, too. St. Philip’s Annual Canoe Trip has been a time-honoured tradition for the last 22 years.
It all began in the spring of 1995 when members of St. Philip’s Anglican Church in Milford, along with anyone else who wanted to come along, took a canoe trip down the Black River. Ever since, it has been a popular annual event.
All residents of South Marysburgh are invited to participate. On Monday, May 22, bring your canoe, kayak or paddle board to Harley and Karen Guernsey’s home at 17 Chapman Crescent in Milford ( Google map ). Launch time is 11 am. The destination is the dock at Black River Bed and Breakfast run by Conrad Biernacki and Brian Musselwhite at 68 Morrison Point Road. It’s just beyond Black River Cheese (Black River Bridge, County Road 13). Look for the brightly coloured fish windsock on your left. (McMahon’s Bluff is on your right and Prince Edward Bay is straight ahead.)
It’s not a race! But a gentle paddle down one of the longest and the most picturesque rivers in the County. The ever-changing views along the winding Black River will keep you in awe for the entire two hour, six kilometre trip. It’s not that strenuous—you’re going with the current!
Most of the trip is through areas of forest and farm pastures. Watch for Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Mute Swans, Swamp Sparrows, Baltimore Orioles, Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroats, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and Mallard, American Black and Wood Ducks. Painted and Blanding’s turtles may be seen sunning themselves on rocks and logs.
Keep track of the different birds you see along the river. After you’ve docked (and stretched your legs), you’ll notice a board displaying photographs of all the birds likely to be seen at this time of year. Put a sticker on the ones you saw. Those with the greatest number of stickers will win prizes!
Black River, known as the largest river in the County, is actually the third longest: Consecon Creek is 34.5 km, Sawguin Creek is 19.3 km, and Black River is 19.2. We lost second place by only one-tenth of a kilometre! But we’ll keep the bragging rights about being the “largest,” eh?
The drainage area of Black River begins in the north just this side of Lake on the Mountain and Waupoos. From Picton, it runs from Macaulay Mountain south to almost as far as Soup Harbour. The eastern boundary stretches to South Bay. Before the last ice age, Black River is thought to have flowed into Soup Harbour instead of making the abrupt turn eastward at Milford as it does today. The drainage basin for Black River is almost 150 square kilometres, approximately half the area of the eastern part of the County.
For the first time, the landing party will enjoy live music. This year by Bill McBurney. Some of you may have already enjoyed his performances around the County or have his CD. And off the BBQ will come not only sizzling hotdogs donated by the Gurenseys, but delicious pastured pork and bacon burgers courtesy of Bob and Shelia Burkinshaw of Morrison Point Farm. Once again, Bill Cowan will be our BBQ master. Salads are provided by the volunteers at St. Philip’s Church.
For the first time, the landing party will enjoy live music. This year by Bill McBurney. Some of you may have already enjoyed his performances around the County or have his CD. And off the BBQ will come not only sizzling hotdogs, but delicious pastured pork and bacon burgers courtesy of Bob and Shelia Burkinshaw of Morrison Point Farm. Once again, Bill Cowan will be our BBQ master. Salads are provided by the volunteers at St. Philip’s Church.
Many of you already make this an annual must-do event. The weather has never defeated the spirit of the St. Philip’s Annual Victoria Day Canoe Trip! It’s where old and new friends meet. New participants are heartily welcome! It’s the perfect way to end the May long weekend.
Remember to bring life jackets and any extra ones that you might have. Don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars. No canoe? No worries. Let us know and we’ll try to find one for you. If you have canoes, paddles or lifejackets that you would kindly lend for the Canoe Trip, please let us know. They will be picked up and promptly returned by members of the Canoe Trip committee.
Further information: Emily Cowan 613 885 2299
Conrad Biernacki 613 476 7346
Questions about canoes: Ben Cowan 613 827 7157