Don Barrie


Hometown: London, ON

Paddle Distance: 20k 

Don has competed in some outdoor-oriented water events over the years including downriver races in Alberta & B.C. and Whitewater kayak slalom, and some surf kayak competitions too! 

 Don is excited to paddle the Lake Erie Challenge to raise awareness of the sport of paddling and the importance of our waterways. Don thinks it is important that we ensure Lake Erie is being cared for so that existing and future generations can enjoy and benefit from it commercially and recreationally as we do. 

The Canadian Freshwater Alliance chatted with Don about his upcoming kayak event, his training regimen and his connection to the Lake. 


CFA: What are you hoping that this challenge will bring about in terms of change and awareness for the issues Lake Erie is facing?

DB: I really hope that folks who support and follow the challenge will learn just how important Lake Erie is to Southwestern Ontario residents and others in terms of it being a substantial body of water in so many ways. Apart from being an important source of drinking water, the lake supports many recreational and commercial activities and so it is critical that we ensure it is treated accordingly so that existing and future generations can enjoy it and benefit from it.


CFA: Can you tell us about your first memories of Lake Erie? How often do you spend time on the Lake?

DB: Although I grew up in eastern Ontario, I have lived in B.C. for most of my adult life. I moved to Southwestern Ontario five years ago. So I have only spent a limited amount of time around our Great Lakes. Fortunately, I have a cousin with a cottage at Long Point on Lake Erie and I have been able to visit often over the last few years. I have spent a lot of days swimming and kayaking on the lake, launching from the sandy beaches at Long Point.


CFA: What do you love about Lake Erie?  

DB: As one of the smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie was the most convenient for me to get to know and visit. Lake Erie is a short drive from my home in London and I love all the small beach towns that can be found along the north shore of the lake.



CFA: What appeals to you about long distance challenges like this? What goes through your mind as your swimming/paddling for that long?

DB: Sometimes it can be a challenge to be both mentally and physically prepared for paddling events such as this one. All it takes is a poor sleep or some sore muscles to make you feel like you're not capable of your best performance on that given day. These kinds of challenges are all part of the process though. So it’s necessary to keep focused and positive in order to get through the event while hopefully achieving the goal of finishing in a reasonable amount of time and under your own power!


CFA: What does your training regimen for this kind of crossing look like? Are there any other sports or workout routines that you incorporate into training?

DB: My partner and I combine a variety of canoe, river kayak and ocean kayak trips on various Ontario waterways in order to stay in paddling shape. This summer, we will have also completed at least one wilderness canoe trip up north where the portages alone are a killer workout!


Donate here to support Don in the challenge!