WHY a canoe school?

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  • #2284
    Neil Burrell

    Your WHY
    I’ve spent a lifetime exploring my own thoughts, while paddling along shorelines on lakes, rivers and marshes. Now, I’m ready to help you acquire the canoe skills you’ll need so you can go where you want to go. To explore your thoughts and discover your own things and places. Let’s get your own life-long canoeing adventure started!

    Business WHY
    We offer a graduated progression of training to meet your needs. Whether you want a short introduction to safety and paddling or a more in-depth training to successfully paddle and steer with confidence, we can get you started!

    Customers WHY
    Sustainability, environmentalism, mindfulness, self-determination – what’s not to love about it!

    Erin Melnychuk

    Hi Neil,

    Ready your post got me thinking about, what is now referred to as the ‘experience economy’. This is a fancy way of saying that people will buy based on how they feel when they experience your product/service. They want to buy an experience more than they want just any old product or service. I think you’ve really connected with that in your customers’ WHY. You’ve connected with their values, which is one part of ‘feeling’ but the aspects of mindfulness and self determination really start to connect with what they will experience.

    I would encourage you to keep thinking more about the experience you are selling.


    Laura Svab

    Hi Neil,

    I too am enjoy all forms of paddling. There is something so peaceful and therapeutic about being on the water and connected with nature.

    When I was a teen, I was in army cadets and during the summer I did two watermanship courses where we trained and then ultimately went on a week long canoe trips. I loved the experience so much that I enjoy canoe camping with friends annually. Perhaps, this may be an experience you could offer as part of your business model down the road. You could provide the training and also potentially facilitate these experiences through guiding or renting out equipment.

    I also really liked your idea to potentially partner with Artur and his woodworking business. I mentioned to him that there is likely funding or grants available through VAC that could help provide you with equipment and materials.



    Judy Evans

    Oh the power of networking and sharing of ideas! Keep these great ideas flowing!


    Anthony Bullen


    Your idea is awesome as well. I love all things outdoors and went into the reserves from the reg force mainly because my job was not allowing me time to do the things I wanted. I have a friend named Jason Mackinnon (a retired SAR Tech) who builds Canoes and Paddles in Nova Scotia he is extremely talented. He actually owns a business and he will take people through the process of building their own canoe by hand. I have reached out to him just out of curiosity to see if he still does this. Would you be interested in his contact info?


    Neil Burrell

    Yes, Anthony I would be very interested in chatting with Jason, perhaps by zoom. I’d like to make him one of my interviews – who buys his boats, what level of canoeing experience do they have before building a boat? When I was 17 years old, I laid-up a fiberglass canoe as part of a Venture group. We made 8 of them for $80 each. That boat didn’t really survive the snow last winter but I got 45 years out of it!

    Anthony Bullen


    I was talking to him yesterday. Here is his business http://harmonywoodcraft.blogspot.com/ I told him about you and he said to go ahead and pass on his info. He’s an awesome guy and a very skilled craftsman. 45 years is impressive! I have an aluminum canoe just because I like how indestructible they are and the amount of weight you can carry in them but they are a tank! Jason builds all kinds of different types and does hand carved paddles. You could probably also msg him on FB his name on there is Jason Mackinnon and it’s a picture of him paddling in a canoe…shocker. Hope all is well!


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