'They've loved it'
For Inez Stockmann, touring the Canadian wilderness has been a real treat.
The Netherlands citizen is one of 60 rowers from 13 countries who participated in the 2012 FISA World Rowing Tour Aug. 25-Sept. 1.
Past tours have been in places such as Argentina, Australia and Japan. This year, though, the tour was in our own backyard — the West Arm of Lake Nipissing, the French River and Lake Ramsey here in Sudbury.
“I come from a very crowded land,” Stockmann said, when asked about her impressions of Canada. “You have space, wilderness, silence, clean water, trees and clean air. We haven't got those things in Holland.”
The tour, which was sponsored by Northern Life, came to Canada mostly through the initiative of Sudbury Rowing Club member Donna Speigel.
A few years ago, she submitted an application to the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron (FISA), the international body for the sport of rowing, which puts on a tour every year.
“I was accepted and told I could have the tour in 2012,” Speigel said. The last time the FISA World Rowing Tour visited Canada was 10 years ago, when it took place on the Rideau River, from Ottawa to Kingston.
In organizing the tour, Speigel was supported by Ontario Adventure Rowing, the Sudbury Rowing Club, Row Ontario and Rowing Canada.
The goal of the tour is to welcome rowers of all nationalities and ages, combining tourism with fitness and fun.
Speigel said she's certainly kept the participants busy, getting them to row 35 to 40 kilometres a day.
Participants spent several days rowing on the West Arm of Lake Nipissing and the French River.
The tour was capped off Sept. 1 with a row on Lake Ramsey in Sudbury, followed by a lunch at the Living with Lakes Centre, and a closing dinner at the Vale Cavern at Science North.
She said she's gotten a lot of compliments from participants.
“They've loved it,” Speigel said.
“They appreciate the landscape. They can't believe how many waterways we have, the purity of the waterways and how the landscape in different areas changes. They love the food and the entertainment. They're just really happy.”
Bruce Green of Boston, Massachusetts said he loves to row and he loves to travel, so the FISA World Rowing Tour is the perfect activity for him.
The highlight of the tour has been "excellent rowing and meeting new friends in a wilderness," he said.
He said he's been to this part of Ontario several times, and he really likes it here.
Switzerland citizen Christina Kienast said this is her fourth FISA World Rowing Tour. The landscape in this area is “outstanding,” although it's very different from the mountains back home, she said.