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Toronto man embarks on month-long solo canoe trek in Wabakimi Park (2 Photos)

Borys Skoropadsky is raising money for Food Banks Canada

ARMSTRONG, Ont. — Wabakimi Provincial Park is a long train-ride away from Toronto.

But for Borys Skoropadsky, getting there will be one of the least challenging parts of his next adventure.

He leaves Sunday morning with his canoe from Union Station, bound for the Armstrong area and a month-long canoe trip in the wilderness of Northwestern Ontario.

Skoropadsky will be paddling for charity.

Paddle4hunger is raising money for Food Banks Canada, which supports a network of 650 food banks across the country.

Skoropadsky hadn't even heard about Wabakimi until he was researching woodland caribou.

That's when he found out about Canoe4Covid, a charity fundraiser by six Toronto-area high school graduates who bushwhacked and paddled 2,000 kilometres from Armstrong to Ottawa last year.

"They inspired me. I felt guilty [just] going for my own pleasure...I called Food Banks Canada, I called the boys at Canoe4Covid, everybody got excited, and here we are," Skoropadsky told TBNewswatch in an interview Wednesday.

He's spent months preparing for his long stay in the bush, but weather conditions are something beyond his control.

"The challenge is Mother Nature. The variables are the weather. Usually it happens when you just come to a big lake and it's 20 kilometres wide and you have to sit there a day and a half until the wind dies down."

Skoropadsky has never been on a solo trip for longer than two weeks.

He's taking just enough freeze-dried meals to sustain himself, and will rely on fresh-caught fish to round out his diet.

"I'm not going out to break any records, or be silly, or live off the land. I'm 65 and I'm healthy, but I'm not stupid," he said. 

Skoropadsky is also well aware of the current forest fire situation in Northwestern Ontario, and has been getting regular updates on the situation in Wabakimi.

Although he's been told there are no fires in the park itself at this time, he remains mindful of the potential impact of drifting smoke from distant fires.

"It's not only the fires, it's the air quality. It bugs everybody. I don't have a respiratory issue, but I don't want to get one."

Skoropadsky expects to paddle about 600 kilometres, starting Monday at Flindt Landing in the southwest corner of the park.

Throughout the journey he will record his experiences using two cameras and a drone. On his return at the end of August, the video will be professionally edited for a documentary.

Saying "I plan to make a positive impact on the lives of others through this personal endeavour," Skoropadsky has set a goal of $30,000.

Donors who contribute $10.00 or more will receive a tax receipt.

Every dollar raised will provide two meals for a person in need.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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