The Canoe Heads Story

In the summer of 2006, Amici Camping Charity’s then Executive Director Billy Anderson committed to raising funds for Amici by portaging his canoe over two days and 43 kilometres from Port Carling to Gravenhurst in the Muskoka region of Ontario. His goal was to raise $10,000 to send ten deserving children to camp.

The next spring, Willie Macrae and Stuart Snyder were inspired to evolve Amici’s Canoe Heads for Kids into an annual Toronto-based fundraiser for Amici. They invited a small group of camp friends to join them as they brought Canoe Heads to downtown Toronto in May 2007. With the sun peeking through the clouds that spring day, the group embarked on a 40 kilometre odyssey that took them from Kew Beach to the Humber River and back.

“This one-day canoe trip is inspired by our beliefs and experiences in the camping experience. Our experience provided us with a natural and supportive environment where we learned the importance of co-operation, teamwork, responsibility, and hard work.” – Willie Macrae

The event has steadily grown in the years since then, both in terms of participant numbers and the amount of money raised in support of Amici. In 2009, Canoe Heads three teams of participants paddled and portaged the 40 km route between the The Beaches in the east end of Toronto and the Humber River in the west end of the city. Each subsequent year saw more participants and more teams involved in the event. The 2015 event saw 130 participants paddle and portage 14 km to raise over $150,000 to help kids attend summer camp. Media coverage included spots on CityNews, 680 News, CBC radio, CP24, Toronto Community News, and SNAP newspapers.