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Abilities in Motion hosts an annual fun regatta celebration

August 31, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Abilities in Motion (AIM) held its second annual regatta weekend at Earl Rowe Provincial Park in Alliston on Friday, Aug. 18, and Saturday, Aug. 19.

The organization is based at the park and has a building to accommodate its fleet of canoes and kayaks.

The regatta week provides a chance for people to come out and see what Abilities in Motion is all about, as well as for regular members to come out and enjoy the celebration and have a day on the water.

AIM provides opportunities for people with physical challenges and mental disabilities to enjoy getting out on the water and experience paddling sports. In addition to the Alliston group, they also have an AIM group in London, Ontario.

“We started on Friday,” explained Andy Owens, Alliston Program Manager for AIM. “We had people from CLASS, Power Simcoe, Camphill Communities, and another group from Caledon Community Living. We had around 85 people here yesterday. A lot of people who were here yesterday I’m familiar with because they come every other week during the summer. We also had a lot of people who just came out because they wanted to be with their friends and enjoy the day.”

There are several methods the group uses to help people get out on the water. This includes two canoes attached together to create a catamaran, which offers a very stable platform on the water. Some visitors are towed in their kayak if they don’t have the physical ability to paddle themselves.

Some canoes have outriggers that have pontoons attached to the side to add stability to the water.

The big canoe – is just that. A canoe that seats up to 13 people is taken out on the water in a group effort to paddle around the lake.

“Today (Saturday) we have a few individual clients, and some families,” Andy explained. “Today is a celebration, it’s a regatta. Abilities in Motion is a not-for-profit organization that specializes in people with disabilities and providing both kayaking and canoeing opportunities.”

Safety is always a concern when on the water, and staff ensure that all safety standards are met so everyone can have a fun time on the water.

The regatta is a way of celebrating what the group has achieved and giving others an opportunity to experience paddling and enjoying some time on the water.


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