Video – Barrie Man Travelling from Belleville to Back Home by Kayak Raising Funds for Cancer

In Editor Choice, Local

It’s taken three years of planning, but a Barrie man is well on his way kayaking from Belleville back to Barrie.

At first, Terry Phillipps, age 58 wanted to start on the East Coast and paddle back to Barrie, but COVID put a damper on those plans – for now.

Phillipps started his journey on May 11 and calls this trip a “trial run” even though he expects to be on the water until October travelling approximately 6,000 kilometres.

The journey will take him along Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, Lake Couchiching, and the last on Lake Simcoe.

After leaving Belleville, Phillipps said he went to Picton, Lake Ontario, then realized he was running low on water and went back to Picton, to Belleville, Murray Canal to Brighton and then to Cobourg.

On Wednesday, Phillipps paddled onto Victoria Beach in Cobourg, but due to the weight of the 13.5 foot kayak when he was “riding the wave” into shore it flipped in waist deep water.

“It was really rough out there and when I came in, I went upside down – first time. I’ve had this kayak for years and I’ve never tipped it,” Phillipps said with a smile.

Everything in his kayak got soaked and his friend from Barrie who makes the journey down periodically, had to come down earlier than expected to take Phillipps to a laundromat to dry off his clothes.

But it was a lesson learned. Phillipps found out that even his guitar case wasn’t properly sealed and a bit of water got into it. So he bought some tape and will seal it up when he’s on the water.

Also on the kayak is a tent and food for approximately 10 days. Fully loaded he estimates with him in the kayak it weighs approximately 400 pounds.

A kayaker for life, he’s at home on the water. Even though the journey has just started, paddling along Lake Ontario the scenery is beautiful.

“You’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”

Most of the time he travels along the shoreline.

“I’ve got videos of waterfalls that you just don’t see as you’re creeping along the shore. They’re so far back in there and they are so high.”

In fact, he loved it so much, he stopped and took it all in, relaxed for a bit and had lunch.

“I didn’t want to leave.”

When he gets to Toronto he will be trying to break a Guinness World Record by doing 24-hours of kayaking going from the mainland to Centre Island and back to the mainland. His goal is to beat 256.3 kilometres in 24-hours.

The plan was that Phillipps would leave on Wednesday evening, but with the weather, he stayed until Thursday, and when that didn’t work out, he set off at 7 a.m. on Friday morning.

Today’s Northumberland stopped by to see him off and Phillipps had high praise for Cobourg and the citizens.

“I like it in Cobourg. I’m going to come back and visit – absolutely.”

“It’s a beautiful little town – nice people.”

Phillipps said he visited a few of the restaurants in town and said the hospitality was great.

With dry clothes, plenty of food, it appeared the kayak barely had enough room for him.

But dragging it to the shoreline, and one last check, Phillipps pushed the kayak into the water, got in and with a bit of help from Today’s Northumberland, he was off again on his journey.

Turning around and waving to the town, “bye, bye Cobourg – love you guys,” he was off again on his journey.

Heading out onto the lake the Phillips and kayak grew smaller as it was dwarfed by the lighthouse and headed west – then disappeared.

With this being a trial year, Phillips said he hasn’t set a goal for his journey, but if anyone would like to donate the e-mail address is

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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