Balmy Beach Canoe Club builds PaddleAll program

The Balmy Beach Canoe Club recently got a huge boost, thanks to a grant from the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Sport Canada.

Para-kayak paddler and national gold medallist Phil Mailey prepares to hit the water last summer at the Balmy Beach Canoe Club. PHOTO: Chris Blanchenot

The club’s PaddleALL program is aimed at offering canoe, kayak and dragonboat to people with mobility issues, as well as those with special needs. The grant of just over $7,000 will go towards a few areas, including financial assistance for athlete travel and accommodation during national competition; operating costs; helping coaches and volunteers access training courses; and purchasing an outrigger canoe.

“Some of our clients who have difficulty with double-bladed boats will be able to take advantage of this,” said PaddleALL coordinator Colleen Didur.

The training for coaches and volunteers will also be a great help, she said.

“PaddleALL is more labour-intensive and coaching-intensive than our regular programs,” said Didur.

In 2011, nine athletes took part in the para-athlete programming, including several national team members and medallists. There were 54 participants in special athlete programming, but Didur said the club is actively recruiting new para-athletes, including beginners.

“2016 will see the debut of para-canoe and -kayak at the paralympics,” she said. The long-term goal for the Balmy Beach Canoe Club is to send at least one athlete to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.

For more information on the club, email, or visit

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