Main photo: Boats tied up
along the Rideau Canal
in Ottawa. Left to right:
Sydney keeps a close eye
on the canal. Welcome
to Westport. Flowerpot
boots in Westport.
The houseboat moored
at the Hotel Kenney in
Jones Falls. Captain Todd
Botsford gives a salute
to this year’s vacation.
THERE’S ALWAYS ONE CHILDHOOD VACATION that becomes legendary. For our family it was a two-week vacation in 1968 through the Rideau Canal in Ontario, Canada, on our 30-foot boat, Marianne, a 1959 Egg Harbor. I spent a lot of time thinking about that trip and my parents this past year. Both recently passed away, and in part that was what led my sister Patty and me to
finally pull the trigger on a return trip to the Rideau, along with my husband Todd.
We’d been planning it for 45 years, and it seemed a fitting way to acknowledge
this love of boating our parents had planted in all three of their children.
Growing up, we’d spent vacations all over central New York and the
Thousand Islands. Having a boat on Onondaga or Oneida Lake in Syracuse,
New York, you couldn’t get very far without going through a lock. One of
my earliest memories is being on our old 1929 53-foot Elco, Salani, locking
through at night (you can’t do that anymore) on the Oswego River, when
I was 4 or 5, and waking up to pandemonium, with the boat hitting the
wrong side of the lock because someone hadn’t secured us properly.
But by 1968, I was an experienced boater of 13. Starting out at the only