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Canoe Lake Ice-Out

CN Telegram - 
		Ice Out at Canoe Lake April 14, 1953

Spring 2002 Edition

News & Updates

Friday, April 19th (1:30 PM)

And the winner is...

Scott Murray, of beautiful downtown Scarborough is this year's winner. And sharing the honours with Scott are Sandra Matthews and Chuck Gray of Canoe Lake.

The ice went out (by our official definition of 50% open water) around 10:00 AM this morning. The majority of the action was last night during the rain and wind--which turned out to be a little milder than it looked like it would be. As I write this at 1:30 the lake is 80% open, and by the end of the day it will all be over.

Here are Debbie and Dad arriving at the dock around 7 PM Thursday--the lake is 90% covered with ice:

Thursday 7 PM

And here is the view to the north today at about 1 PM--just 18 hours later:

Friday 1 PM

We'll be taking it easy today: going out for a paddle to see the last of the ice; bringing the boat over to the cottage; and pausing before opening up the rest of the cabins for the 2002 season.

Here's to the ice, and to spring...

The toast

Thursday, April 18th (10:55 PM)

We're here! And it looks like the ice is going out right now!

We arrived at the Portage Store on Canoe Lake at about 4:00 PM today under clear skies and a warm sun and found the lake completely covered with wet, black ice. After a brief chat with Jan Richmond and an unsuccessful attempt to break through the ice in the motor boat we loaded the canoe on the car and headed down to the South end of Bonita Lake where we usually put in. The river was wide open and after a chat and send off from Don, Linda, Ric and Libby we were able to paddle all the way to the cottage along the shoreline with only a little ice-breaking. Libby took this picture of us with her digital camera as we paddled away. She emailed it to me and four hours after it was taken I am posting it on this page. Pretty cool.

Paddling off

We arrived at the cottage at about 7:15 PM tired but happy, and toasted the ice. Then the weather started to change. A front began to blow in from the west and as the daylight faded we could see lightning to the north. As I write there is a solid wind blowing on the lake and a good thunder storm heading our way. Looks like the rain will start any minute (yep--there it is :), and the ice is heading south at a pretty good clip. So for the first time it looks like we will be here for a night ice-out, and it looks like we made it just in time.

I'll have an update and a bunch of pictures for you in the morning. Right now, I must sleep....

Tuesday, April 16th

Big News!

Word in from Algonquin this morning is that the ice has begun to turn black on Canoe Lake and has opened up a little on the river through Bonita and into Tea Lake. So it looks like the process is underway and (especially with warm weather and rain in the forecast for a few days) the ice will probably go out some time in the next week. Debbie, Dad and I are getting organized to head up tomorrow or Thursday and stay until next Tuesday and we'll file reports and photos from Canoe Lake.

It looks like the following people are in prime positions this year: Scott Murray; Sandra Matthews; Chuck Gray; Brackley/Fink; Brian Parkinson (who won last year!); Dot Gray and Harry Binswanger.

Thursday, April 11th

Well, it looks like we're finally underway. The forecast for Algonquin calls for temperatures around 15º C with some rain and sun over the next week. If things stay this way the ice should go out in a couple of weeks-- certainly before the end of the month.

It wouldn't be ice-out time without a contribution from our unofficial ice-out poet, Murray Wolff of Brantford, Ontario:

  Dear Ice:

For 2001 I was off, by a couple of weeks,
But I believe my prediction,
Will be closer and will peak,
On the 24th of April for this year,
And we will all stand on shore, and give a cheer.

The paddles will hit with a thunderous roar,
With the canoes filled with camp gear,
And when we get to our spot,
We wish we had more.

Wednesday, April 3rd
The latest word from Don Stanfield & Co (who are up on Bonita) is that there is still a lot of ice, but that there is now heavy slush on top. I also heard from Chuck and Dot Gray:

  On Thur Mar 28 chuck and I walked up to our cottage,the walking condutions were good, and the sun was sooo warm. We were headed towards another destination in the area so we had only a brief enjoyment of the best place on the planet at this time of the year.

Wednesday, March 27th
Here is some up-to-the-minute info from Russ and Jill Matthews in Huntsville:

  Being residents of Muskoka we have first hand knowledge that winter is back. It was -18C yesterday morning, March 26, and it is snowing now. Russ picks ice out April 27 and Jill picks April 30. It is our intention to be at the cottage April 26 so we do hope it cooperates.

Monday, March 25th
It is -14 C with a wind-chill of -20 C in Algonquin right now. Hardly Spring breakup temperatures. I was thinking about chaniging my date choice when this message came in from Sandy Lews:

  My prognosis for iceout is April 25. I was up this past weekend and there was 14" ice (about 8" of which was good and solid),also 6-8" fresh snow. The Hydro people (tree was down) told me that if I had been up a week previous, I could have skated over. All depends on some consistent, warm weather (none in sight this week)

I have to agree and so I'm making the big switch from April 20th to April 28th.
Wednesday, March 20th
The dates are pouring in and it looks like a lot of people think the ice will go out early this year. It certainly has been an unusually mild winter, but in my experience the date of ice-out is influenced more by the weather between March 15th and April 15th than by anything else. The current forecast for the Algonquin area is for pretty cool temperatures (lows of -7 to -12) for the next week or so--not exactly warm :) In fact, I'm starting to feel a little uncomfortabe with my current date of April 20th.
Monday, March 18th
From Alec Bruce in London, England:

  "While on a visit to a client's energy trading floor (my new company Tibco software specialise in messaging architectures for trading company's) I accessed their trading and risk systems to generate a weather based forward curve with risk dimensions and market variables to identify that the Ice-Out date for Canoe Lake for 2002 is the 27th April. I could have hedged this date against the price of Brent Oil to minimise my exposure, but the trader came back from the coffee machine earlier than expected. Damn him!"

Saturday, March 16th
Time to open the 2002 Spring Breakup Poll!

As you can see I have posted the new page for this year with a wonderful treat--an authentic telegram from the Farley's at Canoe Lake announcing "ICE JUST OUT" on April 14th, 1953! (Many thanks to the Brackley/Curtis clan for this treasure.) Once again all signs are pointing to an earlier-than-normal ice out--we've had an unusually mild winter down in the city and temperatures are already pushing past 10° C in Toronto some days. But we've been fooled before and it's never easy to say at this point what will happen. So, get your date choice in soon--before someone else takes it--and stay tuned for updates.
Sunday, February 17th
Jeff, Debbie, John and Virginia and Brittany (for her first winter visit) travelled up to the cottage for a couple of days. We had beautiful weather and lots of snow. Brittany was a real trooper. She led the way across the lake on the way in, and pulled one of the sleds for a while on the way back out.


Although there was at least 8-10 inches of ice (and maybe as much as 12-14 inches in some places), it was fairly soft and it was easy chopping with the axe to make the water hole.


Sunday, April 23rd, 2001
Here are a couple of pictures to hold you until next Spring...

Ice Crystals  

The Rules

  1. All entries must be sent by e-mail to Jeff by
    midnight, Sunday, April 14th, 2002
  2. If you know of someone who should be included in this poll but does not have email access, feel free to send in their prediction for them.
  3. Entry must include your name and date of your prediction.
  4. You *can* duplicate another person's prediction (see below for a list of predictions so far)
    if you really want to be a joiner, but the first one to pick a date gets all the gloating rights.
  5. You *can* change your prediction up to the deadline.
  6. Ice-out is defined as follows: "At least 50% of the lake is clear of ice, by a majority vote
    of those present."
  7. Winner is the person whose prediction is the closest.
  8. Prize: being able to lord your superior knowledge of the lake over others for
    the rest of the year.

Current Weather for the Canoe Lake Area

Click the links below to see current five-day forecasts for Algonquin Park and Huntsville
from Environment Canada, and some long term predictions

Predictions for Spring 2002

Multiple people on the same date are listed in the order in which their choices were received
at the worldwide headquarters of the Outhouse Daily News.

The previous year's ice-out date is marked with an asterix.

April 12 (Fri) Stephen Gray
April 13 (Sat) Craig White
April 14 (Sun) Peter Matthews; Rick Mckay
April 15 (Mon) Case Ridpath; Larkin Ridpath
April 16 (Tue) Marg Mitford
April 17 (Wed) Willi Powell; Bryan Fullerton
April 18 (Thu) Virginia Ridpath; Sarah Matthews
April 19 (Fri) Scott Murray; Sandra Matthews; Chuck Gray
April 20 (Sat) Brackley/Fink
April 21 (Sun) Brian Parkinson; Dot Gray
April 22 (Mon) Harry Binswanger (New York City)
April 23 (Tue)* Helen Waters (London, England); Bill Matthews
April 24 (Wed) Alison George; Murray Wolff
April 25 (Thu) Debbie Ridpath Ohi; Sandy Lewis; Don Lloyd
April 26 (Fri) Doug Gardner; Mary-Anne Lewis; Gaye Clemson (Capitola, California)
April 27 (Sat) Alec Bruce (London, England); Russ Matthews
April 28 (Sun) Jefferson Ridpath
April 29 (Mon) Kaarel Truuvert; Brittany Venables
April 30 (Tue) Jill Matthews
May 1 (Tue) John Ridpath
May 2 (Wed)

Past Ice-Out Dates & Facts

1953! April 14th
1989 May 4th
1990 April 29th
1991 April 28th
1992 May 8th
1993 April 26th
1994 April 27th
1995 April 15th
1996 May 8th
1997 May 8th
1998 April 17th
1999 April 20th
2000 April 26th
2001 April 23rd
2002 April 19th
Earliest recorded ice-out date: April 14th in 1953.
Latest recorded ice-out date: May 8th in 1992, 1996, and 1997.

Once the ice starts to turn black ( i.e. get wet) it takes three or four days to go out.

Previous year's ice-out pages

Ice-out 2001

Ice-out 2000

Ice-out 1999


[Last updated: 2002-04-19 01:30 EST]