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Canoe Lake Ice-Out

Spring 2004 Edition

A March bath in Canoe Lake
A March bath in Canoe Lake

 News & Updates

The ice is out!   [Thursday, April 22nd at 11:30 AM]

It's official... the ice went off Canoe Lake some time last night. Word from Al and Jan at the Canoe Lake permit office is that the ice was starting to break up late yesterday afternoon, and that a storm blew up last night and finished things off. There is still some ice in bays and other areas on the lake this morning, but the majority of the lake is open.

Since we don't know for sure if the ice was "out" before or after midnight last night we're making an unprecedented call this year and giving equal credit to those who picked either April 21st or 22nd--which is a lot of people. But the official winners this year are Jan Richmond, Al Clare, and Don Lloyd--all long-time Canoe Lakers. And yes, Jan and Al won last year too!

Congratulations also go to the following people who chose the 21st and 22nd... Peter Matthews, Alexander Thompson, Laurie March, Larkin Ridpath, Murray Wolff, Chuck and Dot Gray, Drew Matthews, John Rose, Scott Rowe, Catherine & Jim Brackley, Alex Statten, John Arbour, Chris White. In total there were 18 people who chose one of the two dates.

Here are a few pictures from Tuesday afternoon--before the ice had really started to break up...

Looking south from the cottagers' dock
Toasting ice-out 2004. Looking north-west.

Looking south from the cottagers' dock
Jeff & John on the cottage dock with the south end of Canoe Lake in the background.

Looking north at the P-Store bay from the cottagers' dock
Looking north at the P-Store bay from the cottagers' dock

Looking south from the cottagers' dock
Looking south from the cottagers' dock

On our way!   [Monday, April 19th at 11:45 PM]

Well, we're heading up to Canoe Lake tomorrow for a day, or two, or three to see what's happening and hopefully catch the last of the ice. It's a tough call at this point--and this might be the first year we're early and have to return to the city with ice still on the lake. But the word is that as of yesterday the north end was open up to Mowat, and the Oxtongue was open from Bonita up to the south end of Canoe Lake. With the warm weather and especially today's wind I think we'll see the ice go out before the end of the week.

I'm not taking a laptop with me this year so there will be no live updates, but stay tuned to this page for news and photos as soon as we get back, some time in the next three days.

Looks like things are beginning   [Thursday, April 15th at 10:00 AM]

This just in from Libby up on the river between Bonita and Tea Lake: "There are big open water areas on the channel, but I don't know how far up the channel to Canoe it goes...sorry! They seem to be getting bigger and bigger each day, so it should be soon when all the ice goes! Smoke Creek is wide open, side to side! Tamakwa is still socked in, so I'm going to assume that Canoe still has a bit there too."

Based on Libby's reports--and a few from others in the area-- I think we're on our way. It looks like it will be above freezing at night for the next week at least, and there are a couple of days each of sun and rain in the forecast. Daytime temperatures in Algonquin should be in the 12°C to 17°C range.

At this point I think we'll see the ice go out on Canoe Lake some time next week--between April 18th and 23rd. Stay tuned...

The polls are closed   [Monday, April 11th at 11:30 AM]

The deadline for submitting dates passed at midnight last night so the polls are closed.
Good luck to everyone.

Annual ice-out poem from Murray Wolff   [Wednesday, April 7th at 7:00 PM]

Here's this year's poem from our friend Murray...

Throughout Ontario and into the south,
The winter was short,
I must say.
With January being
Cold, snowy and grey.

February was mild
With rain during some weeks,
The sun poked out
From behind the clouds,
It felt good and warm
On our cheeks.

The middle of March
Was cold with a winter storm.
The month started out mild,
The end was sunny and warm.

In April I had to smile and laugh,
When I saw a fresh, green blade of grass.
But with the short winter,
I must take this direction,
I believe the ice will go early,
With April 21st being my prediction,

This contest is for us hearty souls,
That trip through the Park,
When the weather can change.
And in the early spring we will leave our mark,
And say to our friends,
We have all ready canoed the Park.

- Murray Wolff

Word from Whitney...   [Sunday, April 4th at 11:00 PM]

The word from our friend Newf (a.k.a. Chris Stafford) in Whitney is that he thinks it will be late April at least before the ice goes out this year. He reasons that since the ice was formed in cold weather with little snow it is thicker and more dense (and pure) than usual.

News from Algonquin...   [Tuesday, March 28th at 8:50 AM]

I just received an email from Libby von Neumann who lives on the river between Tea Lake and Canoe Lake. (Libby provided us with all the photo updates last year.) She has chosen April 10th as her date (again)--just 11 days from now! Here's what she says...

"I'm going to have to go with an early date. It's raining as I type and the Oxtongue channel has some major open water areas due to such warm temps. Haven't seen freezing in about a week now, even at night. And we are supposed to have rain for the next few days."

I must admit that I've been watching the weather and noticing that the temperature hasn't dropped below zero in Algonquin for a week now--even at night--and isn't likely to for at least another week. I'm starting to think we could be in for a very early break up. (Of course, we had a similar situation four years ago and the ice didn't go out until April 26th :-)

The predictions are pouring in...   [Sunday, March 28th at 10:20 PM]

I've received over 35 emails already and the dates are filling up. The Matthews clan has all the bases covered with Sandra on April 15th, Sarah on May 2nd, and lots more in between.

We seem to have moved into a warm spell here in Toronto (and up north judging by the weather sites). I had an email from Hugh Statten who was up on Canoe Lake last weekend and he reports little change since my visit two weeks ago--still lots of ice. But if these warm temperatures continue for more than a week we might be looking at an early breakup. I've decided to split the difference and go with April 20th this year.

And welcome to all those who have come across this page from the Algonquin Adventures or Outdoor Adventure Canada websites, or just by Googling around.

Welcome to this year's ice-out page...   [Monday, March 22nd at 10:30 PM]

As you can see from the photo at the top of this page, there is still lots of ice on Canoe Lake. (It was taken on Sunday, March 14th.) The conditions are very similar to those in 2001--three layers of ice with water between. I'm sure this is, in part at least, a result of the recent warm spell which saw temperatures in Toronto reach 18°C one day.

With conditions up on Canoe Lake and in Toronto similar to--though perhaps a little colder than--recent years at this time, I'm going to go way out on a limb and call for another 'average' late-April ice-out this year :-)

So the poll is open--send in your dates. (But please note that while I have posted this page and sent out the notice to my "ice-out" email list, for the next few days I will be giving "first position" rights to family and close friends.)

Here is a shot of Canoe Lake last week... still a way to go.

Canoe Lake March 13th
Looking south on Canoe Lake (March 13th, 2004)

 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 2004

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.)

Apr 10 (Sat) Ric & Libby von Neumann
Apr 11 (Sun)  
Apr 12 (Mon) Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Apr 13 (Tue)  
Apr 14 (Wed) Missy Sharp
Apr 15 (Thu) Sandra Matthews • Lee Eccleston • Larkyn Statten
Apr 16 (Fri) Ray VanKleef • Mark Steele
Apr 17 (Sat) Kaarel Truuvert • Mark Rubino • Andrew Gullen • Jeffrey McKay
Apr 18 (Sun) John Ridpath • Helen Waters (Edmonton)
Apr 19 (Mon) Willi Powell • Derek Specht • Rick McKay • Charles Plant
Apr 20 (Tue) Jeff Ridpath • Craig White • Rob Campbell • Gaye Clemson
Apr 21 (Wed) Jan Richmond & Al Clare • Peter Matthews • Alexander Thompson
Laurie March • Larkin Ridpath • Murray Wolff
Apr 22 (Thu) Don Lloyd • Chuck and Dot Gray • Drew Matthews • John Rose
Scott Rowe • Catherine & Jim Brackley • Alex Statten • John Arbour • Chris White
Apr 23 (Fri)* Scott Murray • Ken Born
Apr 24 (Sat) Russ Matthews • Bryan March • Doug Gardner • Jennifer Howley
Apr 25 (Sun) Scott Dixon (Vienna/Belfast) • Al LeBlanc • Lynette Campbell Collins
Apr 26 (Mon) Dean Purcell • Holly Stewart • David DeMara
Scott Simmie • Derrick Cann
Apr 27 (Tue) Bryan Fullerton • Clark Matthews • Karen Yule & Dan Mose • Nancy Sharkey.
Apr 28 (Wed) Brian Parkinson • Harry Binswanger (New York)
Apr 29 (Thu) Jill Matthews • Hugh Statten • Brittany Venables • Virginia Ridpath
Anita Traninger
Apr 30 (Fri) Arline Mann (New York) • Case Ridpath • Rob Waywell
May 1 (Sat) Buck Sharp • Karin McCaskill
May 2 (Sun) Sarah Matthews
May 3 (Mon) Barry Bridgeford
May 4 (Tue)  
May 5 (Wed) Sean Howley
May 6 (Thu)  

 Past Ice-Out Dates

1953! April 14th Graph
1989 May 4th
1990 Apr 29th
1991 Apr 28th
1992 May 8th
1993 Apr 26th
1994 Apr 27th
1995 Apr 15th
1996 May 8th
1997 May 8th
1998 Apr 17th
1999 Apr 20th
2000 Apr 26th
2001 Apr 23rd
2002 Apr 19th
2003 Apr 23rd
Earliest recorded ice-out date: April 14th in 1953.
Latest recorded ice-out date: May 8th in 1992, 1996, and 1997.

 The Rules

  1. All entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, April 11th, 2004.
    (Entries may be submitted by email to Jeff)
  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.

 Previous year's ice-out pages

Ice-out 2003

Ice-out 2002

Ice-out 2001

Ice-out 2000

Ice-out 1999

[Last updated: 2004-04-22 11:30 AM EDT]