Grand Bend, Ontario

Author: Stephen

Monday, Aug.3

Lunched at a picnic table on the wharf overlooking the Au Sable River, in Grand Bend, Ont. I’m just a half kilometer (I’m trainable!) from the mouth of the river, at Purdy Fisheries: “Share in Over 100 Years of Family Tradition. Producers of the Finest in Fresh Lake Huron Fish Since 1919.” On a powerboat tied up just next to my canoe sit two couples speaking French, smoking cigarettes and drinking Labatts. They have a fishing line out. When I pulled up, I asked the gentleman in the red Purdy’s shirt if they were serving lunch. “Yes, if they don’t catch all the fish,” he said nodding toward the boat next to mine. The man in red was Milford Purdy, the family member currently in charge of the business, which he told me was started by his great-grandfather and his grandfather. Milford, “I’ll be 72 soon,” said he still goes out fishing. He said his son and daughter work in the business, too. “My 8 year old grandson loves to fish – so who knows?” The restaurant isn’t usually open on Mondays, but today is a federal holiday, “Civic Day,” or something like that. No one seems to know exactly what it’s called, or what it’s about. Milford told me his company has 10 boats, and it has the fishing rights between Sarnia and Grand Bend. The red, green and black flagged buoys I’d seen on my way up the coast marked their trap nets. Milford also told some stories about people falling overboard, one of whom fell off a sailboat, at night. It was an hour before he was missed. He wasn’t wearing a lifevest, but somehow managed to blow air into his shirt and create a bit of bouyancy. The sailboat was able to backtrack and rescue him. He’s now one of Milford’s favorite examples for why people on his boats should always wear their lifevests. The moral of this story, though, is that Purdy Fisheries serves up the best plate of fried perch and chips I’ve ever had!

Milford Purdy

Milford Purdy

3 Responses to “Grand Bend, Ontario”

  1. Karen Roth Says:

    Hi Steve, I am so impressed and jealous. You are so good about being content with yourself and all the alone time. How wonderful to be in such good shape and spend so much time in beautiful surroundings. We use to camp near Georgian Bay as kids – full day of driving with all the gear in the station wagon and 6 of us packed for 2 weeks. We did a lot of diving off the rocks and swimming to the rocky islands. There would be about 6 families in our group and tons of kids. Can you see all of us playing capture the flag with our dads? The big event was driving to the dump to look for bears. It was Killbear Provincial Park near Parry Sound??
    LOVE your pictures. Best of luck. Karen

  2. Chjuck Egeler Says:

    Have not seen anything as of 8/2/09 did you tip over or are you still paddling?
    havehad fun putting your photos on my desk top. hope to see more.
    Take care

  3. James Logan Says:

    Hi Steve,Ive been following your progress for the last few days.You have made excellent time.I met you in Kincardine,just as you were leaving for your day trip.Hope the weather stays good for you .please post some pictures of were you have been.
    God Bless James

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