Floating Clan Takes Over Halifax’s Northwest Arm

Whether a witch weighs the same as a duck was undecided on the waters of the Northwest Arm in Halifax on Sunday morning, but dozens of witches proved they could float.

On stand-up paddleboards and in rowing hulls, canoes and kayaks, (mostly) women dressed in black, with peaked hats, left St. Mary’s Yacht Club at 9 a.m. and snaked around the arm, testing the wind resistance of coats, capes, and related garments.


The Witches weren’t the only ones paddling the Northwest Arm on Sunday morning. A dog was spotted on the water during the first annual Witches Paddle in Halifax on October 16, 2022. – Bill Spurr

Luckily there wasn’t really much wind, no bubbles, no problems and not much work.

“Calm water in the morning,” said Sarah Thompson, organizer of Witches Paddle. “I know some people wanted to do it a bit later…but safety wise, I think it’s better to do it when the water is calm, it allows more experts to get out on the water. You can see kids there with their parents, and I don’t think that would happen if the water was rougher.


People showed up early at St. Mary's Boat Club in Halifax to take part in the first annual Witches Paddle on Sunday, October 16, 2022. - Bill Spurr
People showed up early at St. Mary’s Boat Club in Halifax to take part in the first annual Witches Paddle on Sunday, October 16, 2022. – Bill Spurr

The original plan was to assemble and leave the Dingle, but HRM Recreation stepped in and offered their space at St. Mary’s, along with rental canoes.

Thompson said the event provided an opportunity to have one last organized paddle before the cold weather hits, and she thought if her hometown of Sarnia, Ont., could host an annual witches’ paddle, then Halifax should do it too.


A witch sits in her kayak before heading to the Witches Paddle in the Northwest Arm in Halifax on Sunday, October 16, 2022. - Bill Spurr
A witch sits in her kayak before heading to the Witches Paddle in the Northwest Arm in Halifax on Sunday, October 16, 2022. – Bill Spurr

“I saw them popping up in different cities, so I thought, why not here? There isn’t, we have tons of water, a paddling community, and not just stand-up paddlers, but kayakers, canoeists, things like that,” said Thompson, who received 120 statements. of interest.

“I feel good about participating, it’s our first, we’re going to start again. We had help from the media, it was on a lot of pages, and it was on the radio the other day, which helped get it out into the community. Word of mouth travels fast and I think next year will be even bigger.


Two women pump their paddleboards before heading out for the Witches Paddle on Sunday, October 16, 2022. - Bill Spurr
Two women pump their paddleboards before heading out for the Witches Paddle on Sunday, October 16, 2022. – Bill Spurr

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