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Portaging around Downtown Elora again for a good cause

James Scott will be carrying a canoe around Elora on Saturday to raise money for youth rehab centre Portage Ontario
20210904 portage for portage AD 4
James Scott and Ashley-Ann Maginnis walking down a closed off section of Metcalfe Street at last year's Portage for Portage. Ariel Deutschmann/GuelphToday file photo

ELORA – Walking up Metcalfe Street in Downtown Elora on a hot summer day can be a challenge for some but what if you had to carry a 70-lb canoe on your back? 

James Scott, owner of Elora Paddle Co., is going to do just that from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday as he portages, fittingly enough, for Portage Ontario.

Portage Ontario is a residential drug addiction rehabilitation centre serving youth, located in Elora.

Besides operating a canoe rental business on the Grand River, Scott said he has a business where he runs youth sport leagues and training and sees this as an extension of supporting mental and physical health.

“I’m really passionate about building up the youth in our community,” Scott said in a phone interview. “This was just another way to kind of fit because I could literally do a portage for Portage, help bring awareness to what they’re offering and then also just give them some financial support because they’re a non-profit. They definitely rely on those donations.”

Another person portaging may be alongside Scott but Ashley-Ann Maginnis, associate director at Portage Ontario, will for sure be there collecting donations as she did last year. 

Maginnis said the organization loves what Scott does to raise awareness. While the organization gets funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, funds raised can have an impact on what Portage can offer for youth in recovery.

“We also fundraise to pay for certain things that the government may not cover such as aftercare, bursaries for youth, outings that develop leadership and other aids that help us deliver a robust program that can help young people emerge successful,” Maginnis said via email. 

“These types of fundraisers remind the community that we are here, supporting youth but we can’t do it without them.” 

Scott said he’s never known anybody who has gone through the program but over the last few days has been approached by people who have had children affected by drug addiction and mental health issues who have told him they appreciate what he’s doing. 

“Just kind of hearing that just motivates me more to do it and keep doing it every year,” Scott said. 

And he’ll need that motivation on Saturday as he figured by the end he’ll have walked up to 10 kms up and down Metcalfe Street with a 70-lb canoe as his “workout for the month.”

Last year, Scott raised around $1,400 walking for an hour on a Saturday and Sunday. He figured he can surpass that this year doing it for two hours straight in the middle of the day during peak tourist season. 

The portagers will be taking cash donations the day of but Scott said those who won’t be around that day or have cash can donate online to Portage Ontario.

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Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for EloraFergusToday, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch EloraFergusToday in 2021.
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