Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What IS IT?

Is it part of the official Parks Canada uniform?
OK, quiz fans, here's a puzzler I've been saving for you!

Back on the Rideau Canal, we noticed a curious fashion choice.

Most of the locktenders wore fanny packs!

QUESTION: Why in the world would so many Canadian college students embrace a retro accessory?  One that screams, "I'm a nerd, circa 1990"?

 Because It's Fashionable?

If you are a well-read sort,  perhaps you are replying, "Cynthia! Didn't you see the Boston Globe reported JUST THIS WEEK that fanny packs are back in fashion?"

(Those locktenders are simply on trend. And you'd better get shopping!)

Because It's Practical?

Or perhaps locktenders have revived the fanny pack because it's a handy place to stash your sunscreen and water bottle without limiting your mobility (the way a backpack would) as you are straining to crank those heavy lock doors open (see photo above).

NO to Both of These Answers!

They sound reasonable, yet they are both wrong. Keep on guessing.  And here's a huge hint.  What looks like a fanny pack is NOT actually a fanny pack.  So, What IS It?

Write your answer on a "Fatty Knees" dinghy with hand-laid lapstrake hull, teak inner rail, and hand-made teak rudder and send it to . . . oh, wait, we can't receive mail while we are cruising.

Use the comments section below, comment on Facebook, or email Cynthia with your answer.  You could be the lucky winner of an old-fashioned tacky postcard, snail-mailed direct to your mailbox AND we'll give you a shout-out on the blog!

How About Those Floats?

As for our last What IS It? challenge, those long lines of floats--what were they? 

A canoe-racing course at the Rideau Canoe Club (pictured at right).

This was in Canada, after all, where canoe racing is a major sport (after hockey, eh?)
Future Olympic paddlers at a kids' camp near the Lachine Canal
Translation: "Good Luck to Our Paddlers"


  1. OK, so I was pretty close with my guess of sculling course, but I guess close doesn't get you a tacky postcard. The fanny packs are their lifejackets.

  2. For the record, this semi-pro dog walker contends that fanny packs have never gone out of style. And as these students are Canadian, my guess would be that not only they really nice and polite, they're sensible. But maybe they're some sort of very compact life vest - inflatable? They are working near water.

  3. From Erik Saunders: Too bad her inflatable life vest doesn't have a pocket for her water bottle.

  4. From Scott Barbara: These are a great idea and they do work, for the most part. BUT 1) they need to be worn on the front to work effectively if needed and 2) they are very difficult to get over your head when inflated so they will not help you if you are unconscious. If you have one, I highly recommend inflating it, manually at least, to get a feel for it before you need it in an emergency. It's quite eye opening.