Roast – 2 Stars
Reviewed on 11 July 2015
Beware the more beautiful the exterior – the more terrible the PR skills on the interior.
Any paddler arriving at the canoeing capital of Canada would be instantly excited to pass the welcome signs of Atikokan. We were excited as any other to begin our trip and upon seeing the beautiful Canoe Canada building we thought wow! Then it changed.
My spouse entered first to let the outfitter know that we arrived and even though we weren’t expected to pick up the rentals until tomorrow we wanted to pick up some maps and local information on fishing and camping so we could prepare for our 5 day trip.
“I don’t know what you want from me I’m not here to plan your trip!”
I was outside taking photos of the beautiful building and walked in maybe 3-5 minutes after my partner entered only to find Jim Clark aggressively yelling at Adam saying “I’m an outfitter it’s not my job – I don’t know what you want from me I’m not here to plan your trip!.”
Adam’s a happy go lucky guy so I was beyond surprised to walk into a conversation like that and asked what was the reason behind the hostility and looking at Adam wondering what he might have said to Jim. Apparently Adam just told him he was here to check in and was asking about fishing when Jim lashed out.
Our booking was arranged by a third party outdoor company and Jim was angry because people normally booked 5 months in advance but we booked only a couple weeks in advance. I changed the subject and proceeded to direct the conversation back to highlighting areas of the Quetico area, as Jim was obviously very experienced and knowledgeable.
He essentially spent the better part of 30 minutes telling us we didn’t know what we were doing (without any idea who were we’re as paddlers or even humans) and condescendingly gave us a quick review of a part of the area with the frequent jab of
“well you could go here because the fishing is great but no you probably shouldn’t because you can’t handle it and if you end up crying – so you should just go this route.” – Jim Clark
He belittled us and was aggressive and rude. This was the worst and more unprofessional human encounter we have ever experienced. It does not matter how experienced you are – you do NOT treat people the way Jim treated us. We are travelling as outdoor ambassadors and our goal is to share the Canadian Experience with all Canadians and connect with the community.
Our goal is to be inspired and inspirational and thankfully Atikokan has such redeeming qualities as a compassionate town that we have been telling everyone to come to the town to paddle but at all costs avoid CANOE CANADA.(obviously judge for yourself.)
There are PLENTY of other outfitters that charge less and treat you like a person. We spoke to a couple paddlers in their 60’s and they also told us of their past experiences with Canoe Canada as being unpleasant so even though we thought perhaps Jim was having a bad day, that benefit of the doubt was washed away by their account of their experiences.