2021 Fred Lynch Memorial Award

Bernie Levy is this year’s recipient on the Fred Lynch Memorial Award

Bernie once told me, “I wear my life jacket because it is just one less thing I need to worry about” and that’s pretty much a metaphor for his life to date… As long as you plan ahead and take care of what you can take care of, there’s a good chance the rest of it will work out. Bernie was born on Little Tancook Island. At that time it was a 50-minute ferry ride to go anywhere, so boats were a major part of his life from the very beginning. When he moved into town and completed his studies, he quickly decided that sharing his small boats skills with others (including how to right an overturned canoe) would be a good way to give back to the communities around him.

Bernie became a certified canoe instructor twenty-three years ago but had been a CKNS member, along with his children, long before that. Sharing his knowledge and skills have been a part of every project he has been involved with since.

Organizing group outings for paddlers of all ages and skill levels naturally flows from his years of experience. Annual events including Easter on the Shubenacadie River, New Year’s Day on the North West Arm, a fun day on the Medway; they all became regular features for many families and new friends. Even extended trips to the Bras d’Or Lakes were in his calendar. Often, several of the participants never did know Bernie was responsible for their good time on the water; he was just the helpful man with the canoe trailer and an extra boat or paddle for some new couple who needed one.

And Bernie isn’t a just regular on the waterways of this province. He and Wendy participated in the Voyageur Canoe celebration on the Rideau Canal and even paddled a few of the storied canals in France. He has been a repeat entrant in the Kenduskeag Stream Race in Bangor Me., which led to him the building of a special 4-person canoe designed for the complex white water conditions there.

Bernie’s boat building/repairing skills have been put to use on a number of canoes but perhaps more importantly, he has been one of the “4-Jacks”, helping to restore an historic wardens’ cabin on Three Mile Lake in the Waverley Game Sanctuary. The structure is barely visible in the trees at the north end of the lake and is accessible only by canoe. It required extensive repair to the sills, the roof and several cosmetic elements, not to forget the outhouse. His effort there is still on-going, but the cabin and its ‘canoe-in’ reputation are both telling examples of Bernie’s commitment to preserving and promoting the wilderness values we enjoy in Nova Scotia.

Not a person to seek recognition, Bernie Levy is proud of his several “Four Seasons Paddling” certificates from CKNS, as well as an award from the 2003 Water Walker Film Festival for his musical score, “Faster Than You Know”. He is a man with an abundance of energy, skill and the determination to see things done well. 

Bernie Levy has had a ‘Never look back’ approach to paddling all his life, from introducing newcomers to the sport, celebrating Nova Scotia’s unique waterways and building upon the natural and human resources we are all so proud of.  I’m sure Freddie (Lynch) would support this nomination of Bernie Levy.

Submitted by Allan Billard





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