As the podcast listeners know by now, executive producer Mitch Azaria loves to go Tripping. These past five years, he has taken us by mahogany lake boat up the Rideau Canal, sailing along the tip of The Bruce Peninsula, on a bird’s eye view over the Niagara region and aboard a Budd train northwest of Superior to White River.

His latest immersive documentary, premiering this Sunday, April 21, is Tripping the French River. The mode of travel this time is aboard a cedar strip canoe as we travel from Lake Nipissing on a three-hour paddle towards Georgian Bay.

If you haven’t taken one of these TV trips before, you may wonder: where is the narration? Where are the voice overs? Tripping doesn’t work that way. You have to surrender to the whole, outdoor, experience. You are taking a voyage, start to finish, in one of Ontario’s unique outdoor playgrounds, this one cutting through the Canadian shield and sometimes across rapids. You have to portage over the parts you might expect to be narrated. You do hear sounds and voices, just as you would as you paddle past cottages, lodges, birds and animals.

Mitch and his expert crew, including director John Morrison and director of photography Peter Warren, pack in plenty of facts and surprises along the way. Did you know that the French River was the first waterway to be designated a Canadian heritage river? That, at one pont, the Canadian government, way back in Laurier’s day, considered spending billions to create a northern waterway rivaling the Panama canal?

These docs also feature these cool, animated segments which take you back in time or explore what is sometimes going on below the surface. In Tripping the French River, we follow one of the hundreds of thousands of beavers who work these rivers and lakes, building a sophisticated chamber of rooms and dens. They should draft these guys to help out with the housing crisis.

See the documentary when it premieres Sunday, April 21 on TVO, on TVO Today or on YouTube. To link directly now with this podcast conversation with Mitch, simply click on the white arrow in the blue dot, above.


For more on past Tripping docs with Mitch, follow these links to four other podcast conversations:

Tripping the Rideau Canal

Tripping the Niagara

Tripping The Bruce

Tripping Train 185

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