Local businesses join forces to meet demands

Posted: 2021-04-08 10:05:18 By: thebay

It’s a good problem for a business to have: the demand for a product outpacing the supply.

But, trying to keep up with a growing demand means adapting to the situation in the most efficient way possible.

This is exactly what the husband-wife team who owns Badger Paddles faced and they recently found the solution in the form of a partnership with Swift Canoe and Kayak.

“It’s just been my husband and myself all these years,” explains Fiona Westner-Ramsay, who owns and operates Badger Paddles with Mike Ramsay. “The demand for our paddles has always been more than we could supply.”

But the pandemic sent the demand skyrocketing and they connected with a long-time associate to better serve their clientele. They approached Bill Swift, owner of Swift Canoe and Kayak, who happily agreed to partner with Fiona and Mike to produce Badger Paddles.

“We’re aiming to meet the demand this year, because it’s been growing tremendously over the years,” says Fiona. She also mentions that Mike has worked with Swift, and the existing relationship has been a good one.

Badger Paddles has a long history in Muskoka – dating back to Fiona’s great grandfather’s wood finishing business, Badger & Son.

They have taken the family techniques and craftsmanship handed down since the 1940’s to create made-to-order premium sold wood canoe paddles. They make traditional canoe paddles from a variety of woods, including cherry, ash, walnut and other specialty selections.

Fiona and Mike started Badger Paddles in 2009, making a commitment to an environmentally conscious approach to their business and products from the outset.

“We believe in treating nature with respect,” she says. “We don’t ship our paddles out in plastic, we use reusable knitted paddle socks. For paddle maintenance, we sell a 100% all-natural hempseed oil, it’s food contact safe, so you can even use it on your cutting boards and in your kitchen.”

They also believe in giving back and encouraging people to spend time in nature, which is why they helped start the annual Paddle in the Park contest – combining the thrill of being in nature with attempting to find both points and actual paddles hidden in parks across the province.

Learn more about Fiona and Mike at and the contest at

According to the contest organizers, research has shown that contact with the natural world, ranging from better sleep, sharper cognitive skills, disease-resistance, improved self-esteem and relationships, as well as the desire to help protect our parks and wild places.

As Fiona notes: “The Paddle in the Park contest brings awareness to all the scientifically proven reasons to be out in nature.”

By Chris Occhiuzzi, for

Send a message to