Tori Baird

Nocs Naturalist

Headshot of Tori Baird, starring into the camera over a forest backdrop


My name is Tori Baird and I’ve been paddling for over 10 years. I have had the incredible privilege of completing a few self guided trips down remote rivers in northern areas of Canada including the East Natashquan in Northern Quebec, the Porcupine River in Northern Saskatchewan and the Mountain River in NWT. This past September my family (my husband and my two boys aged 5 and 2) and I paddled the Stikine River from Telegraph Creek, BC to Wrangell, Alaska.

I also own a small business called Paddle Like a Girl where we teach women basic canoeing skills with the aim of connecting more women with nature and a love for backcountry travel. My business has been featured in Toronto Life, Explore Magazine andCanadian Geographic to name a few. I’ve also written a feature article for Outpost Magazine’s Winter 2020-2021 issue, for which I was on the cover and a six part series for their online magazine. My family also currently has a 4-part series on Disney+ called Home In The Wild.

We’re curious, why and when did your journey towards living closer within the outdoors?

Before we got married, my husband and I were always driving hours to go canoeing and camping each weekend. We decided to start looking for a property closer to the areas that we liked to explore and when the perfect home became available we took a leap of faith and bought it! We have been living here for 6 years now and have since had 2 kids and we’re so happy to be living and raising our kids close to nature.

Tell us more about your awesome business and community - Paddle like a Girl? What was the inspiration behind creating this group?

I started Paddle Like a Girl in 2020 after going on my first solo canoe trip in 2019. My first son was born in 2018 and we noticed around 5 months that he was falling behind developmentally. From there, we started a series of testing over the course of 10 months. While we were waiting for the results of the whole exome sequencing genetic testing to come back I was invited on a solo canoe trip with a friend. We navigated our way through the backcountry of Algonquin park over the course of 5 days and I realized it was just what I needed in a moment of extreme stress.

When I returned home I felt extremely capable and empowered to face any challenge in my day to day life and I felt an obligation to share that feeling with other moms and women in general knowing that I am not the only one going through a stressful time. So came the idea for Paddle Like a Girl where I would bring women to my property along the beautiful Magnetawan river and provide them with a weekend experience of being outdoors and foster confidence by teaching them how to paddle and carry their own canoe.

Tell us more about being a mom. How have your children shaped your life?

Becoming a mom has made me a better, more empathic human being. I’ve learned so much from both of my boys and they continue to teach me something new every day. I love providing experiences for them and watching them grow as humans too. I was blessed to have a mother that made our childhood as special as she possibly could and I am striving to provide that for our kids, as well.

We’re stoked that Nocs are in your toolkit. In what situations do you find yourself grabbing your Nocs? How are they helping your craft?

Living where we live allows us to be surrounded by nature just by stepping out of our front door. We often see wildlife right from our front window so it’s nice to be able to quickly grab our Nocs and be able to identify exactly what bird, or critter is hanging out in our yard.

Anything on your calendar that you’re looking forward to? We’d love to stay in touch! Where can we find you these upcoming months?

This year we have a lot of trips planned. I’m paddling the Green River in Utah with a few friends at the beginning of May. I have my first workshop at the end of May and then our family will head out for a backcountry canoe trip in June for Bass Opener. In July, my husband heads out to NWT for a canoe trip while I run a couple of workshops and in August we head up to the Yukon to paddle the Big Salmon River as a family followed by an off-grid cabin stay, a hunting trip for my husband and a backpacking trip for myself!

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