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Call of the water keeps chiropractor coaching with paddle in hand

People of Collingwood: Laura Clemenhagen, chiropractor and Collingwood Paddling Club commodore
Laura Clemenhagen is a Collingwood chiropractor and commodore for the Collingwood Paddle Club.

South Georgian Bay called out to Laura Clemenhagen seven years ago, and she couldn’t resist answering.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Clemenhagen, 40, chiropractor and Collingwood Paddling Club commodore.

Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood?

A: It will be seven years this September.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Mississauga. My family skied at Mansfield Ski Club. So, we weren’t regular Collingwood visitors but sort of, ski people.

I lived in Toronto when I was in chiropractor college, and then I moved to Vancouver for six years and had a practice there.

When we decided to move back to Ontario, we were looking for a place to raise our family.

Collingwood was an obvious choice.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to go into chiropractics and the health-care field?

A: I always had an interest in health and health care. I had an interest in anatomy and biomechanics.

I found a career that fit my interests.

I was also very involved in coaching.

Q: You’re the commodore for the Collingwood Paddling Club. What is a commodore? What made you want to get involved?

A: I’m a commodore and a coach.

A commodore is essentially the president of the board.

I grew up paddling on the Credit River as part of the Mississauga Canoe Club. I was a kayaker and canoer. I started coaching when I was 16.

I’ve always enjoyed working with youth and teaching new people how to paddle, because it was always something that was really important in my life.

I just love being on the water in a boat.

It was an obscure sport and I just loved it so much I wanted more people to do it.

There are some sports that really lend themselves to building resiliency, independence, dedication and commitment. I really saw a change in the kids I was coaching. They’re values I’ve always held in high regard.

Throughout my life, whenever I’m in a new city, I join the canoe club there.

Q: Did your love of paddling play into your choice to choose Collingwood?

A: It being on the water, absolutely.

I don’t think I could ever be happy in a town or city that wasn’t on a body of water. It made Collingwood an ideal choice for me and my family.

My husband is a professional pickleball coach. My daughter is seven and my son is almost three.

When we moved to Collingwood from Vancouver my daughter was 11 months and we camped all across Canada with her. It’s probably one of our favourite memories was that drive. We stayed in provincial parks all the way across.

(Collingwood) has been such a great place to get involved and meet people. It’s the kind of community where, if you want to institute a change, or try something new, or get involved, the entry points are quite easy, and you can see the changes that you’re making because it’s a smaller town.

It’s really special, I think.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?

A: My hope is that, during the time I live in Collingwood, to engage more people and introduce more people to canoeing and kayaking, both recreational and racing.

I’d like to get more residents out on the bay. It’s a resource, I think, that’s a bit untapped.

My career is one thing – I love being a chiropractor, my practice, my patients are amazing. COVID was tough and they’ve been fabulous.

My volunteer career takes up almost as much time as a coach. It is my other passion and that’s the thing I hope to bring to the community.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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