The windsurfing destination of choice for some is a golf-course in Ontario.
For others, it’s a scenic lakefront resort.
For a third, it might be a winding mountain pass.
But for the three men who came up with the idea of Windsurfing Ontario, they wanted something to show for their efforts.
“There was a lot of people who were really into this idea,” says James Stirling, who wrote the idea for the website.
“The idea was just to show it’s possible to make something out of this.”
In 2011, Stirling was working on his Masters thesis at the University of Toronto when he came up in the middle of brainstorming.
He was looking for ideas for a website and came up the idea to create a map of the entire Windsurf Canada area.
He says that the idea started with his friend Matt Dutton who had been looking at the map of Ontario.
“We were sitting in our living room and I was thinking, ‘Man, I think I’m going to want to create this thing,'” Dutton recalls.
“It was a cool idea and I thought it was pretty cool.
I thought that it would be cool if it was kind of interactive, that there were ways to share information and make it accessible to other people.”
Dutton was able to create an online map of Wind Surfing Canada, and Stirling started by uploading it to his site, the Wind Surf Canada Guide.
The map was created using Google Maps, the world’s largest online mapping tool, but Stirling says it could easily have been done with a Google map.
“I didn’t want it to be a map, I wanted it to have a lot more depth,” he says.
The website quickly grew and has become a social media sensation.
Stirling says he decided to keep it simple and put the map online because it had been so popular.
“When you do something like this, you need to make it as easy as possible,” he explains.
“People are always going to be using it for something, but if it’s really accessible, people are going to get really excited about it.”
With the help of volunteers, the map has been updated regularly with new information.
In 2013, it added the Lake Superior peninsula to the map.
In 2016, the island of Labrador was added.
In 2017, the site changed to include the entire island of Newfoundland.
This year, the website added the entire province of Quebec.
Stirling said he was hoping to add more locations from the U.S., Europe and Asia.
“A lot of the things I want to see are happening in Europe right now,” he said.
“So you can see how the whole world is moving forward.”
He says the website is the result of a partnership between a local business and a group of volunteers.
“You can go to the website and get it up and running,” he explained.
“There are a couple of ways to get it.
One is you can send an email, or you can go get it.”
Stirling said the website has been downloaded more than 500,000 times.
“The most amazing thing is when you come back to it, it was just like, ‘Oh my god, it got a million hits.’
It’s crazy,” he added.”
All you have to do is go and click the link and you can get a copy of the map, download it, and get on with your life.”