Every season, thousands of adventurous paddlers explore Ontario’s magnificent lakes and rivers with kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards. As a seasoned canoe guide and instructor, I have seen far too many miss out on the fun and the beautiful scenery because they are busy trying to keep their vessel on course. It is probably fair to say that anyone who has paddled a canoe into a strong wind knows this frustration.
Photo by Megan Wibberley
Ontario is the land of lakes. Lakes and rivers abound in urban areas, cottage country, and in the remote wilderness. Being on the water is a way of life for many in Ontario. Conditions can change from year to year and from hour to hour, as wind and weather change quickly.
More and more Ontario paddlers are realising that learning effective on-water skills and pre-trip practices make their adventures more enjoyable and safer. Paddle Canada instructors offer dozens of skills courses across Ontario, designed to build your confidence as a paddler. Besides paddle strokes, courses teach important practices such as giving a float plan to a friend. A float plan provides information that is important for search and rescue operations (such as medical conditions and contingency routes ).
Important safety skills and knowledge that you can learn from a Paddle Canada course include:
• brace stroke
• wind and waves paddling
• river scouting (whitewater/rapids)
• kayak and canoe rolling
• safety line use
Photo by Wayne Feindel
There are many outfitters and independent paddlers who offer guiding services in Ontario. Verifying that your guide has current Paddle Canada certification (or equivalent, such as ORCKA certifications), ensures that they received formal training that meets national standards developed by Paddle Canada (following Transport Canada regulations). Paddle Canada certified paddlers and instructors are monitored by a national organisation.
Most major outfitters offering guide services in Ontario adhere to Paddle Canada standards. View a complete list of Paddle Canada accredited outfitters and course offerings in Ontario (and all provinces):
SUP (Stand Up Paddlboarding)
Photo by Megan Wibberley
In Ontario, these include:
- Barrie Canoe & Kayak Club
- Bear Creek Outdoor Centre
- Black Feather
- Frontenac Outfitters
- Grand Experiences Canoe and Kayak Outfitters
- Grand River Kayak
- Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre
- Horizons Adventures
- Madawaska Kanu Centre
- Naturally Superior Adventures
- Ottawa Y Canoe Camping Club
- White Squall Paddling Centre
For exciting water adventures in Ontario, visit www.ontariooutdoor.com
Photos: Adrian Camara, Wayne Feindel
Video: Graham Ketcheson