Come explore the Canadian Canoe Route! Book yourself a holiday exploring the canoe.
The CANOE is synonymous with Canada. Opening up our country, the First Nations people designed this sleek watercraft for transportation, today enjoyed by Canadians as our primary form of recreation. Travel the Canadian Canoe Route and explore the history and legacy of this First Nations gift to the world. Learn how to paddle flatwater and, for those who wish, whitewater rivers. See how the first birchbark canoes were made. Experience (in complete safety) the turbulent waters encountered by the first explorers. Paddle a heritage river in a modern war canoe.
Nestled between Ontario’s two major city centres, Toronto and Canada’s Capital, Ottawa, discover the unique region of Ontario’s Highlands. Billions of years ago, this geological landscape featured mountains taller than the Rockies but after four glaciation periods and great upheaval, Ontario’s Highlands was literally left with a treasure chest of gifts – the Canadian Shield with its bounty of freshwater lakes, rivers cascading through its valleys, stands of maple forests covering the rolling hills and gems to be found on the earth’s surface. Come wander with us on an incredible journey…
Seven-day Suggested Itinerary from Toronto
- Day 1&2: Your first stop is the Canadian Canoe Museum, in Peterborough, two hours east of Toronto. This is an incredible collection of interactive exhibits. You will start to understand why the Canoe is at the heart of our Canadian identity.
- Day 3&4: Travel further north to Madawaska Kanu Centre (MKC) on the east edge of Algonquin Park, where you will learn how to paddle your own canoe. Take a weekend canoe course and master the art of running rapids in your own canoe.
- Day 5: Visit the Algonquins of the Pikwàkanagàn in Golden Lake, where building the Birch Bark Canoe is still a tradition. Head further east, spend your night beach-side along the Ottawa River at the OWL Resort
- Day 6: Immerse yourself in the ‘current sensation’ of whitewater rafting with OWL Rafting, down the legendary rapids of the Rocher Fendu. Enjoy a freshly grilled meal aboard the OWL Pontoon boat after your rafting trip.
- Day 7: After a morning on the beach, visit Aboriginal Experiences in the shadow of the Parliament Buildings, a centuries-old portage and meeting route.
- Add-on: Continue along the UNESCO heritage Rideau Canal – a route that connects Ottawa with Kingston. Stop for a half-day paddle at Jones Falls, or explore one of the many hikes along the Rideau.
The Canadian Canoe Route can be ‘paddled’ in either direction, from Toronto to Ottawa, or vice versa. Camp at Ontario Parks, rent a RV, or stay in our many comfortable accommodation partners along the route. Be prepared to be on the water…in a CANOE!
|Visit the Museum||Monday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Free Admission from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
|910 Monaghan Road
|Canoe Craft Workshops||Combine your visit with some hands-on learning! Throughout the year people come from far and wide to make hand-carved wooden paddles, woodland pack baskets or wanigans, snowshoes or snowshoe moccasins, wampum bracelets and beaded rosettes, or to finger weave a voyageur’s sash or hand sew a capote from a real Hudson’s Bay Company woolen blanket.||Please book in advance by calling (705) 748-9153. Workshops fill up fast.|
|Voyageur Canoe Trip||Join us on this one-of-a-kind tour as we paddle a 36′ Montreal canoe along the Trent-Severn Waterway and through the Peterborough Lift Lock! In partnership with Parks Canada, these tours are a great experience for people of all ages and abilities.||Please book in advance by calling (705) 748-9153. Trips fill up fast.|
|Elmhirst Resort||Stay at the beautiful lakeside cottages||Peterborough|
A wilderness resort catering exclusively to paddlers! Situated along the raging rapids of the Madawaska River, MKC offers all the comforts of a vacation resort; great food, camaraderie, learning new skills, and an authentic Canadian experience. Choose from one of our active packages:
|Weekend Clinic||In our weekend clinic we will introduce you to class I and II whitewater: practice skills that are adapted from flatwater, strokes to entering and exiting swifter currents, forward and reverse ferries, and self rescue maneuvers.||Book by calling us at 613-594-5268|
|Zero to Hero||Kayak or Canoe! Learn the basics of flatwater canoeing or kayaking in a day. This is a great way to get into a canoe for the first time or practice for your next Algonquin Park trip.||Book by calling us at 613-594-5268|
|Week-long Vacation||Our most popular program is the full week, as it allows you the time to master your new skills. This week is for people who want to combine a vacation with learning how to paddle a whitewater kayak or canoe. And learn you do – a complete beginner usually ends the course as a confident whitewater paddler. The final day is a full day River Trip, where you pick the lines, lead the way under the support and guidance of your instructor. Stay with us in our camp grounds or lodge or remote-forest cabana accommodation, or offsite. MKC’s hearty and delicious cuisine helps build your energy in this active week on the water.||Book by calling us at 613-594-5268|
The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre • Golden Lake
The last active Birch Bark Canoe was built in Golden Lake by the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn, First Nations.
|Back to the Canoe’s Root||Come to the Algonquin Way Cultural Centre and Museum. Visit Pikwàkanagàn on Golden Lake where the tradition of the Birch Bark Canoe continues. See the museum’s photographic exhibit.||1674 Mishomis Inamo
Pikwàkanagàn, Golden Lake ON
Just ninety minutes upstream from the Nation’s Capital is a wild section of river they call the “Rocher Fendu”. Experience the ‘current’ sensation in a guided raft down the Ottawa River’s famous rapids.
|1-Day Adventure Raft||Six hours of natural roller-coaster thrills, getting totally wet, laughing and making new friends in the middle of nowhere.||613-238-7238|
|2-Day Raft & Resort Package||Spend one day experiencing the rapids and a second day relaxing on the sandy beach. Camp or rent a cabin for two nights and enjoy OWL’s hearty home-cooked meals a
3nd great facilities.
|Family Raft Trip||Four hour trip takes you down the same rapids as the Adventure Trip, but holding on. No paddling, no falling out of the raft, this ‘soft-adventure’ is the Canadian experience for a family.||613-238-7238|
Aboriginal Experiences • Victoria Island, Ottawa
Engage in a special cultural exchange with Aboriginal Experiences, a seasonal attraction in the heart of the Ottawa River on Victoria Island; with Quebec on one side, and Ontario on the other.
|Tours||Gain a greater appreciation for the contributions of the First Peoples, both past and present at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Come explore the Ottawa River, paddle in hand, and experience the role of early explorers on this historical waterway with a Voyageur canoe ride to Victoria Island. Aboriginal Ambassadors share their remarkable history and culture with a guided tour and powwow-style dance performed by Canada’s original people. Guests are invited to join in a friendship dance – a memory forever.|
Rideau Heritage Route • Ottawa to Kingston
In Ottawa, travellers will paddle the Rideau River and Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an engineering marvel still studied throughout the world. Built in the 1830s as a military precaution it has never been used for defence purposes but has, instead, become one of Canada’s greatest tourist attractions: a river that runs in both directions from its source and connects the Canadian capital to Kingston, a city founded by Loyalists who fled the American Revolutionary War. The Rideau Canal is a beautiful system of lakes, rivers and canals winding 126 miles (202 kilometres) from Kingston at the head of Lake Ontario to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city—passing through the scenic countryside, historic towns and quaint villages of Eastern Ontario along the way. It includes 47 locks in 23 lockstations and the full waterway takes from 6 to 10 days to paddle in a canoe.
|Rideau Canal – Parks Canada||Explore the locks and buildings along Ontario’s historic Rideau Canal|
|Bytown Museum||Visit the Bytown Museum along the locks to get an introduction to the history of the Canal||Ottawa|
|Paddle the Canal
||Rent a canoe from one of the many outfitters along the Canal and paddle through history|
|Hikes along the Canal||Hike to the Rock Dunder for a stunning view from the highest point along the Canal. Or explore one of the many Parks Canada self-guided walking tours.||Stand in front of the Jones Falls locks and see the huge limestone blocks that make up the lock.|
|Murphy’s Point Provincial Park||Camp for a night on Big Rideau Lake, along the Rideau Heritage Route||Perth|
|Perth Outfitters||Rent a canoe to explore the Rideau Heritage Waterway||Perth|
|Jenda Paddlesports||Jenda offers canoe rentals and outfitting||Osgoode|
|Opinicon Resort||Stay at the newly-renovated Grand Old Dame on the Rideau||Chaffey’s Locks, Rideau Lakes|
|Stirling Lodge||Located in the heart of the Rideau Lakes, excellent for fishing||Newboro|
|Hotel Kenney||Great hospitality at Jones Falls along the Rideau Canal system||Elgin|
|Elmhirst Resort||Stay at the beautiful lakeside cottages||Peterborough|
|Calabogie Peaks Resort||Enjoy the four-season playground at Calabogie Peaks Resort: golf, ski, swim, play||Calabogie|
|The Deakins B&B||Country hospitality in the beautiful Ottawa Valley||Killaloe|
|Spectacle Lake Lodge||Accommodation and dining options near Algonquin’s East Gate||Barry’s Bay|
|Ontario Parks||Camp or park your RV at Murphy’s Point, Silent Lake, Bonnechere, and many more fabulous Ontario Parks.|
|OWASCO||Rent your RV!||905-683-2267|
|CanaDream||Rent your RV!||888-480-9726|
Explore the gorgeous landscapes and many opportunities of Eastern Ontario
|Ontario’s Highlands||Ontario’s Highlands offer unlimited opportunities to play and stay|
|Lanark County||In 2016, the Perth Military Settlement in Lanark County celebrated its 200th anniversary!|
|Haliburton County||The Haliburton Highlands offer year round adventure for all ages|
|Ottawa Valley Tourist Association||Explore the Ottawa Valley, Ontario’s Adventure Playground|
|The Rural Overland Utility Transit — TROUT||Arrange bus tours of the Canadian Canoe Route or join an organized tour|
|Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Shack||Explore a sugar bush and learn about how maple syrup is made|
|Bonnechere Caves||Visit the Bonnechere Caves for a guided tour||Eganville|
|Bancroft Minerals||The Mineral Museum lets you explore the geology of the world around us||Bancroft|