Come explore the Canadian Canoe Route. 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. Come follow its route and immerse yourself in all aspects of the CANOE, or as it is often referred to as: THE CANADIAN ….
It is no coincidence that the canoe was listed first when Canadians chose “The Seven Wonders of Canada” in a national contest. No canoe, no Canada. The canoe made a nomadic, hunting life possible for the aboriginals who created this vessel. It made European exploration possible. It begat the fur trade – North America’s first economy – and was critical to settlement.
Now everyone has the opportunity to know the true “wonder” of the canoe. A fabulous, hands-on, participatory experience that takes modern “explorers” from Toronto to Ottawa while truly experiencing the history, importance and delight of the First Nations invention that made Canada possible.
Travellers will tour through the majestic Ontario Highlands, world-renowned for its freshwater lakes and rivers. Via modern highways and the original highways – our glorious rivers – visitors will immerse themselves in all aspects of the unique Canadian Canoe.
You will learn the history and legacy of this First Nations gift to the world. You will learn how to paddle flatwater and, for those who wish, whitewater rivers. You will see how the first birchbark canoes were made. You will experience (in complete safety) the turbulent waters encountered by the first explorers. You will travel a heritage river in a modern war canoe.
Once you dip your first paddle, you will never again be the same.
When was the last time you fed your wandering spirit?
Nestled between Ontario’s two major city centres, Toronto and Canada’s Capital, Ottawa, you will 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…
Five-day Suggested Group Itinerary from Toronto
- Day 1: Arriving in Toronto, start your journey with a drive: northeast with your Canadian Canoe Route passport in hand to the town of Peterborough. Your first stop is the Canadian Canoe Museum. This is an incredible collection of interactive exhibits, a great place to learn about what it means to be Canadian. You will start to understand why the Canoe is at the heart of our Canadian identity.
- Day 2: 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. Enjoy MKC’s delicious meals, stay the night in a rustic Cabana deep in the hardwood forest to get ready for the next days’ River trip.
- Day 3: River trip into the Madawaska, can be a 2-hour Whitewater Rafting trip, a full day canoe trip…or stay a week and master the art of running rapids paddling your own Canoe. Overnight a second night at MKC.
- Day 4: 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.
- Day 5: Immerse yourself in the ‘current sensation’ of whitewater rafting with OWL Rafting, down the world-famous rapids of the Rocher Fendu, before finishing your journey in the Nation’s Capital. An additional stop can be Aboriginal Experiences to complete and collect your Canadian Canoe Route Certificate.
- 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 join a Voyageur Canoe crew for a 2-day Inn to Inn paddle down the Rideau.
The Canadian Canoe Route can be ‘paddled’ in either direction, from Toronto to Ottawa, or visa versa – as it is a virtual route, driving by car, tour bus, or RV between the stops. The route can take 5 days, as outlined above, or 2 weeks, depending on what is participated in at each stop. There is a High Adventure, or Soft Adventure package – all depending on personal choice. But, be prepared to be on the water…in a CANOE!
|Insider’s Tour||This three-hour insider’s tour of the museum explores the largest collection of canoes, kayaks and self-propelled craft in the world. Personally-guided experience includes a voyageur’s snack (spruce tea and bannock) and a behind the scenes look at craft not normally on display.||Experiencing the “Canoe Cathedral” which is where the majority of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s collection is stored.||Hear the story of how the museum came to have a canoe made of pure silver.|
|Canoeing Outside In||Canoeing Outside In adds an on-the-water component to the Insider’s tour. Depending on the time of year, the skill level of participants, and available craft, package includes a journey in a heritage canoe on Little Lake along the waterfront of downtown Peterborough.||In season, and as the Trent Severn Waterway schedule allows, a ride up and down the historic Peterborough Lift Lock in a canoe.||Check out the sites of some of the eleven original wooden canoe manufacturers in downtown Peterborough.|
|Canoe Craft||A hallmark of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s programming is hands-on learning. Throughout the year (different workshops at different times, check www.canoemuseum.ca for dates) 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.||The ultimate souvenir is one made with your own hands from authentic materials and traditional techniques.||Explore the back story of the amazing artisan/instructors who teach at The Canadian Canoe Museum.|
|Canoe Museum Deluxe Locavore Package||In partnership with Elmhirst’s Resort any of these Canadian Canoe Museum packages can be enhanced with delicious farm-to-table gourmet meals and award-winning accommodation on the shores of Rice Lake, a short drive from Peterborough.||A hot hand-dipped donut made of red fife wheat, a world-renown bread grain developed on the premises in the mid 1800s and still grown and harvested on the Elmhirst farm.||A sunset or sunrise paddle on Rice Lake in one of Elmhirst’s classic voyageur canoes.|
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:
|Canoeing Week||Our most popular program is the Five day course, as it allows you the time to master your new skills. This week is for people who want to combine a vacation with learning. And learn you do – a rank 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. Choose from camping to lodge or remote-forest cabana accommodation. MKC’s hearty and delicious cuisine helps build your energy in this active week on the water.||Early morning fresh cup of Madawaska Coffee – dipping your feet in the River||Surfing a wave in your own canoe !|
|Canoeing Weekend||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.||Sausage lunch cooked on the open fire||Swimming the rapids|
|Canoeing 101||Learn the basics of flatwater canoeing in a two-hour class. This is a great way to get ready for your next Algonquin Park trip.||finessing your stroke without a splash||Gunnel- bobbing|
|York River Day Trip||Before the York River flows into the Madawaska River, it traverses Conroy Marsh, one of the most diverse wetlands on the continent. Paddling your own canoe this guided day trip starts in the York narrows, where the River meanders quite aggressively around sandy S-bends before it opens up in Conroy Marsh where the only sound is the dipping of your own paddle.||hiding in the tall grasses and watching a turtle sunbathe||discovering wild rice|
|Family Rafting Trip||This two-hour raft trip winds its way through the 5 fun-filled kilometres of beautiful scenery and tumbling waters of the Madawaska River. Our skilled raft guides will introduce you to the river world – with moving water safety, scouting an reading the rapids – just like the voyageurs who navigated the Madawaska hundreds of years ago.||seeing the smile on my little one’s face when the first wave covered her !||bodysurfing through “Claudia’s Roller”|
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.||the museum’s photographic exhibit||Learning why birch bark was the only bark chosen to make a canoe…|
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 Rivers famous rapids.
|1-Day Adventure Raft package||Six hours of natural roller-coaster thrills, getting totally wet, laughing and making new friends in the middle of ‘no-where’ !||freshly grilled chicken on the luncheon cruise !||jumping off the rock at Miami Beach|
|2-Day Resort Package||After your day on the River, you are exhausted. Sleeping in, hearing the birds from my tent, an outdoor shower, breakfast on the deck overlooking the Ottawa River – all this made the previous day worth while !||falling out in Baby-face, where we surfed up a storm !||paddling my SUP while sipping my morning coffee|
|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’ was the perfect Canadian experience for my family.||Mile-long Body Surf||Water fight with the other raft !|
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.
(minimum 25 people with reservation)
|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.||Trade for a fur.||Capture your CCR team on camera with the Parliament building and historic Ottawa River as your backdrop!|
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.
|2-day Overnight Rideau Canal Voyageur Canoe Trip
||Stay at the historic family-owned Opinicon resort. The next morning, paddle from Chaffeys Locks to Newboro, at the top of the Rideau, where the flow changes direction, and stay at the Stirling Lodge. Paddle from there to the Hotel Kenney, in Jones Falls, down a 80ft set of locks.||Catch a bass on Newboro Lake early in the morning, or paddle up the back channel of Chaffeys Locks.||Operate a crab, a traditional winch used to open and close a lock|
|Half Day Canoe Paddle||Lunch at Hotel Kenney overlooking Jones Falls, then paddle south towards Kingston to Morton. Hike the Rock Dunders for a stunning view from the highest point along the Canal.||Stand in front of the Jones Falls locks and see the huge limestone blocks that make up the lock.||Climb the Rock Dunders|
|Murphy’s Point Provincial Park||Camp for a night on Big Rideau Lake, along the Rideau Heritage Route||Explore the historic Silver Queen Mica Mine|
|Jenda Paddlesports||Jenda offers canoe rentals and outfitting|
Accommodation and entertainment options for you and your party
|Elmhirst Resort||Participate in one of Elmhirst’s “Day in the Wilderness” packages and 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|
|Sunny Rock B&B||Extraordinary waterfront accommodation||Minden|
|Best Western Pembroke||Great family getaway, indoor saltwater pool||Pembroke|
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 celebrates 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||OWL Rafting|
|The Rural Overland Utility Transit — TROUT||Arrange bus tours of the Canadian Canoe Route or join an organized tour|