The setting sun paints streaks of warm colours across the sky and the CN Tower looms over the harbour as a group of kayakers paddle toward a secluded island. This juxtaposition of city and nature sets the tone for Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre's expeditions into Lake Ontario. During tours, their guides transport groups from the urban jungle of Canada's largest city to the natural environs of 13 Toronto Islands. Whether by kayak or stand up paddleboard, the tour leaders blaze a watery path toward lagoons and sanctuaries teeming with wildlife, such as egrets, turtles, and turtles doing egret impressions. Tours also pass by historic man-made sights such as The Gibraltar Lighthouse built in 1808.
In addition to guided excursions, Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre's experts schedule both private and group lessons for each of their watercraft types. They can help students obtain certification, or learn invaluable skills such as kayak rescue. The instructors also lead sessions at a pool, which lets students hone their skills regardless of weather conditions.
During all four seasons, The team at Toronto Adventures smuggle urbanites out of their condos and A-frames and into the area's nearby-yet-faraway outdoor streams, trails, and forests. In winter, the guides lead groups snowshoeing in the Humber Valley and Copeland Forest, and in warmer months, they glide teams over two rivers for kayaking and canoeing adventures. Paddlers cast gentle ripples over waters that harbour salmon and turtles while admiring shores that shelter deer, foxes, and blue heron.
Summer enthusiasts can also bask in the warm weather by sailing on Lake Ontario in keelboats, staring directly into the sun, or standing astride a paddleboard at Sunnyside Beach. For land lovers, guided hikes explore the Humber and Rouge valleys as well as the Bruce Trail. Toronto Adventures also offers adventure bus trips, dogsledding, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, and sailing.
From Elora to Cambridge, the Grand River rolls smoothly over a shallow bottom, averaging a mere three feet deep. That leaves just enough room for the hull of a canoe or kayak to glide smoothly down the waterway, especially when moving with the current. The guides of Canoeing the Grand?and its sister business, Tubing the Grand?are there to help visitors get their fill of all the fun this natural lazy river has to offer every day from April to November.
Before sending participants on their way, staff instructors provide guidance on how to operate the rental canoes and kayaks before bringing everyone to various put-in points. Once in the water, trips can last as little as 1.5 hours or as many as 11, allowing participants to power through a full journey or stop for a leisurely picnic. The moving flatwater also makes an ideal surface for a relaxing tubing trip. Families can plop into inflatable rings at the put-in points and simply go with the flow, never having to worry about paddling or even sitting up straight, since slouching is the first rule of relaxation.
With a focus on instruction and eco-friendly outdoor exploration, Heritage River Canoe & Kayak Company readies adventurers to paddle the waters of the Grand and Nith Rivers aboard their canoes, kayaks, and rafts. The company is a member of the Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association and guides are certified in first aid and CPR, rendering them able to diffuse even the largest of pool noodle fights. Most have worked on or around the river for most of their lives and also take their passion to the land as resource interpreters and nature teachers when not leading trips. On the water, they orchestrate guided river tours at various times of day, night, and season, allowing participants to witness rare sights such as the local fishes’ Boxing Day hauls. Throughout each trip, they further the company’s partnership with Grand River Conservation Authority to help preserve the ecosystem of the river and its watershed.
The rental shop staffers, located in Brant Conservation Area, can supply solo customers with rental vessels or equip them for self-guided tours with any needed boats, paddles, and star charts. Those who prefer a hand in expeditions can experience structured paddling trips through introductory lessons and day camps or board rafts to fish for small-mouth bass and other river denizens. As they drift along the river, groups may encounter the area's many bold and beautiful residents, such as red-tailed hawks, ospreys, and bald eagles, all soaring above the rare Carolinian forests to their treetop condos.
In addition to outfitting aquatic adventurers with necessary equipment, Buffalo River Canoe and Kayak Outfitters sends groups of paddlers splashing downstream during guided explorations seven days a week. Headlining an assortment of trips, the Buffalo River Urban Trails tour unveils some of the city's historic waterfront sights, highlighted by industrial-area businesses and grain elevators that stand as towering links to an agrarian past or prophesies to an apocalyptic future where morsels of homogenized chicken byproduct no longer exist. The Outfitters' other point-to-point adventures—ranging from 2.5 to 6 miles apiece—also provide varying launch points, such as Red Jacket River Front Park and Seneca Bluffs.