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.
The 483-horsepower V8 engine roars in front of you as you shift gears, and the speedometer climbs to more than 150 miles per hour. Gliding down the straightaway, you grip the wheel of a Ferrari F430. You don't need to buy your own exotic car to experience this adrenaline rush—Canadian Racing Experience connects visitors with a similar emprise on the raceways of Toronto Motorsports Park. Instructors brief visitors on the handling and controls of sleek Ferraris and V10-engine-powered, six-speed Lamborghini Gallardos, preparing them for the upcoming track. Afterward, instructors slip into the passenger seat and let their guests take the wheel for an extreme, exhilarating driving experience.
Grand Slam Driving Ranges helps wedge-wielders of all abilities sharpen their swings with well-groomed practice facilities. Two jumbo, 105-ball buckets give golfers hundreds of chances for self-coaching via interior monologue. Carved out of the verdant Niagara escarpment, the Grand Slam Golf Centre in Milton sets swingers up with 30 hitting stations equipped with grass tee decks. A chipping green and sizeable putting green give assorted clubs a chance to strut their stuff, and a practice bunker outfitted with mock sand goblins ensures players come up against the full spectrum of obstacles afforded by the average game. Alternatively, the Grand Slam Fairways in Waterdown supplies oscillating shoulders with 65 all-grass hitting stations from which to paint fast-moving arcs across the air while ironing out the wrinkles in their short game.
In June 2001, Tim Grech gave up his corporate job to build a skydiving centre on 347 acres of pristine property. Tim and his team of CSPA-certified instructors introduce amateurs to the sky through guided-tandem or assisted-solo jumps and shepherd experienced jumpers through the progressive freefall. The bustling skydive centre boasts scenic views of Grand River, along with free camp sites with fire pits and communal barbecues for roasting freshly plucked clouds on a stick.
Spread across 270 historic acres, Knollwood Golf Course is a challenging 36-hole facility comprised of the Old Course set right alongside the New Course?both designed by well-regarded course superintendent Jack Harris in 1970 and 1990, respectively. Players can opt for a round on the Old Course or the New Course links and enjoy hole designs that embrace the natural Ancaster topography. Elevated tees and long, perplexing par 5 holes with ominous names such as Buried Treasure and Redemption lead to finely timed fairways that open up into stirring panoramas. The New Course entices advanced club swingers, and the Old Course's more accessible series of par 4 holes with large, accommodating greens is appealing for beginners.
Knollwood players don clean-cut golf attire and enjoy a golfer's paradise that has been open to the public since 1970 and keeps players happy with sprightly paced 10-minute tee times, on-site restaurants and beverage carts, and a "no-argue" rain cheque policy. The facility's proud groundskeepers maintain large, naturalized areas on the course intended to encourage the wildlife to thrive and occasionally join in on a game.
From bungee trampolines that launch people up to four stories in the air to fast-paced rounds of outdoor laser tag, kids get their first taste of adrenaline while exploring Adventure Village's three acres of family attractions. If the trampolines aren't enough, guests can slip into a harness and scale a 25-foot climbing wall. Kids can also have fun planted firmly on the ground. Baseballs buzz through the air in nine batting cages that serve up both softballs and baseballs at up to 90 miles per hour. Kids also carom off of one another in round bumper cars that give drivers the surreal thrill of piloting a giant hockey puck.
A more laid-back form of recreation awaits at the miniature golf course, where guests navigate through tricky corridors lined with five waterfalls and six ponds. Perched atop a swinging wooden bridge, players can study the wooden ruins of two partially sunken ships that rise above the glassy waters or the fish swimming around the murky derelicts. The course also features trivia about South Ontarian history and geography, giving guests all the information they need to finally impress the ghostly teacher that haunts their dreams.