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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Canoeing down the Grand River guide; wet and wild in Niagara; boat jam in Peterborough

   (c) By Jim Fox

   This summer go calm and tranquil or get soaked going wet and wild.
   The choice is yours from paddling your own canoe (or a rented one) to crashing through the frothy currents of the Niagara Whirlpool.
   Guide Jamie Kent shows the way along the Grand River, the largest inland watershed in southern Ontario, covering 6,800 square kilometres.
Paddling a canoe along the tranquil waters of the Grand River.
   “Renowned for its recreational paddling opportunities, water quality, cultural heritage and fishing, the Grand River offers paddling trips for both novice and experienced paddlers,” he said.
   The river rises north of Dundalk in Grey County and flows for 298 kilometres to Port Maitland on Lake Erie.
   Kent should know as the owner of Grand Experiences of Paris (near Brantford), an outdoor adventure company and expert on the area’s history, flora and fauna.
   He provided his expertise to the Grand River Conservation Authority in revising and updating the sixth edition of Paddling the Grand River.
   This is the “essential guide” for canoeing and kayaking along this historic waterway that’s also popular for fly fishing and bird-watching.
Paddling the Grand River in its 6th edition is the ultimate guidebook.
   Published by James Lorimer & Company Ltd., it costs $24.95 and its 96 pages are filled with maps and photos.

   The book details paddling routes on the Grand River and has routes for day-trippers to enjoy, along with multi-day visitors,” said Lorimer’s William Brown.
   There are colour maps displaying access points, portages and points of interest along with details on fishing sites, accommodation, parking, outfitters and suppliers.
   Aerial photos show portages around dams and there are coordinates for GPS navigation.
Heading out by canoe for some fishing. (Jim Fox photo)
   The guide highlights 10 great paddling routes from Belwood to Lake Erie, including travel through Cambridge, Brantford, Paris and Caledonia.
   There are historic points of interest noted including Templin Gardens in Fergus, Kiwanis Park in Kitchener and Chiefswood National Historic Site of the Six Nations of the Grand River. For more information: grand-experiences.com;  lorimer.ca

Additional comments from Jamie Kent

Why the Grand River
The Grand River is a nature oasis in Southern Ontario.   The region’s largest river, running 300 km through the heart of Ontario, it provides a beautiful natural setting for paddling.  It’s home to South Ontario’s largest forest, with unbroken 20 km stretches of rare Carolinian Forest.  When not flowing thru scenic forest the Grand runs through beautiful meadows & historic towns.  Elora, Cambridge and Paris have been called 3 of the top romantic towns in Ontario, with historic architecture, shops & cafes along the river. 

The Grand is designated a Canadian Heritage River for all that it has to offer in its 7,000 square kilometre watershed.  A rich cultural mosaic with Old Order Mennonites in the upper watershed by St. Jacobs, German heritage in Kitchener, and Native culture in the Lower Grand with the Six Nations Reserve, the largest First Nation Reserve in Canada.

The Grand River has very diverse paddling with the upper & mid Grand being a wide, easy flowing river, mainly calmer water with little swifts dotted along the way to add variety & a little excitement.  The lower Grand is a big river flowing wide, deep & slow, like paddling a calm lake with an almost unending change of scenery.

It is good for novice paddlers with local outfitters to provide guiding plus paddling.    It is also nice for more advanced paddlers which its convenient close to home location, just an hour west of Toronto, & east of London.  It offers camping along the shore line plus easy access to B&B’s plus amazing Inns & lodge/hotels for multiday adventures.  And the river’s paddling conditions are as good as any waterway.  The Grand is the cleanest river in Southern Ontario.  In the year 2000 it won the International Thies Riverprize as the best managed river in the world.  The Grand River Conservation Authority is Ontario’s largest Conservation Authority.   It has world famous sport fishing for a wide variety of fish from trout to small mouth Bass plus 80 other species.  It’s also home to Bald Eagles & Osprey plus its forest contains 80% of the Endangered & Threatened Species in Canada.   All testifying to the amazing natural experience that the Grand offers.

Why the Paddling the Grand River Handbook
The Grand River is a huge paddling opportunity.  300 km of river, over 30 launch & landing points combing to make many different routes, from short to longer day trips & multiday adventures from 2 to 3 day with 6 day adventures to canoe the whole river.   With so much history & nature and paddling options to experience people will want our guide book so they don’t miss a thing on their epic Canadian Adventure.

Having an experienced river guide lead your paddling adventure is 1 of the best parts of a canoe trip.  Someone to lead you on the best routes, tell stories & legends about the river’s history and take you to the points of interest people wouldn’t find or understand on their own.  The next best thing is taking a guide book co-written by the most experienced guide & paddler on the Grand & Ontario’s largest Conservation Authority.  I’ve put more than 20 years experience guiding on the Grand River & providing paddling instruction as a Paddle Canada Instructor-Trainer into our hand book.  It enables the guide book to come alive in providing an amazing paddling experience on the Grand River.


   Soaking it up
   Adrenaline junkies can head to the Niagara River to soak in the experience of Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours.
   Since 1992, the company has offered the excitement of white water rides from the mouth of the Niagara River in Niagara-on- the-Lake, through the Class 5 Devil’s Hole rapids to below the incredibly powerful Niagara Whirlpool, said publicist Stephen Murdoch.
Wet thrills aboard a Niagara Whirlpool Jet Boat.
   “There’s nowhere else in the world where you can experience this kind of adventure on such an amazing river,” said company president John Kinney.
   It has eight 50-passenger jet boats offering two types of trips: wet or dry.
   “Guests in open-topped jet boats are guaranteed to return to the dock soaking wet, doused with gallons of water while their boat pilot powers them through the rapids at high speed and expertly spins them through the chop in a complete 360-degree turn,” he added.
   Passengers in the covered Jet Dome get the same thrill ride, minus the splash, and return dry.
   Along the way, tour leaders give passengers highlights about the river’s geology and history.
   The company has made major improvements to its passenger locations.
   Rides are now offered from a new primary dock in Queenston along with Lewiston, N.Y. and beginning June 23 from Niagara-on- the-Lake. whirlpooljet.com

   In a jam
   There’ll be a traffic jam of canoes and kayaks on June 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Lock ‘n’ Paddle in Peterborough.
Looks like a good fit. (Jim Fox photo)
   The event, organized by Parks Canada, the Canadian Canoe Museum and the Land Canadian Adventures, takes place in the Peterborough Lift Lock along the Trent-Severn Waterway.
   As its “annual celebration” of National Canoe Day, the goal is to see how many paddlers can be squeezed in.
   Last year, a record 328 canoes and kayaks filled the lock. thekawarthas.ca/event/lock-paddle


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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