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6 Places to Get Wet and Wild in Canada

CREDIT: Tourism Golden

Canada is a paddler's paradise. On the west coast and the east coast, to the Klondike and right across the Prairies—iconic waterways abound. Here are six to put on your bucket list:

Raft the Kicking Horse River in British Columbia

Golden is an outdoor adventurer’s mecca—and the mainstay of the summer tourism season is whitewater rafting. With three incredible rivers to choose from—Kicking Horse, Columbia and Blaeberry—all offering varying experiences but the same Rocky Mountain scenery, there may be no better place to plan your next rafting getaway. With rapids from Class I to Class IV, all levels are welcome. And packages range from gentle birdwatching floats to helicopter-access extreme whitewater adventures.

Paddle the Churchill River in Saskatchewan

Running across northern Saskatchewan like an artery, the Churchill River is steeped in history and adventure. Used by First Nations for millennia and Voyageurs during the Fur Trade days, it drops about 25 metres as it flows in rapids, eddies and draws over scenic Precambrian Shield. Typical paddling expeditions take a week or so and cover around 100 kilometres of river. Enjoy an exciting canoe adventure by day; sleep to the sound of loon-song by night. Northern perfection.

Canoe the Bloodvein River in Manitoba

Possibly the most iconic paddling trip in Manitoba, the Bloodvein River is a remote waterway that winds its way through pink granite (where it gets its name) and boreal forest in the wilderness northeast of Manitoba. You’ll learn to navigate some rough-and-tumble rapids along the way—your reward will be a night in Bloodvein Lodge to break up the tent camping. Expect to spend at least nine nights on this wilderness route and to return a far better paddler than you left.

Island-Hop in Outaouais, Quebec

Most Canadians don’t even know where the Outaouais Region is, let alone that it is a canoeing hotspot. Located just across the border from Ottawa, this is the land of 20,000 lakes. In fact, there are some 200 accessible paddling routes just within a short drive of the town of Pontiac. Lac des Trente un Milles is a popular spot for day-trippers, or head to Poisson Blanc Regional Park for serene paddling and island-based campsites.

Kayak Around Grand Manan in New Brunswick

One word sums up New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island: authentic. Marking the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and long-known as a lobster-fishing mecca, Grand Manan is nowadays attracting ecotourism. Adventure High is the main kayak tour-operator on the island, offering half-day, full-day and multi-day guided paddles. Cruise past historic Swallowtail Lighthouse, get up-close with sardine weirs in operation for generations and maybe spot a minke whale or two. The famous Fundy tides dramatically change the seascape every six hours, offering a new perspective with every paddle.

Paddle the Peel River Watershed in Yukon

The Peel River Watershed—which includes the Peel, Hart, Wind, Bonnet Plume and Snake rivers—is not simply gorgeous. It’s not simply adventurous. And it’s not simply culturally important to the Aboriginal people who have lived there for thousands of years. It’s all of those things, yes, but it’s also threatened by resource extraction and development. So the time to paddle it is now—to see this biodiverse landscape in all its untouched glory, and perhaps, to return as an advocate for its protection.

And if you need any gear to help tackle these adventures—we can help.