5 Paddling Routes to Explore Across Canada


Paddle your way along the country’s diverse waterways.

A couple paddling together down the Vancouver North Island waterways
   Photo: Boomer Jerritt

This story was originally published in July 2019 and was updated in August 2021.

  1. Vancouver Island North —

    The offshore island areas and saltwater inlets that make up the northern Vancouver Island waterways are packed with marine wildlife – think seals, sea lions and orcas. Experienced paddlers can bring their own kayak, but beginners are encouraged to sign up for a guided tour along the coast’s milder routes.

August 5, 2021
The sun setting over the tree-lined coast of the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg
   Photo: Gurpinder Sohal
  1. Assiniboine River, Winnipeg —

    This world–class kayaking destination, known for its snaking paddling routes, offers a refreshing escape from the city during the summertime. Paddle with the flow of the river from Omand Park toward the Forks Harbour, before hopping out for a well–deserved snack at the Forks.

Related: Paddling and Seeking Balance in the Creeks and Swells of the B.C. Coast

A canoe navigating between the tree-lined shores of Sudbury's Spanish River
   Photo: Ontario Parks
  1. Spanish River, Sudbury —

    Quick–moving and loaded with rapids, the Spanish River is best for intermediate paddlers who will revel in a whitewater–filled adventure on the west branch of this backcountry paddling hot spot. For a gentler ride, explore the east branch of the river, where you’ll enjoy rugged forest views and local fauna.

Ducks swim along the coast of Morris Lake at sunset in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
   Photo: Julie Baker
  1. Morris Lake, Dartmouth —

    Nestled into Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Morris Lake is an urban gem. Follow the western bank of this 3.5–kilometre–long lake to find an unmarked beach near the Shearwater Air Base shoreline, or round out your outdoor exploration with a hike by following the eastern bank of the lake to a rugged walking trail that leads to Kiwanis Beach.

  1. West River, Charlottetown —

    Great for all skill levels, Charlottetown’s West River is a tide–controlled waterway that quietly runs by Dunedin and the village of Bonshaw, with forest and farms on either side. Make sure to pack snacks and refreshments for your excursion: The official kayak entryways are about nine kilometres apart (or roughly three hours’ paddling).