The Canadian Canoe Route

Toronto – Niagara Falls – Peterborough – Barry's Bay – Ottawa River – Ottawa

Suggested Days: 11

Close up of the arm of a person with a wooden paddle in a canoe on a lake

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Toronto – Peterborough

After a few days taking in breathtaking Niagara Falls and Toronto’s lively cityscape, start your legacy tour of The Canadian Canoe Route to discover the significance of the canoe to the early development of Canada and its relevance to canoe culture today!

First stop, overnight at your private cottage at the renowned Elmhirst’s Resort, in the Peterborough & The Kawarthas region, a quintessential Canadiana experience! Engage in a starry night or sunrise Voyageur Canoe paddle on Rice Lake, hear the magical call of your first loon!

Peterborough

Start the day with the sights and smells of a real working, sustainable farm and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. Visit the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough to explore the world’s largest collection of paddled watercraft and learn why the canoe is the greatest of Indigenous gifts! Visit Peterborough’s Lift Lock, the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world, on the Trent-Severn inland waterway before heading back for another beautiful night’s stay at Elmhirst’s Resort. 

Peterborough to Barry’s Bay  

Transfer north onto the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield in Hastings County. En route visit Petroglyphs Provincial Park, a sacred site that protects the largest concentration of Indigenous rock carvings in Canada. Continue north to Madawaska Kanu Centre (MKC), an international paddling centre, to experience your first canoe strokes or guided rafting whitewater excursion.


Madawaska River

Full day of paddling fun - flat-water or white-water or engage in riverside yoga, a 2 hour raft excursion followed by a relaxing afternoon latte on the deck! Overnight in a private cabana at MKC surrounded by the forest and sounds of the river or overnight in the privacy of a waterfront cabin at Spectacle Lake Lodge.

Madawaska River to Ottawa River 

Today travel east to the Ottawa Valley, the Whitewater Capital of Canada!  En route, stop at the Algonquin Way Cultural Centre of the Pikwakanagan First Nations. Learn from the creators of the birch bark canoe, their craftsmanship and traditions. Continue to OWL Rafting and enjoy the resort’s waterfront activities.  Enjoy a bbq dinner and evening campfire.  Overnight in rustic on-site accommodations or take a short drive to the charming Whitewater Inn or Best Western Pembroke Inn.

 

Ottawa River

Participate in a High or Low intensity River Excursion down the infamous Ottawa River’s renowned Rocher Fendu Rapids. Your OWL Rafting guides provide expert paddling instruction.  After your 4 or 6 hour river excursion, return to OWL Rafting resort via leisurely pontoon boat cruise, with a BBQ meal on board.  Overnight on-site or at a local inn.


Ottawa River to Ottawa

Your journey to Ottawa follows alongside the Ottawa River, which has a rich history as a key trading route for Indigenous Peoples, a main channel for early explorers and an important lumber trading route in the 1800s.  At the Canadian Museum of History, Indigenous Experiences brings Indigenous history and culture to life through engaging and authentic programming, including traditional music and dance performances.  Visit Bytown Museum, at the base of Parliament Hill, to uncover the history of Ottawa. This site also features the first eight locks of the Rideau Canal (UNESCO World Heritage Site) that allows recreational   boaters passage from the Ottawa River onto the Rideau Canal system.  Make sure that you have enough time to take in all that Ottawa has to offer.

Optional Add On: Continue along the Rideau Heritage Route. This route connects Ottawa with Kingston. Stop for a half-day paddle, or cruise the full length with your own Le Boat luxury houseboat rental and experience the Rideau Canal.