Discover Ontario's rich history and geography by canoe
or kayak. Whether wilderness camping or staying
at lodge, arriving by train or bush plane, seeking
solitude or whitewater excitement, Ontario's lakes,
rivers and parks are the ultimate vacation destination
for adventure travel. It's hardly surprising that
Ontario has paddled its way to global prominence
as our endless lakes and rivers are disbursed
over an area the size of western Europe.
Experience Ontario's incredible paddling history and geography
through any of the cultural
tours offered by our member
travel providers and outfitters.
800 years ago the people of the First Nations developed the canoe. It
was so perfectly designed for its task that its shape remains the same
today. In a vast country completely covered with forests, the lakes and
rivers were the only sensible routes to travel. This delicate craft was
adopted as the primary mode of transportation by the early French and
English to explore, trade and settle throughout the continent.
Throughout the 20th century people flocked to Ontario's lakes to escape the summer heat of the cities.
The cottage and camping experience has become a universal part of Ontario
summers and the canoe has its place in it. Like the beaver and the maple
leaf, the canoe has become an icon for Canada, universally recognized
Most of Ontario's population clusters around the lower Great Lakes at the southern tip of the province,
leaving a vast area to the north with relatively few inhabitants. In fact,
vast areas are so thinly populated you could travel for weeks without
seeing another person. Ironically, this large northern region of Precambrian
rocks, water and trees is also one of the world's most accessible wildernesses.
From Toronto's International Airport you can be paddling on a remote lake
or river in 4 hours.
Ontario may be a major commercial centre, but its population is compressed into a small, southern region.
The north still contains a vast wilderness, where people are occasional
visitors whose presence is as fleeting as the bow wave of a canoe. This
wilderness is the core of the Province's psyche, and the experience of
that wilderness is the gift that that Ontario gives the world.
See a map of Ontario's Paddling Regions!