Learn the legacy of the canoe and how to paddle as you embark on a 7-day journey across Ontario. This excursion highlights the Indigenous history of the canoe, shows you how the first birchbark canoes were crafted by hand and teaches you proper paddling techniques as you travel along the Canadian Canoe Route.
The canoe is an integral part of Canadian history. As you follow the province’s orginal highways — its lakes and rivers — you will experience the joy of a quiet morning paddle, the excitement of whitewater rafting and the serenity that comes with slow travel. No experience is required, just a sense of curiosity and adventure.
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This is a pre-designed itinerary. At Landsby, we are specialists in creating unique experiences in Canada, due to a personal and direct relationship with our local partners.
It is no coincidence that the canoe was listed first when Canadians chose “The Seven Wonders of Canada” in a national contest. Without the canoe, Canada would look much different. The canoe made a nomadic, hunting life possible for the Indigenous peoples who created this vessel. It made European exploration possible. It began the fur trade—North America’s first economy—and was critical to settlement.
This fabulous, hands-on experience will truly show you the history, importance, and delight of the First Nations invention that made Canada possible.
You will travel through the majestic Ontario Highlands, world-renowned for freshwater lakes and rivers. Travelled by both modern highways and the original highways — our glorious rivers — you will immerse yourself in all aspects of the unique Canadian Canoe. You will learn the history and legacy of this First Nations gift to the world. You will learn how to paddle flat water and, for those who wish, whitewater. You will see how the first birchbark canoes were handcrafted. You will experience (in complete safety) the turbulent waters encountered by the first explorers and you will travel to a heritage river in a modern war canoe.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL ON THE CANOE ROUTE
Transfer northeast to Peterborough & The Kawarthas along the Canadian Canoe Route with your Canadian Canoe Route passport. Arrive, check-in to Elmhirst ‘s cottage resort for your overnight stay. Enjoy dinner in a private cottage.
DAY 2: CANADIAN CANOE MUSEUM
Take an early morning Voyageur Canoe paddle on Rice Lake or tour a sustainable farm (weather and lake conditions permitting). After breakfast, tour The Canadian Canoe Museum to learn about the canoe, its significance to Indigenous peoples, the exploration of Canada and the development of commerce/trade with Europe. After lunch, participate in a workshop to learn how to carve your own canoe paddle or paint a decorative souvenir paddle. Receive your first CCR Passport Stamp. On the way back to the resort, visit the Peterborough’s Lift Lock, the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world. Return to your private cottage for dinner and overnight.
DAY 3: CANADIAN SHIELD
After breakfast, check-out, receive your CCR Passport Stamp and head north onto the Canadian Shield to the rugged beauty of Hastings County. En-route visit Petroglyphs Provincial Park, a unique setting that protects the largest Indigenous rock carvings in Canada. Check-in to the Madawaska Kanu Centre. After lunch, learn to paddle a canoe or take a 2-hour rafting excursion. Afterwards, enjoy some free time before dinner and overnight.
DAY 4: RAFT EXCURSION
Early morning, enjoy Paddler’s Yoga in the Retreat Cabana. After breakfast, you’ll don a wetsuit, lifejacket, helmet and paddle for a two-hour raft excursion OR take a full day of whitewater instruction on the Madawaska River. After lunch, a continuation of whitewater instruction or flatwater canoe. Afterwards, enjoy some free time before dinner and overnight.
DAY 5: FIRST NATIONS CULTURE
After breakfast, check-out, receive your CCR Passport Stamp. Visit The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre of the Pikwakanagan First Nations. Learn about the significance of the birch bark canoe to the people, their craftsmanship and traditions. Receive your CCR Passport Stamp. Then head east to the Ottawa Valley, the Whitewater Capital of Canada! Check-in to OWL Rafting for your overnight stay. Enjoy the resort’s waterfront activities as well as a Riverside BBQ Dinner Campfire or local entertainment, weather permitting. Overnight in Cabin or Cabana accommodation, or at a local Inn or Hotel.
DAY 6: RIVER EXCURSION
After breakfast, you’ll put on a wetsuit, booties, lifejacket, paddle, helmet and pack dry clothes for the return trip. Participate in a Soft or Adventure River Excursion down the world-renowned Rocher Fendu Rapids. Final preparation and paddling instruction on rafts. Commence on a 4 or 6-hour river excursion, return to OWL Rafting via leisurely pontoon boat cruise and BBQ meal. Change clothing, free time, relax and enjoy the resort setting and waterfront activities. Enjoy a riverside dinner and overnight in Cabin or Cabana accommodation, or at a local Inn or Hotel.
DAY 7: DEPARTURE
After breakfast, check-out, receive your CCR Passport Stamp. Visit the Indigenous Experiences at The Canadian Museum of History. Participate in a tour of a village, followed by traditional Pow Wow dancing and a shared ‘friendship’ dance. Receive your CCR Passport Stamp. After lunch, visit the Bytown Museum that tells the history of the Restaurant City of Ottawa situated at the base of Parliament Hill. This site also features the first eight locks of the UNESCO Rideau Canal that allows recreational boaters passage from the Ottawa River onto the Rideau Canal system. Receive your CCR Passport Stamp from Parks Canada.