10 – Paddle to the Park

Kevin callan canoe2

Photo Credit: Kevin Callan

Paddle and portage, Linear • This is the most challenging section of the Toronto to Algonquin Greenway (TAG) but absolutely worth the effort. It’s the classic Canadian experience of quiet water travel and setting up camp each evening in wilderness surroundings. Kevin Callan has planned the route for us, based on heritage canoe and portage trails. He was able to complete it in September 2014, with three nights camping and a car shuttle to return.

The TAG Paddle to the Park route straddles two land management areas: The Algonquin Highlands Water Trails office rents canoes, provides maps, and manages the campsite reservations within the Leslie Frost Centre Preserve. Across “the borderline” Friends of Algonquin Park oversees campsite reservations, and will advise on all regulations within the Park boundaries. It’s important to properly plan an expedition such as this. However, either agency can help you plan a more moderate canoe outing to suit your comfort level and skill. There is simply nothing like paddling a Canadian lake!

Algonquin Park is Ontario’s largest Provincial Park with a rich history. It was established in 1893 as a wildlife sanctuary, and to protect the headwaters of the five major rivers which flow from the Park. It was made famous by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven painters, and today attracts a million visitors a year. There are a number of outfitters and lodges in the Oxtongue Lake area, and inside the Park that can provide accommodation and other services. Note: If you are driving into Algonquin Park, you must purchase and display a parking permit.

For next season – summer of 2017 – the TAG project team will be exploring options to accommodate travellers that want to transition between paddling and cycling the Greenway route.