Annual summer camp canoe challenge in Head Lake, Haliburton Village.

Annual summer camp canoe challenge in Head Lake, Haliburton Village.

Did you know that in New Zealand the nickname for a canoe, to distinguish it from a kayak, is a Canadian? This couldn’t be more fitting. Canada and the canoe are inextricably linked. The route for the Toronto to Algonquin Greenway (TAG) was planned to include the Canadian Canoe Museum. If you had to select only one museum to understand how our wonderful country came to be – this would be it.

In Toronto, you can paddle parts of the Greenway on the Humber or Rouge Rivers, either on your own if you’re a confident paddler or in an organized group. Toronto Adventures offers such outings, and the Rouge Park website will help you plan paddling and camping in the park.

Paddle the Don is an annual fundraising event benefitting watershed conservation of the Don River. This is not a river to be tackled otherwise, due to hazardous conditions. Special arrangements are made to allow safe navigation for this event.

While you’re in Peterborough visiting the Canadian Canoe Museum there are a few ways to get out on the water. Pedal’n’Paddle offers rentals of kayaks, canoes (and bikes), out of a great location adjacent to a waterfront café. It’s possible to paddle through the famous Lift Lock. In fact, if you have a shuttle, you can paddle all the way to Lakefield and bicycle back down the Rotary Greenway rail trail.

From Kinmount you can paddle up river alongside the historic rail line (keep left thru’ the marshy area) past the stone abutments of a ghost railway bridge, and under an impressive 300′ long timber trestle bridge, now part of the HCRT – Haliburton County Rail Trail. Kayak rentals are available from Austin Lumber in Kinmount.

TAG’s Zone 10 Paddle to the Park is a 3 to 4-day heritage canoe route updated by Kevin Callan. You set off from Algonquin Highlands Water Trails office on Hwy 35. Staff can help you with planning, maps, campsite reservations – (required!) and canoe rentals. This should be planned well in advance, and it is recommended you have training and experience in canoe tripping.

A less challenging option is to set out from Little Hawk Landing for a shorter canoe outing. Enjoy the hospitality of the resorts/restaurants there, and explore the municipal hiking trails while you’re in the vicinity.