Rivers & Lakes of Southern Ontario

Rideau Canal Ottawa This region encompasses the meandering rivers of farm country, more remote eastern Ontario rivers, nationally recognized waterways and canals, the heritage of the Grand River and the peace of the Kawartha Lakes. This is the region for leisurely, short-distance paddles, day trips by canoe or kayak or on foot on numerous hiking trails.

Let an Outfitter help you plan your getaway on the Grand or Saugeen Rivers.

The Grand River flows through the heartland of Southern Ontario. Meandering by farms and towns, and winding through marshes and forests, it is the common thread that links a harmonious blend of natural and cultural landscapes. It is Ontario's largest watershed and its heritage has been recognized by designation as a Canadian Heritage River.

The Saugeen River originates in one of the highest points in Southwestern Ontario and flows through rolling scenic countryside to Lake Huron, at Southampton. River conditions vary from broad placid sections to stretches with rapids and eddies, making sections of the Saugeen ideal for family canoeing and for learning the basics of rapid water navigation. The rapids present little difficulty, except in early spring, when water is high and fast flowing. The route begins at Hanover Park, ending 102 kilometres downstream at Denny's Dam, near Southampton.

For more details on trips and outfitters, click here.

Ontario's Historic Canals

Trent-Severn Waterway

Meandering 384 kilometres (238.4 miles). from Trenton on the Bay of Quinte, through the Kawartha Lakes to Port Severn on the shore of Georgian Bay, this is truly a highway of water. The waterway is made up of a system of locks including conventional locks, flight locks, two hydraulic lift locks and a marine railway. In winter, the canal in Peterborough, like the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, becomes a long outdoor skating rink.

Canoeing and kayaking are second nature for many here - from instructional programs to more demanding journeys. The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough is home to over 500 canoes and kayaks, telling the history of the importance of these vessels in Canada's discovery and history. And, best of all, you can get away for a day, a weekend or a week. From smoothwater lakes in the new Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, to exciting whitewater on the Mississauga - it's at your doorstep!

Rideau Canal

Take a unique voyage by canoe, kayak or boat along one of the most picturesque waterways in Ontario, on the Rideau Canal waterway. Stretching over 200 kilometres (125 miles) through a chain of lakes and rivers, the system links Canada's capital city of Ottawa, to the historic city of Kingston on Lake Ontario. The hand-crank locks along the Rideau operate today much as they did 170 years ago; one of the features that make this waterway a designated Canadian Heritage River.

Don't have a boat? Travel the canal on foot - the Rideau Hiking Trail follows the canal the entire distance between Kingston and Ottawa. Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association is located in Merrickville. Their novice and more experienced canoeists/kayakers will find books, equipment and various instructional workshops.

Useful Links:
Land O' Lakes
Grand River Country
Rideau Waterway
Peterborough and the Kawarthas
Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association
Eastern Ontario Tourism Information
Trent-Severn Waterway
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
Great Fall Drive: Waterway Wonders: Kawartha Lakes
Great Fall Drive: The Rolling Hills: Northumberland
Great Fall Drive: Heritage Hamlets: York - Durham
Great Fall Drive: Southern Exposure: Windsor, Essex, Pelee and Chatham-Kent

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