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Toronto Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre Instruction Lessons... or the Grand River Wilderness?
Learning to paddle a lake is a starter… but learning to canoe or kayak on a river is a complete learning experience for any beginner. And a good place to do this is the Grand River 1 hr west of Toronto, near Brantford, Ontario.
By: Garth Pottruff
Both the Toronto Harbourfront Centre and the Grand River offer excellent beginner lessons on how to canoe or kayak. Prices vary little… but the outdoor setting is a major difference between the two. The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre teaches lessons on Toronto’s Lake Ontario. The Grand River lessons are on Southern Ontario’s largest river which flows for 300kms through the Carolinian Forests.
“A river’s uniqueness is... that the scenery is always changing… no paddling continuously towards one object in the distance”.
The Grand River is not as wind prone as Lake Ontario. On certain days the wave chop can make learning to canoe/kayak a trying experience. Both the lake/river settings offer a flat water paddling, but with the Grand River one can experience more. The opportunity to try flat water and moving water with easy swifts and rapids. For more information on paddling the Grand River valley contact: http://www.grandriverrafting.ca/
On a lake one can paddle where they want… very little decision making is required. But a river lesson adds another dimension… learning to read moving water. How to choose the best spot when paddling through shallows, around rocks and river currents. This “river smarts” skill is not a textbook/video technique. Having an instructor makes a river paddling experience come to life.
Both Harbour & Grand River offer courses designed for those who have never been in a
canoe or kayak before. The courses teach the techniques of getting in/out of a boat, paddling and steering techniques… from a “360’ turn in a kayak to the “J” steering stroke of a canoe. Most of the time is spent on the water so that one can become familiar with the feel of the boat. For the kayaker… discover that the “Eskimo Roll” is not needed at all. And for the canoeist… learn to paddle on one side.
Learning to canoe or kayak… the goal is to become competent and confident at doing a paddle alone. Both Harbourfront Centre and the Grand River offer canoe and kayak beginner lessons that are about 3-3.5 hours to ORCKA weekend certification courses found at http://www.grandriverrafting.ca/
Another very unique experience that is offered on the Grand River is the “On River Instructional Lesson” where two or more people can do a day of learning to canoe and kayak at the same time while paddling the river. This day offers the beginner instruction course, plus a guided experience on the trees, fish and wildlife of the valley. Included in the pricing is a hearty Tripper’s Lunch, all taxes and return upstream shuttle. For more information on this “two in one” instructional beginner’s course on the Grand River visit: http://www.grandriverrafting.ca/
Many of the other companies in the Grand Valley as well as the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto have set times that the customer must start at. But there is one company called Grand River Rafting near Paris, where customers can choose their own starting time on a canoe/
Canoeing and kayaking is a great leisure adventure. And developing the skill is easy and nearby. There are many good instructors out there, so all one needs to do… is find the experience… then find the setting… then enjoy the lesson.
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About the Grand River Rafting Company: Specializes in offering guided-instructional wilderness learning adventures for families & corporate groups. Rafting, canoeing, kayaking and fishing trips on Southern Ontario's Grand River, just one hour west of Toronto, 10 mins. off the 403 Hwy near Paris, Ontario.