Everything you need to know about getting out on the water with us.
Please read on for all the details on how you’ll connect with the water during our half-day paddling experience.
How do I get there?
The Meaford Boat Launch is located at 3 St. Vincent St. Turn left at the intersection of Hwy 26 and St. Vincent if you’re coming from the west, turn right if coming from the east. Our tour group will be meeting in the Rotary Pavilion just south of the boat launch.
Do I need to have any paddling experience to take part in a canoe tour?
No experience necessary. We start all of our adventures with a concise and practical paddling instruction, as well as a canoe safety discussion. We will make sure you are prepared for the tour, so that you can best enjoy it. Even those who have been in a canoe before are unlikely to have paddled in a canoe with a dozen others. This makes the perfect environment for the group to learn and paddle as a team. It is a new experience that we have designed to be accessible to a greater community, and not just for those who have held a paddle before.
All participants should be in good health and without medical conditions that could affect a person’s ability to stay upright in the canoe. We are able to accommodate to abilities of participants and not all passengers are required to paddle. Please give us a call ahead of time and we are enthusiastic to work together and get you out on the water. Likewise, if you are unsure about how your health or ability may affect your tour experience, feel free to give us a call.
What weather should I expect?
Typically we get weather that ranges from:
May 5 to 16°c
June 10 to 21°c
July 13 to 24°c
August 14 to 23°c
September 9 to 17°c
What should I wear on the tour?
As a rule of thumb, it feels about 5 degrees cooler on the water than on land. Plan for a bit cooler weather and the possibility of increased wind. We always recommend dressing in layers, as you can always take a layer off. We recommend being prepared by bringing a raincoat in case.
May, June, September & October:
A jacket that is water repelling
A warm base layer
A hat for sun protection
July & August:
Shorts in the afternoons
T-shirt, but still bring along a raincoat
A hat for sun protection
Although we have to dress a bit warmer, our unique location and climate often creates impressive weather phenomena due to the differences in water and air temperature.
What should I bring on the tour?
Your camera! Don’t forget a waterproof case, memory card, and batteries!
Likewise your phone is great to have along. Please make sure it is in a waterproof case and is secured from falling out of the canoe!
Sunscreen and sunglasses (with strap)
Water bottle (reusable)
What is better left at home?
Pets: Service animals are welcome as long as they are registered and you are comfortable with them on the water.
Personal Flotation Devices: We have a set that are specifically designed for the experience and meet the necessary safety requirements.
Paddles: We have a set of paddles for maximum coordination and fun.
Valuables (that you don’t want to fall overboard!): We don’t want to see anyone’s valuables lost! We make sure all of our valuables, including you, float!
First Aid Kits: We carry a fully stocked first aid kit designed for large groups and our staff are trained in first aid.
Smoking is not permitted while in the canoe and any signs of intoxication, as assessed by your guide, will prohibit you from taking part in the tour.
How many people fit in a canoe? Can I sit with a friend?
Our big canoe can accommodate up to 14 paddlers, including guides, and can be paddled comfortably with as few as 5 paddlers. Our guides will assign seats for everyone as we load canoe so that our watercraft is balanced and everyone has room to paddle. Guides will do their best to seat friends and family beside each other or in the next row of seats. Feel free to ask our guides if you would like to sit in a particular position in the canoe or with a friend or family member.
What are the guides like?
Our guides are fun and knowledgeable outdoor enthusiasts with a penchant for local lore. Our guides are certified with the Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Association to operate large voyageur style canoes and are also trained in First Aid, CPR, and the operation of VHF radios so that you can fully enjoy the tour.
How far away from shore will we be?
Canoe tours will always be in sightline with the shore and rarely be further than 10 m away. Most of the ecology and culture we will be interpreting will be most visible while near shore and it’s this on the water perspective that offers our participants the most intimate viewing of local features. Lastly, being closer to shore allows for quick exit of the waterway should the weather turn for the worse or in any other safety related scenario where we need to get onto shore quickly.
When will I be able to use the washroom?
Washroom access is available at the harbour in Meaford and at Christie Beach. The longest time between stops where a washroom is available will be around 45 mins. The best time to go to the washroom is before we launch the canoe at the start of the tour. Feel free to let your guide know if you need to use a restroom and they can dock at the nearest take-out point.
What do you do with garbage on the tour?
We practice a leave-no-trace approach, packing out whatever garbage we make!
Tell us more about the Big Canoe!
Our 29-foot canoe was constructed by Clipper Canoes of Abbotsford BC, who build a whole range of voyageur style and ocean going canoes. Big canoes exemplify innovative and environmentally sustainable design by expanding the carrying capacity and seaworthiness of the canoe. Many people ask us about our big canoe in admiration of its construction. Few modes of travel so ancient still exist and are still used in the same way; for comparison, archaeological evidence suggests that the canoe was invented 5000 years, prior to the invention of the wheel!
Do you bring a radio?
Guides will carry a hand-held VHF marine radio and will be used alongside a smartphone (in a waterproof case!) to check weather updates and to contact help in case of an emergency. We are lucky to have a Coast Guard station located in Meaford.
What happens if my tour gets cancelled? How will I be notified?
You will receive an email in the inbox of the address you provided in the booking process. If you see a forecast of heavy rain, winds, or lightning on your tour day, please check your email to see whether your tour is cancelled.