Looking for a fun getaway with the gang? Why not learn something new while you’re at it. Local outfitters offer a range of unique experiences on the Grand River including stand-up paddle board lessons and paddling excursions combined with photography workshops, yoga classes, edible plant hikes and more.

Read all about Diana’s rafting trip and edible plant hike along the Grand River from her blog Toronto Teacher Mom below.


GRAND RIVER RAFTING, HAMILTON HALTON BRANT

DIANA – After a lovely lunch at The Bell Homestead Cafe in Brantford, my friend and I headed over to the next location on our itinerary – Paris, Ontario for a complimentary guided tour of the Grand River with the Grand River Rafting Company. Initially, we had been looking forward to a canoe trip but when we arrived, we noticed they had brought rafts instead. I was a little disappointed at first but ten minutes into the tour with our amazing guide, I realized how much more fun it was to share a raft with my friend and learn so much about the area from Garth Pottruff, the owner of Grand River Rafting Co. and the recently acquired Heritage River Canoe and Kayak Co.

Wearing my Paris cap (from my honeymoon in France) and a life jacket supplied by Grand River Rafting Co., we loaded up our paddles, cooler and personal belongings onto a hefty and virtually unflippable (is that even word?) raft. Initially, I wanted to bring the kids with me but wasn’t sure how safe it would be seeing as none of us are very strong swimmers. Being in the raft it became clear that this was the perfect trip for families with kids both young and old. Garth told us that he’s even taken children as young as two on rafting trips. Given that the water throughout most of this trip is quite shallow with a few gentle rapids, I felt more assured that I could bring my kids on a future trip and not have to worry so much about their safety.

I have to say that, from a teacher’s standpoint, this guided tour along the Grand River is so worth it simply for its educational value alone. Garth, who happens to be an arborist and an outdoor education teacher for First Nations, is a wealth of information and taught us about the local wildlife and aboriginal history. It had rained most of the day and my friend and I worried that it would rain during our trip, too, but after speaking to Garth, he reassured us that it would be the perfect afternoon for a rafting trip. And he was right! Of course, his weather predictions have only be incorrect twice in the past several years so clearly the man knows what he’s talking about.

Along our trip, we came across turtles, blue herons and other beautiful wildlife that offered up some great photo opps.

At one point, we stopped off at a natural spring, emptied our water bottles and filled them up with refreshing water straight from Mother Nature’s tap.

We also stopped off at a gypsum mine that had opened in the 1830’s and later closed in 1910. It was really dark and damp but nonetheless pretty cool to see up close.

Shortly afterwards, we took another break from rafting and pulled up along the riverbank to head out on a hike in the woods. We learned about the stinging nettle and how it has been used for joint ailments and as an astringent. We also learned about burdock and its antihistamine-like effects. And we got to smell skunk cabbage. (I’ll let that one speak for itself.)

Throughout our hike, we learned about the different trees and about First Nations as well. We ended up at a beautiful lookout point before heading back to our raft.

As we were nearing the end of our rafting trip, Garth called up one of the other guides to meet us at their private camp grounds, which are available for corporate picnics or family camping trips. They loaded up the rafting gear on the trailer and we hopped into the truck to make our way back to Bean Park. Our trusty Infiniti was there waiting for us to continue on our VIP Guest Drive and make our way over to the Old School Restaurant for dinner. We certainly had worked up an appetite after our 3.5 hour trip along the Grand River!

I would like to personally thank Garth Pottruff of Grand River Rafting Company for providing us with an enlightening, humourous and truly enjoyable experience along the Grand River. This was my first rafting experience and undoubtedly not the last. I look forward to bringing my family back soon!

 

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November 14 - 25

12 Days of Christmas

Robert Hall Originals

138 Sugar Maple Road St. George, N0E 1N0

Nov-14-2019 to Nov-25-2019 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day | Closed on Sundays|...

Now thru May 1

MacNab’s Kitchen at Dundurn Enhanced Experience

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

2 hour experience. Available year-round, mornings only. Minimum 15 persons.

Now thru October 20

Kayak Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

There are no stores along the paddling section of the river... so you need to...

Now thru May 1

The Collection: A Hands-On Experience

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Duration of Experience: 3.5 hours Availability: Year-Round, Afternoons Only Minimum Person: 12

November 16 - January 5

The McQuesten Family Christmas

Whitehern Historic House & Garden – National Historic Site

41 Jackson Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 1L3

Time:        12:00 PM – 4:00 PM (Tuesday to Sunday) Closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day &...

Now thru December 31

Float High in the Sky at iFLY Toronto(Oakville)

iFLY Toronto

2007 Winston Park Drive Oakville, L6H 6P5

FLIGHT HOURS Monday: CLOSED Tuesday to Thursday: 2 PM - 9 PM Friday: 11 PM...

Now thru September 13

Sunset Social Paddles

Burlington Beach Rentals

1084 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, ON, L7S1A2

2019 Dates; Friday, June 14th; Friday, July 19; Friday; August 16; Saturday, September 14. 2-...

Now thru December 29

A Winter’s Night in Paris Culinary Experience

Arlington Hotel

106 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M5

Based on standard rooms only. Rooms are subject to availability. Reservations required to the Arlington...

Now thru December 15

Ridge Road Wine Tour

Wine Tours Toronto

550 Eglinton Ave. W. Toronto, ON Canada

Saturday tours with 3 pick up locations. 9:30 am from Toronto, 10 am from Oakville,...

Now thru October 13

The Natural Path

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

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