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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February 23

Starting Your Seeds Indoors (Virtual)

Art Gallery of Hamilton

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

Fee: $10 + Service Fee (Members 10% off*) Please pre-register by February 20. 7:00 pm...

Now thru February 26

Oaks and Acorns Nature Play: Late Winter Sessions

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON, L7T 4H4

Now thru March 20

Virtual Guided Hike: Winter Edition

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON, L7T 4H4

Pre-Registration Required

February 4 - 7

Valentine’s Day Heart Hand Warmers – Follow Along Video

173 Colborne St, Brantford, ON N3T 2G8

January 29 - May 21

True or False? The Fun Science Exhibition

Joseph Brant Museum

1240 North Shore Boulevard East, Burlington, ON, L7S 1C5

Now thru March 27

Treewalk Village in Winter

Treetop Trekking

5050 Harrison Rd, Binbrook, ON L0R 1C0

Closed some holidays. PLUS Open on these special dates: Dec 20, 21, 22, 23, 27,...

Now thru March 29

Yoga at the Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Rd W, Burlington, ON, Canada

Pre-Registration Required, Ticketed Event, 1-2 hours

Now thru March 9

Harmony Square Downtown – Outdoor Ice Rink

Harmony Square District

89 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, ON, N3T 3B1

10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Now thru March 31

Skating on Cootes Paradise

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON, L7T 4H4

Available dates and hours are subject to change due to ongoing safety precautions and weather.

Now thru December 31

Art For Victory

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope, ON, L0R 1W0

Wednesday to Sunday - 9 am to 5 pm. Exhibit is FREE with admission. Regular...

January 30 - May 29

Hamilton Beer Tour

The Beer Tour Company

$130.00+hst per person (8 person minimum) Tour is 5-7hrs long. Tour Dates: Sunday January 30,...

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