If you’d like to get out on the water in a canoe, kayak or raft, but aren’t sure where to begin, Hamilton Halton Brant has plenty of options for paddling beginners to pick up their oars and dip in!


Get Going on the Grand

The Grand River is a perfect place to learn how to paddle. It is a very gentle river, and area outfitters such as Grand ExperiencesGrand River Rafting and Heritage River Canoe and Kayak Co. make it so easy to gear up and go. You can opt for a guided or instructional canoe, kayak or rafting experience where an expert teacher will accompany you on the trip to show everyone the ropes and ensure the day is a success.

Here are some great choices for instructional, learn to paddle experiences:

Get some canoeing cred with Grand Experiences’ Learn to Paddle and Paddle Canada Basic Skills Certification Experience. This is a full-day experience packed with learning that begins on the calm waters of Pinehurst Lake, where participants master the basics of draw and pry strokes for manoeuvring, and sweeps and the “J” stroke for steering. Next, it’s on to the Grand River’s Mohawk Run to learn how to read a river and determine what strokes to use in different conditions. By the end of the day, you’ll be paddling like a pro and earn your Paddle Canada Canoeing Basic Skills Certification.

Grand River Rafting offers beginner canoeing lessons with or without a guided trip. These are practical, hands-on canoeing lessons for leisure recreational paddling on the Paris to Brantford canoe route. Instructors provide the one-hour lessons on land and water, then shuttle participants upstream for a 2-3 hour trip down the Grand River.

Learn to kayak in white water with Grand Experiences’ Nith River Learning Adventure.  The Nith is an ideal river to learn on in spring high waters, and instructors start by teaching power, steering, and brace strokes. After an on-river morning of basic techniques, enjoy a hot riverside lunch at Viking Beach. After lunch, continue developing your skills by navigating Swift Alley, the deceptive currents of Devil’s Cave, and the Level 1 and 2 rapids of Arrowhead, Big Curve, and Penman’s Pass. You can also kayak the Grand River with Grand River Rafting, an outfitter offering beginner lessons with or without a guided trip. Kayakers head out on the Paris to Brant Park Route and start with land-based instruction, followed by two to three hour paddles.

If you’ve never given rafting a try, Grand River Rafting offers a special beginner trip, the Grand River Cayuga Paddle. It starts in the town of Paris and ends 12 kilometres downstream, a 3-4 hour trip. En route, spot osprey, a blue heron nesting area, and wildlife like deer and muskrats.


Canoeing at Cootes

Give paddling a try in paradise! At Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, the Cootes Paradise marsh is the site for a number of guided canoeing programs designed for beginners where you’ll see the wetlands’ inhabitants from a new perspective.

Introduction to Canoeing is offered on various dates starting in June. If you don’t know a bow from a stern and think going straight is easy but don’t know how to turn, join ORCKA-certified instructors for two half days of canoeing instruction focused on teaching safety and techniques. Participants spend the mornings paddling and experiencing Cootes Paradise while mastering the quintessentially Canadian J-stroke.

Paddle in Paradise guided tours give participants a view of wetland plants and wildlife and a glimpse of the astounding life that depends on the health of the marsh for its survival. RBG supplies the canoes, paddles and life jackets, and participants bring your camera and binoculars. The Family Canoeing program is recommended for 2 adults and up to 2 children over age 4 and is another guided canoeing adventure to learn about Cootes Paradise.


Become a Paddleboard Pro

Find out why stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is taking the world by storm. Get out and enjoy the water with lessons at Burlington Beach with Burlington Beach Rentals or a two-hour introduction to the sport at WhaSUP in Troy. Grand River Rafting in Paris has mapped out a great route on the Grand River and will provide a lesson before you set out.

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Experiences & Tours View All >>

Now thru September 22

The Heights: A War of 1812 Tour of Dundurn National Historic Site

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

Dates:       SUNDAYS, May 26, June 23, July 28, August 25, September 22, 2019 Time:        9:30...

Now thru August 23

Girlfriend Friday One day Retreats

Burlington Beach Rentals

1084 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, ON, L7S1A2

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Must register in advance. Limited spots per date. Ladies only...

December 7 - 22

Christmas Evening Tours

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

Time:        7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Cost:        $30 per person. Pre-registration is required, weekends only.

Now thru January 6

David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden Experience

Royal Botanical Gardens

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

1.5 hour experience. Minimum 15 persons.

December 1

Victorian Christmas Delights: Historic Cooking Workshop

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

Time:        9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Ages:       14 years and up Cost:        $50 per person....

Now thru November 3

Cook the Trout Survival Challenge

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Now thru October 13

The Natural Path

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

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 August 31

Virtual Reality Experience – BBC 1943 Berlin Blitz

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

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

9 am – 5 pm daily at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Virtual Reality Experience...

Now thru November 16

A Day of Play

Six Nations Tourism

2498 Chiefswood Road, Ohsweken, ON, N0A 1M0

Now thru October 28

Whisper to the Moon

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Price: From $99 per person, meet up at 7:30 pm and ends 10:30-11:30pm

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.

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