Paintings like Tom Thomson’s Jack Pine and A.Y. Jackson’s Red Maple are beautiful reminders that Canada’s natural landscapes have long been a source of inspiration for the artists that call this country home. While the lakes and rivers of northern Ontario get much of the glory when it comes to celebrated Canadian art, the Grand River has offered its fair share of inspiration as well.  From Group of Seven member A.J. Casson’s Mill at Elora to Homer Watson’s The Flood Gate, to E. Pauline Johnson’s poem, The Song My Paddle Sings, this Canadian Heritage River has been showcased in a variety of mediums. Many people don’t realize that Lawren Harris, one of the founding members of the Group of Seven, was actually born in Brantford and spent his childhood playing near and skating on the Grand River.

Today, the Grand River, which flows south from Wareham, Ontario all the way to Lake Erie, continues to offer left brain fuel through a variety of experiences and attractions on and along its storied waters. Those that think outstanding outdoor adventures require a long slog fighting cottage country traffic are pleasantly surprised upon discovering The Grand. The river’s close proximity to southern Ontario’s biggest cities means endless inspiration is an effortless drive away. The charming towns of Paris and Brantford are two easy access points, and both are less than 110 km away from the Greater Toronto Area.

Here are a few amazing ways to celebrate art and nature with an outing on or along the Grand River.


Paint and Paddle

Grand Experiences’ Paint and Paddle package is a perfect way for artists to polish both their brush and their paddle strokes at the same time! Bring along your own art supplies and half-way along the canoe route the paddle will pause at a picturesque spot on land and the group will set up a studio and take a two-hour painting break. An experienced artist will be right by your side the whole day to offer as much, or as little, guidance as you’d like. A delicious picnic lunch is also provided.


Seeing Stars

Instead of heading to a gallery to look at paintings on a wall, set out on a moonlit paddle and cast your gaze up at Mother Nature’s masterpiece that shines from the night sky. Grand River Rafting offers a guided Moonlight Stargazer’s Drift by raft, canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board nightly from the end of May through mid-October. For an extra special show, time your trip to coincide with one of their Full Moon Paddles. These guided paddling experiences float a relaxed 12-km route and the experience from start to finish takes about three hours. Paddles, lifejackets, dry bags, and a shuttle ride back to your vehicle are all included in the trip price. The sounds from the shoreline of beaver, deer, owls, herons, raccoons, coyotes and splashing fish are all complimentary!

Grand Experiences also offers a Moonlight Paddle on select Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from May through October in a 12-person Voyageur canoe or on a raft. Experienced paddlers can also opt to take their trip in a kayak or traditional canoe. Private trips for groups of four or more can also be scheduled for any evening within four days of a full moon.

The last thing you’ll feel like doing after such an amazing day or evening on the water is hitting the highway, so book a night at The Arlington Hotel in Paris, the Hampton Inn and Suites Brantford,  Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre or The Bear’s Inn in Ohsweken. All that fresh air is sure to help you work up a healthy appetite, so keep a list of tasty dining diversions at the ready. Some favourites in Paris include Edit at The Arlington Hotel, Cobblestone Public House and 2 Rivers Restaurant. Devlin’s Country Bistro in Mount Pleasant is another great choice. In Brantford, Serenity Country Candles Café, The Olde School Restaurant and Devlin’s Advocate are all perfect places for peckish paddlers. Burger Barn in Ohsweken makes a burger so buzzed about that it’s been featured on the television show You Gotta Eat Here, and The Village Café is another popular spot in Ohsweken. Beer fans will love sipping the creative brews on tap at Brantford’s two craft breweries: Bell City Brewing Co. and Mash Paddle Brewing Company.


Cycle, Paddle and Explore The Natural Path

When an outfitter and an organic farm put their heads together to create a new outdoor experience, you know it’s going to be good! The Natural Path is a two-day guided trip that offers cycling along the Trans Canada Trail, paddling in a 12-person Voyageur Canoe, an educational farm experience, a guided plant walk, great meals and so much more. If the fields, farms and forests along the route don’t offer quite enough inspiration, tours at an artisanal pottery studio, Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks and Bell City Brewing Co. will throw some additional creative fuel on the fire! Guests can choose between a comfortable farm stay sleeping in tents under the stars or enjoy a few more creature comforts by overnighting at a nearby hotel. Delicious lunches will be served alongside the trail and there is also a tasty dinner at Stillwaters! Plate & Pour on the Grand River.


Added Art Inspiration

While exploring the Grand River area, don’t forget to save some time for a visit to the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant. In addition to an intriguing sculpture collection set on a beautifully landscaped sixteen-acre park on the banks of the Grand River, the gallery is home to a permanent collection of over 600 works of art. The Woodland Cultural Centre’s Gallery has three exhibition spaces that rotate First Nations contemporary art and historical exhibitions on a three-month cycle.

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Check out the fun that’s already happening on and around the Grand River by searching and following the hashtags: #PaddleTheGrand, #NatureUnexpected and #HamiltonHaltonBrant. #paddleON and #discoverON also regularly feature great paddling inspiration. Don’t forget to share some pictures of your paddling adventures too!

Paddle the Grand Travel Deals View All >>

Paddle the Grand Experiences & Tours View All >>

May 1 - October 18

Rafting Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 1 - October 18

Canoe Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

April 20 - November 18

Grand Voyageur

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

4-Hour Guided Trip, Offered Daily

Now thru October 30

Weekend in Paris Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

May 1 - October 18

Tandem Kayak Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 16 - September 20

Turbo Tubing… The Paddling Adventure For Everyone.

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Not recommended for newborns to 2 years. *Save 4.00 off per person when you bring...

May 1 - October 15

Mohawk Run

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Nature Galore!

May 16 - September 20

The Beast… the 8 Person Super Board Trip

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 1 - October 15

Voyage of the Iroquois, Group Package

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

12-person Group Experience

May 1 - October 18

Private Boat Shuttles on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

7 days a week. Reservations are a must by phone or email.

Now thru October 15

Grand River 2-Day Canoe and Camping Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

8-Hour, Self-Guided

Now thru December 31

Cook the Trout Survival Challenge

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Available 7 days a week. . Reservations are a must (phone or email)

Now thru November 15

Cambridge to Paris Grand River Day Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Route Running

March 2 - April 22

Heart of Ontario Whitewater Rafting Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

March 28 - May 18

Nith River – Experiential Learning Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Check for available dates.

April 24 - October 26

Grand River – Rafting Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

A Great Canadian Adventure!

October 1 - November 30

Upper Nith River Experience in Fall

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Fall Colours!

Now thru December 31

Indigenous Edible Medicinal Hike

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Available 7 days a week. . Reservations are a must (phone or email)

Now thru April 27

The Cayuga Winter Hike

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Offered Daily

May 1 - October 18

Tandem Yak Trip on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

Now thru March 31

Burger Barn’s 35 Burger Experiences

Burger Barn

3000 Fourth Line, Ohsweken, ON, N0A 1M0

Now thru October 26

Learn to Paddle Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Sunday Departures

May 2 - October 18

Grand River Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Rentals and Trips

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

Now thru May 18

Nith River Adventure Getaway

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Available daily October 2019 to May 2020. Check for available dates.

April 1 - June 30

Upper Nith River Experience in Spring

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Check for available dates.

Now thru October 15

Grand Overnight Adventure One Night Hotel Package Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Guided Canoe or Kayak Adventure

May 1 - October 18

Kayak Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

Now thru November 15

Glen Morris to Paris – Grand River Day Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Daily departures.

Now thru October 30

Friends & Family Float on the Grand (Rafting)

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Daily departures, check for availability.

March 21 - May 18

Nith River Adventure – with a Whitewater Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Excilerating!

Now thru March 22

SIPS AND EATS ROAD TRIP – RURAL BRANT

Tasty Road Trips Food Tours – Experience Local!

12:00pm – 4:30pm $105.00 each Tours are approximately 4.5 hours.   We drive you in a...

Now thru October 28

The Natural Path

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

Offered Daily

Now thru October 15

Paris to Brant – Grand River Day Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

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

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