Toronto is located in the middle of lake Ontario, which makes it a perfect spot for kayaking, canoeing, boating and carrying out other water sports activites and adventures. Apart from watersport adventures, Toronto will offer you artistic attractions, colorful festivals, a mix of culinary offerings and so much more. Since it is the capital of Ontario and the largest city of Canada, you’ll also have ample kayaking and canoeing experience over here.
The most famous destination for kayaking in Toronto is Centreville Amusement Park, which is an island and the ideal spot for a family outing, picnic with friends and of course for kayaking. People of all age groups can do kayaking and canoeing over here. There are harbour tours as well that will take you on romantic dinner cruises or sailing the city by availing the boat tours or kayak tours.
Besides, some other tourist places of interest in Toronto are Marilyn Monroe Towers, Galleria Italia and Simcoe Wave Deck and Sherbourne Common. You can also visit Graffiti Alley and CP24 Truck, which are popular for interesting and eye-catchy art creations and watch the finest opera and ballet performances at the Four Seasons Centre of performing arts.
Simply put, Toronto is surely one of the best spots for kayaking and canoeing.
In this guide, which is 5000+ words long, you’ll discover:
1. Whether kayaking in Toronto is safe or not?
2. Best places for kayaking and canoeing in Toronto
3. Best kayaking rentals available in Toronto
4. Best time for kayaking or canoeing in Toronto
5. Cost of kayaking in Toronto
Is kayaking safely in Toronto?
Being one of the most popular cities in Canada, Toronto is 100% safe for kayaking. It is the least dangerous city in North America and also ranked in the top 10 of the world’s safest cities of life in. However, a bit city like Toronto does face certain problems with regard to theft, robbery and other nominal crimes.
The murder rate of the city is 2.6 members per 100,000 population which is very much lower as compared to the national average. The real problem with Toronto is the crimes and violence between the gang members. This crime has nothing to do with the general public and tourists. If things get worse, there is always a police station nearby where you can visit and lodge a complaint or ask for any kind of help.
The weather conditions is pleasant, especially during the hot summer with warm and calm water across the major lakes, rivers and national, making them perfect for kayaking and canoeing in Toronto.
To simply put, Toronto is one of the safest cities to visit for kayaking and canoeing in Canada. It is also ranked as top 10 most livable cities in the world which reflects the low personal risk, availability of good service, polite and welcoming locals and stunning locations for kayaking.
To most violent crime in Toronto is also the lowest as compared to the other provinces and cities of Canada, but there large number of gangs residing in the city which makes us question the safety of Toronto. However, if you want to travel safely in Toronto and avoid tourist scams then follow the following tips:
Why should you visit Toronto for kayaking?
1. Epic views
The first reason why should you visit Toronto for canoeing or kayaking is because you can experince the epic views from the lakeside or your kayaking spot. Lakes and rivers in Toronto are surrounded by lush green trees, stunning skylines above, mountains and scenic views to get your adrenaline pumping.
Those who are not interested in kayaking can enjoy the epic views from the CN tower, which is one of the tallest buildings in the world. This is an observation and you can visit it by paying a nominal fee. I would recommend you to visit the tower, especially at night to enjoy the vibrant color which is great for photography.
2. Amazing skyline and islands
Another reason why you should visit Toronto for kayaking is because of the amazing skyline and stunning locations. While kayaking, the Toronto Skyline looks even better. If you are kayaking in the middle of the lake you can experince a large number of skyscrapers in the city.
I would suggest you visit the Toronto Islands, which large park in the city with ample kayaking and paddle-boarding opportunities there. The highlight of this park are beaches, greenery and forest.
3. Many parks and kayaking spots
Kayaking in Toronto will be a wonderful experince because the place has a huge number of parks, lakes, rivers and beaches sides. There is also a mixture of green spaces, ravines, mountains and a lot more. The most popular park of the region is High Park, located in the western side of the city. The park is a top-notch location for kayaking, paddle boarding, camping and hiking trails during spring. Toronto Island is also a great spot for kayaking.
Some other popular parks include: Riverdale Park West, Tommy Thompson Park, Humber Bay Park East, Woodbine Beach and Bluffer’s Park.
4. Food and Culture
Once you are done with your kayaking in Toronto, you can explore the rich and fantastic food. From takeaway joints to rooftop restaurants the city of Toronto has got it all. You’ll also find some authentic Canadian hotels and restaurants with friendly water and waitress who will be more than happy to serve you the best food. If you don’t wanna try Canadian cuisine you can also twist on common dishes.
5. Nigeria falls
Another reason to visit Toronto for kayaking is that you can also visit the famous Niagara Falls. You can visit this spot via public transport, train, bus or by driving your personal car. Niagara falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. At times over 168,000 cubic metres of water flow over its crest per minute. This fall also includes several other waterfalls like Horseshoe Falls (below), the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.
Kayak safety tips in Toronto?
You are going kayaking in Toronto and are concerned about your safety there, right? There is something about Toronto that makes you question its safety. Just a bit. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a dangerous city compared to other cities in Canada, especially for kayaking. However, Toronto can be seriously affected by adverse weather conditions, especially in winter seasons where snowstorms can completely freeze the city and chop your kayaking plan.
Apart from a few weather-related risks, Toronto is one of the safest cities for kayaking. The risk of robberies, crimes and other issues is less in Toronto as compared to other cities.
In fact, Toronto is also ranked as 4th safest city in the world, making it truly a perfect destination for kayaking and canoeing. However, many of the crimes happening in Toronto is gang-related and between gang members. Tourists won’t fall victim to these gang-related crimes.
Here are some safety tips for kayaking in Toronto:
1. Wear a kayak or paddling life jacket
Without wearing a kayaking life jacket or paddling vest, I will never think of kayaking. It is a must-have accessory that will keep you afloat, especially if you don’t know swimming and tipping of from your kayak by any chance. Get a heavy-duty kayak life jacket to safeguard to life.
2. Don’t drink and paddle
Don’t drink and drive and don’t drink and kayak. Because the two don’t go in tandem.
3. Keep kayaking accessories
Before going kayaking or canoeing in Lake Tahoe, or elsewhere, make sure you are loaded with necessary kayaking accessories and gear. Don’t be in a rush and make sure to carry gear like a knife, sun shed, watch, light (if planning for night camping), cooler, kayak dry storage bag and a lot more.
4. Dress for immersion
Whenever and wherever you are kayaking, you have to be in a dress code as per the weather conditions. This is especially true when you are planning for kayaking activity in cold water which can quickly lead to hyperthermia. So, if you are kayaking on cold water you need to be more cautious and wear warmer clothes or dry suits.
5. Know the map
Whether you are canoeing in Lake Tahoe or kayaking in New York City, you must be well-versed in the map and river system of the place you are kayaking at. If you don’t know where you are heading while kayaking, you’ll be lost and stressed out. So, always be prepared with the map and detailed touring guide and spots be
6. GPS system
Last but not least safety tip for canoeing in Lake Tahoe is to get a GPS or navigation system that will allow you to track and monitor your location even if you are not well-versed in the location. I would suggest you to opt for a kayaking watch with GPS that will show you time as well as help you with mapping and navigation.
Toronto kayaking map:
Best places for kayaking in Toronto
1. Thousand Islands National Park
This list of best places for kayaking in Toronto is incomplete without mentioning the Thousands of Islands in Toronto. You can travel from the St Lawrence River to Thousands Islands Parkway and reach this amazing national park that spreads across 9 kilometres.
Although the national park is a bit small, it will offer you ample of kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and other adventure for sure. Along with rivers, lakes and ponds, this park is home to 21+ islands, which are really beautiful and eye-captivating to watch.
This park is filled with beautiful stone carvings on the mountains that can be seen from a kayak or canoe. You can reach most of the places and islands via your boat or kayak and dive deep into the beauty of this park. Some places are tight to reach, so I would recommend you to take a small size kayak.
If you are not interested in kayaking or paddle boarding in Toronto, then I am sure you would love to camp or hike within the park and spot the uncommon wild animals and even some turtles on the island.
2. Algonquin Provincial Park
Along with kayaking or canoeing in Toronto, if you wish to explore the wildlife, then Algonquin Park is the place to be at. This is probably one of the biggest national parks in Canada that you’ll ever come across. The park is home to 2400 lakes, giving you ample opportunities for kayaking and other water sports acitivtes. Guess what? There is 1400 km of waterfalls allowing you to enjoy the most scenic locations.
The park is located at Ontario 60, Ontario K0J 2M0, Canada, and you can reach the spot by boat or ferry. Going by boat will allow you to explore the best of aquatic wildlife, but make sure you don’t hurt any of the creatures. Duck hunting is also prohibited in the park.
However, you can capture pictures of wildlife, lush green mountains and lot more. For kids and beginners, this park has got ample of play areas and relaxing points for recreational activities and refreshments. There are toilets and restrooms as well.
You’ll also come across loads of bird species, rough mountains and thick forest in the park, making it a perfect spot for birding and biking. More than 53 types of warm-blooded animals are found in this part and some include moose, white-followed deer, beavers, wild bears, and wolves.
3. Bruce Peninsula National Park
When speaking about the best places for kayaking or canoeing in Toronto, how can we forget about the famous Bruce Peninsula national park located at 469 Cyprus Lake Rd, Tobermory, ON N0H 2R0, Canada? This park is ideal for hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, boating and bird watching for sure.
The park has got dramatic roadways, cliffs and paths. You can opt a bike or car to glide through the entire park. The two most famous spots in the park are: The Singing Sand and The Grotto. The Singing Sands is a seashore where you can kayak, paddle board or practice any other watersport activity, while the Grotto is a trekking spot.
At Singing Sand island, you can also come across cedar trees, thick greeneries, and fragile orchid blooms, while the Grotto will take you through characteristic cliffs, curves and a seashore to the shore’s edge.
4. Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
Here’s introducing one of my personal favourite spots for kayaking in Toronto. The Kawartha Highlands Provincial park is located at 106 Monck St, Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0, Canada and 200 km away from the main city of Toronto. This park is a great combination of exotic wildlife, smaller lakes for canoeing and kayaking, wetlands, blackwoods and rough crops, making it an ideal spot for swimming, camping and hiking.
Of course, hunting and other types of adventures are allowed in the part. You can also bring along your BBQ and smoker for grilling your catch. Before doing the hunting, make sure you have relevant permission from the authorities.
Since the park is filled with wildlife animals, I would recommend you bring along your kids. Only adults should visit the park between the specified time.
5. Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park
The next park on this list of best places for kayaking in Toronto is Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands, Provincial Park. This park is best known for its wildlife animals, amazing lakes for canoeing or kayaking, rivers that spread naturally over the diverse area and scenic beauties all around. You’ll be surely mesmerized by the beauty of this park.
If you are not here for kayaking, you can take up the longest trail which is 500 km long ie the Ganaraska Hiking trail. This is one of the most daunting trails that will take you to amazing sights like Victoria Falls, Hunter’s lake and Liffle Gull Lake.
While on your journey to explore the park, you’ll also come across moose, mountain beers and beavers, snakes and many other wildlife animals. Also, make sure that you are equipped with the right kayaking accessories and camping gear.
There are no kept-up offices in the recreation centre for outdoors, but it’s nearly enough to nip back to Toronto by the day’s end.
6. Rouge National Urban Park
The Rouge National Park is located in the rural area of Scarborough, while some part of the park spreads across neighbouring urban communities of Markham and Pickering. This region is suited for recreational activities like kayaking, boating and paddle boarding. Since the year 2011, the park authorities are trying hard to increase the overall size of the park to attract more visitors and tourists.
This national park is a bit small in size, but it will surely give you the best kayaking experience, hiking trails, fireside visits, camping activities and so much more. You can also bring in your tandem kayak and enjoy the stunning lakeside view of the park.
Rouge National Urban Park will stretch over 79.1 square kilometres (30.5 sq mi), which is currently just 18 sq mi. Close to the Toronto Zoo and Rouge Beach zones, the most amazing part of the first Rouge Park stays open to the public!
7. Point Pelee National Park
Located at the southern side of Canada, the Point Pelee National Park is one of the best national parks to visit especially for those who are adventure seekers. From hiking in the lush green forest to camping on the lakeside, from kayaking on flatwater to walking trails upto the great lakes, this park has got everything to offer.
You can take a bicycle trail of 4 km to reach the forest area or walk the footpath to reach the biggest lakeside where you can kayak canoe or paddle board. Point Pelee promontory has a territory of roughly 18.5 hectares which makes it long and big enough.
8. The Toronto Island Park
The last on this list of the best national park for kayaking in Toronto is Toronto Island Park which is 13 mins ship ride away from Downtown in Toronto. You can take the regular ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry at the base of Bay St Queen’s Quay and reach the park.
This park is a combination of 15 islands which makes it even more mesmerizing and beautiful to watch. The total area of the park spreads across 5 km in length and you can stroll from the end of the Island to the next.
There are delightful swimming seashores (counting a Clothing Optional Beach on Hanlan’s Point!), sports offices, bicycle, kayak and kayak rentals, a drifting marina, huge lush fields for picnics, a theatre, nature ways, EMS and fire station, and an enchanting multi-year-old network of 600 individuals living all year in a bungalow like homes.
Best lakes for kayaking in Toronto
Now that you have seen some of the most beautiful national parks for kayaking in Toronto, let us now look into some of the stunning lakes for kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing and boating in Toronto.
1. Lake Superior
The first on this list of best lakes for kayaking in Toronto has be lake Superior which is the granddaddy of all the lakes in Canada. It is massive, and deep, huge and has a long history of sinking ships and different types of boats. That’s the reason why kayakers are most afraid for kayaking on this lake.
However, in the month of summer ie from july, the lake is calm and smooth with flatwater conditions. You can consider kayaking this season but with all the gear and safety jackets for boating and paddle boarding.
The rugged shoreline of the lake adds up to its beauty and truly gives a stunning view while kayaking. In some areas, you’ll also find pink rocks descending into the clear water. From the shoreline, you can also try your hands at fishing.
What’s more? Lake Superior has also got a bunch of the finest lakes and beaches which includes arcing beaches at Pancake Bay and Batchawana Bay which look mesmerizing from a glossy Caribbean magazine.
2. Lake Huron
Lake Huron is known for its two different attributes which set it apart from other lakes in Toronto for canoeing or kayaking. The western portion of the lake is shared with the United States, while the Eastern portion is entirely located in Ontario.
The Eastern part has got loads of long beaches, limestone shorelines, shallow water regions and a stunning coastline which makes it a perfect spot for kayaking and boating. Along this side, there is also a Pinery Provincial park that is must visit for adventure seekers.
The Eastern portion is called Georgian Bay which is a combination of granite shorelines, pink rocks and stunning camping ground sites that are excellent for biking trails and hiking. On this site, you can enjoy camping paddle boarding or kayaking.
On the top end of Lake Huron, a mountain island is located giving you ample recreational opportunities over there.
3. Lake Ontario
If you personally ask me which is the best lake for kayaking in Toronto, I would say it’s lake Ontario. This lake is located in the city on Ontario and is on your doorstep. You can reach this spot either by walking from the main city or by taking public transport.
The lake is 300 km long and runs into St Lawrence river in the east. Since the lake is very clear and calm it is ideal for kayaking and paddle boarding. You can also rent a kayak or enrol on kayaking lessons on this lake.
The lake is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ontario which includes Woodbine, Mississauga beach and the famous Jack Darling Park for camping and hiking.
4. Lake Erie
Do you have a knack for kayaking and paddle boarding on shallow water? Are you interested in experiencing a heartwrenching kayaking ride? If your answer to the above two questions is yes, then Lake Erie is the place to be at.
This is one of the warmest lakes in Canada and an ideal spot from where you can also have a glimpse of Niagara Falls. The lake is not too big, and not too deep, making it perfect for paddle boarding with dogs and with kids as well.
You can also try your hands with bass fishing on this lake as it has got some amazing species of Walleye and bass. Perch fishing is also popular in this region.
Speaking of the beach, Eire lake has got Crystal Beach one of the best in Ontario. This beach is sculpted with new amenities, a playground for kids, a pool for swimming, cafes and restaurants and a recreational and refreshment zone at every point.
5. Rainy Lake
Located between the border of the USA and Canada near the town of Fort Frances, Rainy Lake is an undiscovered treasure of Ontario. This lake is filled with rugged shorelines, and pine trees and is home to bears, moose, beaver, wolves and a lot more. It is good for bass fishing, walleye fishing and pike fishing as well.
The water of the lake is very clear and calm. It also warms up a bit in the summer, making it perfect for watersport adventure. Swimming is allowed and you can also bring your pets along but on a leash. You can take a dip on the sandy shore at Pither’s Point park.
The lake has several attributes that make it worth visiting on both sides of the border. Some of the major sights include the two mermaid statues and Kettle Falls which are an absolute treat to the eye. You can reach these two spots with a kayak or boat.
6. Lake of woods
Located near the border of Ontario close to the town of Kenora, you’ll come across Lake of the Woods which is a pure beauty of more than 14000 islands. The lake is spectacularly amazing and treats to the eye with loads of small towns near, cottages and clear water shoreline.
The lake water is very clear and calm, which makes it suited for kayaking with dogs and kids as well. On the lakeside, you’ll find loads of white pine, jack pin and poplar trees which adds more greenery to the spot. The lake is also regarded as a good spot for bass fishing and walleye fishing, lake trout, pike and lot more species.
Once you visit the place, you’ll also find places for accommodation, the best kayaking rentals in Toronto, cafes, small hotels and restaurants, pubs and a lot more.
Accessories you need for kayaking in Toronto
This is the very first accessory that you need while kayaking in Toronto. There are many different types of kayaks available in the market and you can opt for the best suited depending on your choice, comfort, budget and paddling need. If you personally ask me which is the best-suited kayak then I would say go with an inflatable kayak as they are lightweight, easy to carry, transport and store.
2. Life safety jacket
Without having a paddling life jacket you cannot think of kayaking in Toronto or anywhere in the world. This is one of the most important kayaking accessories that will safeguard you when you tip off from the water and don’t know how to swim. This is a must-have gear to ensure a safe and sound kayaking experience.
With the help of a kayak or paddling life jacket, you can enjoy stress-free kayaking in any type of water.
Always buy a kayak jacket that is comfortable, safe, certified by USA coastal guards association and gives you a snug fit so you can enjoy hands-free movement while kayaking.
Planning for summer kayaking in Toronto? If yes, then a kayak or paddleboard cooler should be always on your list. This is a precious kayaking gear and accessory that will keep your drinks, beverages, food and beer chilled out for a long duration.
A cooler is made with durable construction material and insulation to keep your drinks and beverages chilled on a long-term basis. You can also opt for a cooler that comes along with fishing rod holders and other accessories.
4. Dry storage bag
If you are kayaking in whitewaters, then you must be worried about your belongings that can get damaged or wet due to the splash of water. In that case, you need a kayak dry storage bag that will allow you to keep your accessories and tools protected from the splash of water.
Kayak dry storage bag is made with water-resistant material and UV-protected technology, which will keep your gear and essentials safe for a long time. You can keep your belongings like cell phones, kayak fish finder, depth finder and other electronics.
Where will you carry and store your kayak? Do you have any special kayak carrier or trailer? No, then a kayaking backpack should be on your list while kayaking in Toronto. You can easily stuff your inflatable kayak in the backpack and carry it along with you anywhere you go.
The backpack also comes with additional storage points and pockets, allowing you to store your other precious tools, gear and accessories. The only drawback of the kayak backpack is that it can only be used for keeping and storing inflatable kayaks.
When you are paddling or kayaking, it is important to wear sunglasses that will protect you from UV rays. Polarized sunglasses will give you maximum protection and also enhance your efficiency.
If you’re someone who tends to get bored easily, a kayaking speaker or marine audio system should be on your go-to list. With a Bluetooth system, you’ll be able to listen to your favourite songs anywhere and everywhere. Not to mention, it’ll add an extra level of excitement to your kayaking experience.
What is the cost of kayaking in Toronto?
Kayaking in Toronto is surely a fun and best outdoor activity to unwind and explore the beauty of nature while enjoying nature and stunning surroundings located on the shoreline of water. However, any outdoor sport including kayaking does come with a cost.
And in this section, I’ll walk you through what is the cost of kayaking in Toronto and how much you need to pay while kayaking.
One of the first things that determine the cost of kayaking in Toronto is the type of kayak you own or want to rent. There are many different types of kayaks available in the market ranging from small kayaks, lightweight kayaks, recreational kayaks and a lot more.
Simply put, a more advanced version kayak loaded with features will surely rise the cost of kayaking in Toronto. For example, if you are renting a stand-up fishing kayak, then your cost of the kayak will go up to $500 per day and might be more as well.
Apart from the cost of the kayak, some other costs are also taken into consideration while kayaking in Toronto. This includes the cost of kayaking items like PFD jackets, paddles for rowing, kayak deth and fish finder, dry storage bags, coolers and a lot more. All these accessories and gears can increase the cost of kayaking by $500.
FAQs About Kayaking In Toronto
Kayaking in Toronto can be safe as long as you follow proper safety precautions and use common sense. It is important to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. You should also check the weather forecast and avoid kayaking in rough water or during storms.
There are several places where you can rent a kayak in Toronto, including: Toronto Island Canoe and Kayak Centre, Toronto Outdoor Adventure Rentals, Urban Kayak, Toronto Adventures and lot more.
Yes, there are several kayaking tour operators in Toronto that offer guided tours of the city’s waterways. Some popular options include Toronto Island Kayak Tour and the Toronto Harbourfront Kayak Tour.
Yes, the Toronto Islands are a popular destination for kayaking. There are several rental locations on the islands, including the Toronto Island Canoe and Kayak Centre. However, you should be aware that the water can be choppy at times, so it is important to follow proper safety precautions and be aware of your skill level.
Some items you should consider bringing on a kayaking trip in Toronto include: Personal flotation device (PFD), Sunscreen, Hat, Water, and Snacks. Dry bag for any valuables or electronics and First aid kit (optional but recommended)