Canoe & Kayak Paddle Sports
Campers will be introduced to the different paddle disciplines of canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) in this exciting program. Campers will receive instruction in paddling techniques, equipment function and water safety. What a fun way to explore the waterways of Toronto’s inner harbour and our Toronto Islands!
What to bring to Canoe & Kayak Camps
Campers will be spending the majority of their time outdoors and on the water. Please review these list of items to bring and not bring to camp each day.
- Refillable water bottle
- Sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 or above
- Brimmed hat – baseball cap, bucket hat, Panama hat, etc.
- Sunglasses with UVA & UVB protection
- Soft-soled water shoes – closed toe shoes are best, but sandals are also acceptable
- Spare set of dry clothes
- A waterproof jacket/rain jacket – even on sunny days
- A bathing suit and towel
- Lunch and snacks – if your camper is on the meal plan, we still recommend you send snacks on the first day to ensure camper satiety.
- Extra bag for wet clothes
- Floating eyeglass strap
- Most sunglasses and glasses sink without one
- Transport Canada approved lifejacket/PFD – we provide each camper with one but your child is welcome to bring their own
- Waterproof case for electronics – campers will take all their belongings onto the boat with them
- Money – unless necessary for after camp
- Electronics and other valuables
- Heavy cotton fabrics – they are slow to dry and can lead to camper discomfort in hot temperatures
- Flip flops – not safe for running and do not provide adequate foot protection
- Glass containers for water and food
Please label all of your camper’s items with first and last names to ensure that they are returned to you, should something go missing. Campers who use their own equipment will have it checked by instructors prior to use.
Please leave all unnecessary valuables (phones, game systems, etc.) at home. If bringing these to camp is a must, invest in a waterproof container such as a pelican box or dry bag for protection. Bring at own risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your question about Canoe & Kayak Camps isn’t answered here, please contact us.
All our campers are required to wear life jackets when near or on the water. Additionally, our camp groups each have an Instructor with Bronze Medallion certification should your child need assistance.
At the start of each week, Instructors go over safe boat boarding and exiting, as well as steps to take if someone was to fall in. Any deliberate swimming activities will be optional.
All campers in our marine programs are provided with a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while at camp. The proper use of the PFD is strictly enforced when near or on the water.
Your camper is welcome to bring their own PFD as long as it meets current weight ratio requirements.
Camp runs rain or shine. On rainy days, we will plan on being on the water provided that wind and weather conditions are safe. In the occurrence of thunder/lightning and/or other severe weather, the camp day will be conducted indoors or in sheltered outdoor areas. Please make sure your child has proper rain gear to keep warm and dry.
All of our Instructors have valid First Aid and CPR certifications. There is also an in-house healthcare staff employed by Harbourfront Centre. We consider any accident seriously, whether minor or major, and coordinate injuries via an Emergency Action Plan, which involves regular staff training to keep incidences to a minimum. Paddling comes with inherent risks, but we do keep parent contact details on hand and usually only have to deal with minor cuts and scrapes.
There is no guarantee that a canoe or kayak will not capsize while on the water, but fortunately, Lake Ontario conditions minimize the chances of this happening. Safety is our number one priority and our Instructors are all trained in rescuing capsized boats. Unless stated in the course syllabus, your child will not take part in a controlled or scheduled capsize. Although at times there is a stigma with capsizing – we can assure you it is actually a lot of fun!
There are two options for lunch at while at camp. Either a packed lunch is brought from home to camp each day or campers sign up for a meal plan for an additional cost. Please do not give your camper money for lunch, as they will not be able to leave site to purchase items. In addition to lunch break, campers are given time to eat snacks to maintain their energy levels. We recommend providing one or two along with their lunch.
We constantly monitor our water quality by looking at the Toronto swim guide recommendations. These recommendations are done by the Toronto Water Keepers by testing the water directly in the Rees Slip as well as other locations in the Harbour. Usually, our rating from the swim guide is better than most other areas of the Harbour, but even with this higher rating we are cautious of our children being in direct contact with the water. If water quality is less than ideal, we will modify our programming.
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