Ottawa Magazine

The Keen Kayaker


“… [T]he whole art of cannaling” as an Irish emigrant sang in the 1800s ballad “Paddy on the Canal,” is truly by watercraft. The more experience­d paddler is advised to choose a kayak over a canoe, given the former’s ability to better handle rough conditions, especially on Big Rideau Lake, Upper Rideau Lake, Colonel By Lake, and the River Styx (the name of another place where you might end up if you don’t heed said advice!). Though much of the canal is along narrow channels, sometimes sheltered by surroundin­g foliage, there are some more open spots where winds can pick up, creating serious chop. Another recommenda­tion is to paddle from Kingston to Ottawa, given that the prevailing winds typically blow from the west/southwest.

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