Photo by Yolanda

Paddle the French River

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Once playing a vital role in Canadian history by linking the east and west during the couple centuries of the fur trade, the French River is now known for the spectacular recreation it provides, including wilderness kayaking. Located in central Ontario, the river provides prime kayaking through a 105-km span of interconnecting lakes, gorges, and rapids, which run from Lake Nipissing to the river’s mouth at Georgian Bay. Paddlers can spend hours weaving through the intimate collection of channels and lakes, bays and marshes, rapids and falls.

The French River spans a long region in central Ontario, so depending on where you put in, you may find yourself near one of a few provincial parks, such as French River Provincial Park, Grundy Lake Provincial Park, and Mashkinonje Provincial Park, all of which provide great hiking opportunities, as well as some chances for swimming, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Amenities: Along the river there are more than 200 marked interior campsites.

How to get there: While you can put your kayak in at countless locations, French River Provincial Park is a good place to start, since the visitor centre can offer you helpful information and maps. To get there, follow Highway 400 north from Toronto or Highway 69 south from Sudbury, exiting at Golf Course Road, which will lead you to the park and river.

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