Deep in Canada’s rugged landscapes, you can find people who love to rappel down waterfalls into the bowels of canyons. Still in its infancy here, canyoning (canyoneering) can include climbing, hiking and swimming or even ice climbing as part of the experience. Many adventure companies now offer canyoning trips — while it can be challenging, operators place an emphasis on safety, fun, fitness and aesthetics, which makes the sport appealing to a range of people. Prime canyoning locales include Jasper, Alberta and Charlevoix, Quebec.
Soar with the birds and glide across open water all under the power of a giant kite — that’s kitesurfing. Similar to surfing or wakeboarding but with greater freedom, kitesurfers are found across Canada — throughout the Great Lakes and particularly at The Spit in Squamish, BC. You must have a hankering for excitement, be moderately fit and be comfortable in the water in order to take on kitesurfing. Spring winds make it an ideal time to learn. Before fully committing, sign up for a lesson at your local kitesurfing school. If you are ready to get serious, buy a trainer kit and sign up for a multi-day camp. squamishkiteboardingschool.com
Whitewater kayaking usually spawns visions of extreme paddlers hurdling through cauldrons of churning whitewaters. Yet there is a treasure trove of choices within the sport to attract almost everyone. Courses can be found that tailor to different interests and abilities, whether teens or boomers, individuals or families. Learn how to paddle on quiet flat-water or test your skills on advanced rivers or in a slalom course. Join a weekend clinic or a five-day kayak/spa retreat. For the timid, an exhilarating trip with a guide in a duo kayak on the Ottawa (Ontario) or Kananaskis Rivers (Alberta) might just be the ticket. whitewater.ca
When high volumes of fast-moving water become constrained by boundaries such as boulders, standing waves occur. Facing upstream, a surfer catches the wave, using balance to fight the opposing forces of the current and gravity. Surfers stay in place but feel like they are moving. Rivers can disguise hazards so you must be a strong swimmer; take a lesson and go with a friend. Aside from at well-known spots in Montreal (Habitat 67) and Calgary (near the 10th Street Bridge) as well as on the Lower Kananaskis River (near Canmore, Alberta), river surfing mainly flies under the radar in Canada. riversurfing.ca; surfmtl.com
Although there are no national organizations in Canada, cave exploration here is older than the country itself. Cavers are a dedicated bunch and major clubs can be found in most provinces. Whether it’s Castleguard Caves in Banff (our longest) or lesser-known Warsaw Cave Conservation Area near Peterborough, Ontario, there are numerous caves in Canada waiting to be discovered and charted. Passageways, ancient calcite formations and the fragile beauty found within cave environments attract many cavers — and in spring, be prepared to get wet. Some relish the solitude while others enjoy the thrill of a new discovery or the teamwork and technical challenges that caving offers. cancaver.ca; ontariocaves.com;
You don’t have to live near Canada’s surfing meccas of Tofino, BC or Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia, to be a surfer. Surfing communities exist everywhere, including The Great Lakes; Kincardine on Lake Huron or Port Colborne on Lake Erie, where the Wyldewood Surf Club has been surfing since the 1960s. Hurricane season on the East Coast lures both devotees and brave novices to places like Ingonish Beach in Cape Breton. The Bay of Fundy’s Tidal Bores move tonnes of seawater each day, providing thrills for surfers. Further west, Sturgeon Falls near Winnipeg or Campbell River and Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island have surfing scenes. Cox Bay, Nootka Island, Bluffers, Alona Bay and Cow Bay, also on Vancouver Island scratch the surface of Canada’s surf spots.