Enviro Kayak
Credit: Enviro Kayak

Circumnavigate La Belle Isle

The Destination: You may not notice this when grinding through its traffic, but Montreal is an island, smack in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The main stem of the river runs down the south side, the Lachine Canal is along the north and the Ottawa River plays into the mix too. Islands are meant to be circumnavigated and while this is hard on most river islands because of the current, the water around Montreal is mostly placid, with little current. Floating also separates the paddler from the bustle of city life — the high-rise skyline takes on a different, gentler beauty. 

The Action: What keeps most people from completing this circuit is the difficulty in finding places to spend the night. Leave those kinds of details to Enviro Kayak, a local sea kayak company who works with the city to get permission to camp in municipal parks along the way. Starting in the Lachine Canal, this group-paddle follows the cozy confines of the canal to the open waters of Lac St. Louis and on to Lac des Deux-Montagnes on the Ottawa River. Portaging the Hydro Quebec Dam on Des Prairies River leads to the wide-open St. Lawrence and eventually back to the start in the canal.

The Details: September 18 to 21; $675; envirokayak.com

Explore Northern Labrador

The Destination: Few areas of Canada are as remote and wild as the north coast of Labrador. Along its saw-edge coastline, the East’s highest peaks drop into long-fingered fiords. Caribou, moose and polar bears rule the land while the water is full of whales.

The Action: Labrador Wild North Expeditions is one of the few operators running wilderness trips in this region. Based out of Nain, just about every one of their trips is to somewhere new, as they attempt to fill in the blanks along the labyrinth coastline by sea kayak and on foot.

The Details: Spring through early fall; varying prices; labradorwildnorthinfo@gmail.com

Winter Camping Done Right 

The Destination: Located at the base of the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario Winter Camping’s tipi and yurt accommodation is surrounded by more than 800 hectares of wilderness and is a short drive to the beauty ski trails of the peninsula between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.

The Action: Winter camping can be cold and tough, but here, it’s done right. Floors of the yurts and tipi are lined in fir boughs, a woodstove keeps thing comfy, a sauna is always on and staff are at your beck-and-call — ready with wine, food and coffee. By day, explore the local trails on ski or snowshoe, track wildlife with local expert Jeff Kinchen or head up the peninsula to classic ski destinations like Cabot Head Lighthouse.

The Details: All-inclusive, from $300 per couple per night; ontariowintercamping.com

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