National Canoe Day
Listen up, paddlers! National Canoe Day is fast approaching, and while June 26th may be the designated day for our country to honour the great watercraft, lots of events are being held this weekend on June 23rd and 24th. Clearly, us Canadians love to paddle. When the canoe was named one of the Seven Wonders of Canada in 2007, the Canadian Canoe Museum took it one step further by founding National Canoe Day. As one of the Seven Wonders judges pronounced years ago: "Without the canoe, Canada wouldn't have been explored and developed," and "It still provides the perfect way to explore Canada and marvel at the natural wonders that still exist off the beaten path." Here are just a few great ways to celebrate not only an iconic feature in the Canadian consciousness, but some great water sports, too.


Day of a Thousand Canoes

What: As the name suggests, this day is as much about community as it is about canoes. By working alongside organizations such as Haldimand County Tourism, Grand River Access Programs, First Nations, and the Fast Water Fast Friends initiative, Day of a Thousand Canoes is meant to create awareness regarding the natural beauty of the region, while also promoting tourism, encouraging conservation, and becoming a role model for other communities. You can canoe, kayak, row, or even hike along the Grand River's shoreline. A nice leisurely paddle may take as long as three hours, but in this event, you can take as long as you like. After spending some time on one of Southern Ontario's most sought after paddling destinations, there's time for food, drink, live music and socializing at the post-paddle party.

When: Saturday June 23, 2012, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Along the Grand River from the Caledonia Fairgrounds to Conway Park in Cayauga, Ontario

Cost: $15 per person, plus $30 per water vessel. Price includes festival pass, shuttle bus, event T-shirt, coffee and mug, canoe and kayak loading and unloading, and all-day parking.


National Canoe Day Peterborough

What: All things canoeing. Head down to the park for a little paddling; you can bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one there, which will include a collection of heritage canoes. For those who are looking for a bit of education on this national treasure, there will be demonstrations in marathon canoe racing, paddle carving, and other artisan crafts related to the sport. Not only is this event free, you can also score some free parking at the King Street Parkade, located between George Street and Louis Street.

When: Saturday June 23, 2012, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Millenium Park, Peterborough, Ontario

Cost: Free


MEC Paddlefest

What: Whether you plan to attend in Calgary, Edmonton, Burlington or Barrie this weekend, MEC Paddlefest is just that—a festival of all things paddling. While each of the locations offer something a little bit different, a few things you can expect to find at each of these locations over the weekend are gear swaps, on-water and on-land clinics—teaching you to boat, paddleboard, survive in the wilderness, slackline, and more—demos, live entertainment, food and prizes. Not able to celebrate in time for National Canoe Day? MEC Paddlefest is also held on later dates throughout the summer in cities including Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver and Victoria.

When: Saturday June 23, 2012 and Sunday June 24, 2012, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Centennial Beach, Barrie, Ontario; Kelso Conservation Area, Burlington, Ontario; Carburn Park, Calgary, Alberta; Rundle Park, Edmonton, Alberta.

Cost: Varied according to location.