Want to paddle Canada’s rivers without the hassle of arranging the shuttles, meals, and accommodation? Join the Madawaska Kanu Centre’s Week of Rivers Program, designed to introduce intermediate and advanced canoeists and kayakers to its founders’ favorite river runs. This year their team of top-notch instructors will lead trips sampling some of the country’s best whitewater in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
“We know and love these rivers and wish to share them through five days of paddling the best these areas have to offer,” says school co-owner Claudia van Wijk, who, with husband Dirk, took over the reins of the company in 1988. “It’s a great way to sample some of the best whitewater up here.”
Guests are accompanied by MKC instructors, with trip logistics pre-arranged so you can focus on your paddling. Accommodations range from Bed & Breakfasts to Air B&Bs along each route.
With rivers visited depending on water levels, possible rivers in Quebec and Ontario include sections of the Madawaska and Petawawa, Middle or Main Channel of the Ottawa, the Gatineau, the Upper Rouge, Desert, Ouareau or the Lower Lievre River. Possible rivers in British Columbia, on a trip led by Van Wijk’s daughter, Katrina, include the Mamquam, Cheakamus, Elaho, Ashlu, Callaghan, Bridge, Lions Bay, Stein, Gun and Thompson Rivers.
“There are a ton of great rivers, all within an easy drive,” says Katrina, herself a world-renowned kayaker. “We used to run the BC trip years ago, so it will be great showing people these great rivers again. But it’s all rain dependent, so the itinerary is flexible.”
“And they’re a lot more luxurious than our kids camps,” she adds. “I’m excited for it…I love showing people this area.”