If you are looking for some fun on a river a one hour drive from Toronto then Canoeing the Grand River is perfect. The Grand River from Cambridge to Paris offers a fast current and standing waves in some sections.
Some weekends the local conservation authority partially opens up the dam upstream so that the tourists can play in the rapids at a local park. Downstream where we are the higher water level is are noticed about the time we are launching and if it rained during the week the level can be expected to be even higher.
Although surrounded by farmland along the river itself all you see is the forested hills on either side along with plenty of birds as you paddle along. One side of the river also has a bike path but the cyclists cannot be seen amidst the trees.
This is a wide river always with a fast current and standing waves. The advantage for those with the inflatable kayaks is that there are plenty of rocks on this river the they just slide off. If the water levels are really high we tend to float over most of them (but never all of them). No so for the hard shell kayaks and canoes.
Every so often there are standing waves and we have to steer among the rocks which is tougher for those in the canoes. Last time out one of the canoes hit a rock and tipped. Already downstream we were able to retrieve the belonging that floated down in the current. Also this is a busy river so there are plenty of others in canoes, rafts and kayaks should anyone get into trouble.
I find it is always more fun to paddle (actually the current pulls us) as a group with others to talk with at our lunch stop along the river bank or when a bunch of us gather together on the river forming one big raft.
Wherever you live although you may kayak solo consider joining a club for a better experience. Another benefit of a group kayakers is that different people led the trips and I am frequently introduced to new rivers I most likely would not have traveled on. Even if you are fishing it is always better to have another kayak so they can take a picture when you catch that big fish.
Click here for other canoe adventures. The Grand River is just one of many where you can have a great day on the water and you are sure to have company.