The Don River is one of Toronto’s most important watersheds, and the Paddle the Don event is held every spring that brings together businesses, conservationists, and recreational enthusiasts in support of the ongoing preservation efforts. Now in its 26th year, hundreds of paddlers took their canoes and kayaks down the river to raise funds for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and its environmental initiatives. It’s a great opportunity to experience the city from a unique perspective, and higher water levels during spring make some sections more navigable than during other times of the year. Besides, after hiking the Don Valley it only makes sense to paddle the river too!
Launching from Ernest Thompson Seton Park near the Ontario Science Centre, the 10.5-kilometer route takes you through slow meandering sections combined with a few exciting rapids and shallow areas. Unlike the Humber River, you do need to pay attention to rocks and other obstacles, but nothing too challenging. There are two “portages” around some small dams and fast moving water, and as the river widens towards Lake Ontario, it becomes a leisurely trip on a perfectly sunny Sunday. The take-out point is the newly opened Corktown Common of the West Don Lands at the base of Bayview Avenue.
With over 700 participants and 300 boats, this is a great way to enjoy an authentic urban paddling experience while raising funds and awareness for watershed conservation efforts in Canada’s largest city.