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Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

Do you want to be part of a canoeing adventure that follows the path of Canada’s early fur traders?

With Canada’s 150th birthday looming large, Naturally Superior Adventures is offering six back to back canoeing trips in a 36 foot long Voyageur canoe along a stretch of Lake Superior’s northern shoreline beginning on July 3rd. The route follows the coastline the fur traders would have paddled 200 years ago. This summer the route will become part of the 24,000 kilometre Trans-Canada Trail as it receives official designation as the Lake Superior Water Trail.

The first paddling brigade starts in Sinclair Cove in Lake Superior Provincial Park and finishes on August 19th at Old Fort William in Thunder Bay.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

The canoe route on Lake Superior

There are six sections, each with its own focus whether it be First Nations, Canadian art, music, explorers, voyageurs or culture. The beauty of this trip, along with picking a section that most appeals to you is that you don’t have to be an expert or even an intermediate paddler. All of these trips can be paddled by beginners. There is strength in numbers. Each voyageur canoe is 36 feet long (11 metres), five feet wide and can hold 12 – 14 paddlers along with all their gear.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

All hands needed

What do the paddling sections look like?

Section One – Spirit of Superior: Superior Cove to Michipicoten Island

Start in Lake Superior Provincial Park and 80 kilometres and six days later end on Michipicoten Island. I spent a week kayaking around Michipicoten Island in 2011 and can tell you it’s a very special place with gorgeous beaches, lots of history and the possibility of seeing the rare albino woodland caribou. The guest host on this section is Kevin Callan, author of The Happy Camper (and 14 other books) and a regular contributor to Explore Magazine.

Section Two- The Big Wild: Wawa to Marathon via Pukaskwa National Park

Paddle 180 kilometres along a coastline unchanged by time. Expect fantastic campsites, incredible beaches and solitude. I spent five days hiking the Coastal Trail through Pukaskwa National Park with Lake Superior as my constant companion. The landscape is nothing short of stunning. On this trip enjoy the company of special guest Becky Mason, the daughter of Bill Mason who is working to carry on the legacy of her legendary father – a filmmaker, canoeist extraordinaire, artist and environmentalist.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

What the canoe looks like once its packed

Section 3 – Lawren Harris Country: Marathon to Rossport

From July 22 – 28th canoe 120 kilometres along one of the rarely paddled stretches of Lake Superior coastline. Enjoy the beauty of the rugged coastline, “stark islands and hardscrabble northern villages.” The guest host on this trip is Michael Burtch, the retired director and curator of the Art Gallery of Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

Canoeing on open water on Lake Superior

Section 4 – The Singing Wilderness: Rossport to Red Park

From July 30 – August 4th canoe 75 kilometres paddle through the island dotted waters of western Lake Superior. This section will have a big focus on music so bring your instruments with you. Enjoy remote campsites on agate rich beaches.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

The canoe serves many functions – including cooking shelter

Section 5 – Beacons on a Lonely Shore: Red Rock to Silver Islet

Paddle a total of 75 kilometres among lonely islands and imagine what it was like when the fog rolled in and you were out with no navigational aids. On this trip visit some of the early lighthouses. Enjoy the company of guest host Darrell Makin – the co-author of “Paddlers Guide to Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.”

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

Beautiful beach stops along the shores of Lake Superior

Section 6 – En Route to the Great Rendezvous: Silver Islet to Thunder Bay

Join guest host singer-songwriter Rodney Brown and paddle 75 kilometres. The route takes you past the rugged coastline of Pie, Thompson and Victoria Islands before you reach the open waters beneath the 300 metre cliffs of the Sleeping Giant. Then it’s on into Thunder Bay and the end of a remarkable journey.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

Paddling the calm waters of Lake Superior

What is included with each voyageur paddling trip?

Every 6 – 10 day trip includes all your meals and transportation to and from the start and end points. Your personable guide is certified in wilderness first aid, knows what it means to lead and can cook a tasty meal in the wilderness. All group cooking, eating, sanitation, communication, safety and first aid gear is provided along with a tent.

What you need to bring: A sleeping bag, a sleeping pad and a sense of humour is always welcome.

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday on a Voyageur Style Canoe Trip

Stop at one of the beautiful beaches on Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior – on our kayaking trip

How do you sign up?

You can send David at Naturally Superior Adventures an email at info@naturallysuperioradventures.com (Tell him Leigh sent you.) Alternatively you can phone their office at 1-800-203-9092. A deposit of 20% holds your spot. If you sign up for two or more sections you receive 10% off. Most of the trips are $1546 pp. The longer trip is $2246 pp.

Dave asked if I’d write this post and I agreed for a couple of reasons. The Lake Superior landscape is a thing of beauty. It’s like nowhere else in Canada. It can be wild and unpredictable but also dead calm and mellow. There’s not a beach I didn’t love both on my Michipicoten Island kayaking trip and my backpacking trip in Pukaskwa National Park. I did do the kayaking trip with Naturally Superior Adventures (as a private, paying client) so I know they’re a great organization. The food is first rate and the guides are amazing. Everyone we encountered was friendly – but also very knowledgeable when it came to the wilderness. The fact you don’t have to be a strong paddler is huge – and hanging out with some seriously talented guest hosts is a real bonus.

You can also visit their website for more detailed information.

What are you doing in the summer of 2017?

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Rob Finley says:

    Wow these trips look awesome! Unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch that far so this summer I am sticking to paddling mainly the River Wye in the UK. Maybe I can join you on one of these trips in 2018 :-)

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