As a Londoner, you know of the great outdoor spaces our Forest City has to offer. Under the canopy of old growth trees, London boasts lots of walking and biking trails, city parks, provincial parks, hiking trails, conservation areas and much more to be enjoyed by foot or bike.
How about the Thames River? By canoe or kayak, you’ll enjoy a totally different perspective of London. The Thames is often overlooked by city dwellers, and is a unique way to escape the busyness of the streets, parks and trails, where you can hardly tell you’re right downtown as you paddle through the centre of the city. This diverse ecosystem is filled with lots of wildlife that you’re sure to encounter along the way - including deer, foxes, herons, geese, bass, carp - just to name a few. To catch a glimpse of what paddling the Thames looks like, Dave Greene has YouTube videos highlighting the different branches, such as Veteran's Memorial through to Springbank Park. Ontario's Southwest "Paddling the Thames" is a great resource for different paddling routes you can take, with lots of information on access points, safety, camping and much more.
Established in 1970, The London Paddle Shop is the place to go for expert advice if you’re looking to purchase your first paddle boat. During the summer they host demo days at Fanshawe Conservation Area, giving you the opportunity to find the right fit for your needs and to learn more about navigating the Thames. If you’re not quite ready to make a purchase, canoes and kayaks are available for rent at Fanshawe Conservation area; however, they must remain within the boundaries of the conservation area. Costs are very reasonable - $30 for up to 4 hours, and $40 for longer than 4 hours (life jackets, paddles and emergency kit are included.) They are available on a first come, first serve basis, so be sure to get there early!
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) continuously monitors water levels, so be sure to check their real time flow data before heading out. Visit http://thamesriver.on.ca/ to learn more about UTRCA's conservation mandate, and how you can get involved. Always remember to leave our outdoor spaces better than you found them for all to enjoy. Happy Paddling!