What better way to celebrate summer in a lakeside city than to get out on the water? You and your kids can learn, rent, and tour on canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and even Voyageur canoes at locations throughout the city and the Toronto Islands.
You can also sign up for cool paddling camps, to get kids up to speed before you get out on the water together. So grab a kid or two, head to the waterfront, and do some paddling!
Despite flooding this summer, the Toronto Islands are accessible to participants on all booked trips mentioned here.
Lessons, Rentals, and Tours
If you’re ready and raring to go, there are a number of companies that provide lessons, rentals, and tours for canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. Get on board and make your summer really count.
Kids ages 4 and up can take a trip in a Voyageur canoe. These historic canoes can hold up to 20 people. Do a 30-minute paddle around the harbour or a 2½-hour tour to the Toronto Islands, stopping on Centre Island for an hour.
Voyageur rides are a great way to get kids used to being on the water, while being in a sturdier, larger vessel. All the tours include a paddle, life jacket, and tour guide, and are also available as sunset and full-moon tours.Location: Harbourfront, Downtown Toronto (283 Queens Quay W.)
Prices: From $10 to $30 a person, depending on the tour
The Complete Paddler
A store as well as a lesson and tour provider, The Complete Paddler focuses on kayak lessons and tours though they also rent canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks. You can do an in-pool course or outdoor lake lessons.
Some of their tours, such as their Humber River or sunset tours require a parent or guardian to be with children under 14. Otherwise, the only requirement is that kids must be able to fit into the kayaks.Locations: various locations
Prices: $120 for most tours and lessons
Children of all ages and their parents can stand-up paddleboard around the Scarborough Bluffs, with the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, on Paddleboard Addict’s most popular tour. They also offer lessons.
There’s no minimum age, but the company recommends that younger children paddle with an adult. Tours include a guide, paddleboard, paddle, life jacket, dry bag, and photo, and include a Sunset Paddle and a Night Light SUP.Locations: Scarborough Bluffs and The Beach
Prices: From $40 for beginner classes and group lessons to $80 for private lessons for $80
With Supgirlz, you and your child to learn to paddleboard together in a one-hour private class. They also teach lessons and classes and rent to paddleboarders ages 10 years and up. All paddleboarders, male and female, are welcome to try out this fun, physical sport.Locations: Kew-Balmy Beach and Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club
Prices: From $25 for a 1-hour rental, to $300 for a 5-week class series for $300– $350
Explore the Humber River by canoe with your kids—or your dog! Toronto Adventures provides a regular or large canoe—accommodating either 2 adults and 1 kid or 2 adults and 3 kids—with paddles, life jackets, and all other equipment you need. There is a safety orientation prior to the trip and staff to get you on your way. And they also throw in a Toronto Adventures membership (normally $19.95) for free!
You can rent for 2 hours, or take advantage of the 1½-hour guided tour and learn about the river and its wildlife. Toronto Adventures also provides stand-up paddleboard rentals and lessons at Sunnyside Beach.Location: Humber River/Etobicoke (near Old Mill subway station)
Prices: From $20 to $70 per boat, depending on day and size of vessel
Toronto Beach Kayak
In the heart of The Beach, Toronto Beach Kayak rent kayaks by day and hour for all ages. For first-timers, their 1-hour beginner lesson includes an on-land lesson and a guided paddle. Whether you’re renting or taking a guided excursion (on which you can learn about local landmarks and history), you need to make sure your children can swim, are accompanied by competent adult paddlers, the conditions are suitable for young ones, and you bring age-appropriate life jackets.Location: Kew Beach/The Beaches
Prices: From $40 for a beginner lesson in a group of 3+ to $400 for a tandem kayak season pass
Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre
For ages 13 and up, there are lots of options here: tours and lessons in kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboard are offered for adults and kids ages 13–15 with a parent and 16 and up without. Also available are rescue courses, evening or weekend classes, and paddling certifications—all while exploring the 13 islands of the Toronto Island Archipelago.Location: Harbourfront, Downtown Toronto (Queens Quay W. and Rees St.)
Prices: From $75 for a stand-up paddleboard introduction class or tandem kayak tour to close to $500 for a 5-session kayak value package
Toronto Island SUP
Kids SUP and Surf is a drop-off class for ages 8–12, in which they can learn or improve paddle boarding skills. Scheduled every Thursday, 4:30–5:30, it introduces kids to the water and to the equipment, then they spend as much quality time on the water as possible.
Parents and kids, alike can join the Toronto Island SUP Eco-tour, every Sunday (10 am–noon), and paddle through the lagoons of Toronto Islands, exploring nature and discovering hidden enclaves of diverse plants and wildlife. And no experience is necessary! Classes are a maximum of 8 people, and both classes and the tour must be booked in advance.Location: Wards Island, Toronto Islands
Prices: Kids SUP and Surf $20, Eco-tour $85
WSUP Toronto caters to anyone 12 years of age and up who is interested in stand-up paddleboarding. If the water is calm they may accept younger children on a case-by-case basis.
Life jackets, leashes, and wetsuits (if needed) are provided for their lessons and rentals, which are offered seven days a week.Location: Kew Beach (next to Kew Gardens Tennis Club)
Prices: From $25 for a 1-hour rental to $300 for a season pass at $300; private lessons are $80 each
You may want to get your kids used to being on a boat or board by sending them to a specialized camp. Here are a couple of options
The Balmy Beach Canoe Club Sports Camp
For kids eager to learn how to canoe and kayak, The Balmy Beach Canoe Club’s half-day camps allow them to develop the skills needed to become confident paddlers. Children take part in land-based games and activities and take to the water to improve (or acquire) their abilities in paddling a canoe, kayak, and war canoe.Ages: 8–13
Location: Ashbridges Bay
Toronto Island Canoe Club Summer Day Camp
Kids interested in canoeing can try out one of two camps: Explorers and Adventurers focuses on water safety skills, recreational canoe skills, and an intro to mini-kayak for the 7- to 9-year-olds. And Voyageur Ultimates (ages 10–13) works on tandem and solo canoe manoeuvres, boat rescue, and trip preparation, and provides an introduction to sprint racing using racing canoes and kayaks.Ages: 7–13
Location: Wards Island, Toront Islands