Smiths Falls by Rabaska Canoe
A Rabaska Canoe is any large canoe that can seat two paddlers abreast. This one measures 26 feet and has four double seats, plus a bow seat for one. COVID requirements will dictate seating arrangements for up to 9 people (of the same social circle).
Choose a canoe tour that suits your schedule, fitness level and interests. We will explore natural history, wetland ecosystems, first contact, and the Fur Trade ... all in the Heart of the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
Tour days are necessarily flexible, subject to weather conditions, crew and canoe availability. Let's plan a mutually agreeable date and time for your made-to-order tour.
** “Child” means 12 and under, down to whoever can fit in our PFDs, or can provide their own.
Swale Tour around Peril Island and Waterways
Length: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: Adult $20 / Child $12
Meet at the Bascule Bridge and embark on an exploration of The Swale - a Class 1 Wetland upstream of Smiths Falls, ON. Enjoy the big skies and breezes on the open water, and the possibility of some stunning wildlife, as our costumed guides add some mystery to the natural history of the Rideau Canal Waterway. This tour promises to change the way you look at the Rideau Canal and the surrounding wetlands.
Half-Day Wetland Tour
Swale Tour: Bascule Bridge to Poonamalie Lockstation and Back
Length: 3-4 hours
Cost: Adult: $40 / Child $30
Our route will take us from the historic Bascule Bridge through The Swale, a Class 1 Wetland, then upstream to the picturesque Poonamalie Lockstation. Exploration and interpretation throughout the tour will include natural, technological and cultural history, including the life of the Voyageurs and Canada’s First Peoples. This route usually brings with it an abundance of beautiful (and some rare) wildlife to see! This promises to be a memorable and energizing experience for all.
Urban Wilderness Tour
Lower Reach Park to Edmonds Lock and Back
Length: 2-2.5 hours
Cost: Adult: $25 / Child $15
Get the best of both worlds - natural and urban environments - as we explore a mix of developed and undeveloped shoreline on the Rideau River. We paddle through the twin locks of Old Slys Lockstation, duck under the active railway bridge and head downstream for Otter Creek, into the large wetland. We are bound to see some wildlife and will understand the engineering marvel that is the Rideau Canal, when we disembark to explore the weir and waterfall at Edmonds' Lock.
Bascule Bridge to Lower Reach Park through locks
Length: 1.5-2 hours depending on lock schedule
Option for a shorter 1 hour tour with lower prices
Cost: Adult: $25 / Child: $15
Departing from the unique, picturesque Bascule Bridge, join us for a paddle through 2 lock systems, including the tallest lock on the Rideau River, then down-river into the Lower Reach. Your costumed guide will interpret the heritage and natural history of Smiths Falls and the Rideau Canal and regale you with tales of the Voyageurs of old.
By Lower Reach Park, to Combined Lockstation, and Back
Length: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: Adults: $20 / Child: $10
What a great double-date! Meander around the open water of Lower Reach and explore its treasures: the old double lock, the foot of the falls, lily pads and lovely lawns… pause for great sunset shots at Lower Reach Park. Bring your bug-juice and your camera for this perfect top-up to a summer day.
You will be greeted by your Paddle Canada-certified Big Canoe Leader – a Gouvernail in Voyageur costume.
You will be asked to sign a waiver, if you have not already signed one virtually. A separate waiver will need to be signed for children. Anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult and be able to sit unaided and fit a small life jacket. - Click here to view our waiver for adults. --- Click here to view our waiver for minors. -
You will be fitted with a PFD/Life Jacket. If you have your own PFD, you are more than welcome to bring it with you.
You will be supplied a paddle and given instruction in the four basic paddling strokes that we will put to use on our tour: forward, reverse, draw, and pry
We will brief everyone on safety requirements and procedures and what to expect on the tour.
We will introduce you to the voyageur canoe. The 26-foot canoe, also known as the Montreal Canoe, is stable and roomy. There is plenty of room for bags and well-behaved dogs.
We will load the canoe from the dock or the canal wall at a lockstation. Please let us know in advance if anyone in your party has mobility issues, so we can accommodate accordingly.
We will set off on our tour. The excitement begins!
Please ensure that you have drinking water, snacks and sun protection, as well as any protection you might need against seasonal insects.
Please dress for the weather: tours will proceed rain or shine, but if the wind is too high or there is a hint of an electrical storm, we will need to reschedule. If a storm comes up when we are on the water, we stop and disembark.