Dip a paddle into one of Winnipeg’s many waterways and discover a new way to see the city filled with rushing rivers, abundant wildlife and hidden historical landmarks. It’s a must-do this summer.
Lucky for us, two major rivers run through Winnipeg with many surrounding tributaries perfect for beginners and seasoned paddlers alike. Literally covering all ends of the city and even meandering through downtown, we’ve put together a list of Winnipeg’s best spots to paddle along.
La Salle River
This slow-moving narrow river ends just outside of Winnipeg in St. Norbert before it spills into the Red River. A great spot for beginners, this rural waterway is packed with wildlife like great grey owls, bald eagles, beavers and more.
- Start from the shores of La Barriere Park located just minutes south of Winnipeg.
- Bring your tackle box and cast your fishing rod for Northern Pike, catfish, sauger and crappie along the way.
- Paddle beside the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park and see the remains of the monastery and church, now the Trappist Monastery Ruins.
Winnipeg’s largest river is fairly wide with a fast current in the spring and early summer. This river snakes its way south to north and cuts right through downtown, with many access points in parks throughout the city.
- Pull your canoe up to the dock at Kildonan Park and stop for a quick picnic by the flower garden.
- A perfect route for the dog days of summer: start from the dock at Maple Grove Park and you’ll paddle in between two popular off-leash dog parks.
- Put your boat in at the dock in Whittier Park and paddle underneath the Esplanade Riel toward The Forks.
This scenic narrow river runs throughout St. Vital and St. Boniface before emptying into the Red River, offering great paddles in spring and early summer.
- Paddle alongside the scenic Bois-des-Esprits trail and enjoy the views throughout this suburban forest in the south. Be sure to keep an eye out for deer, turtles and nesting birds along the way.
- Start at the banks of Morier Park and enjoy the views along the St. Boniface golf course.
Winnipeg’s second largest river runs from the west all the way to The Forks. This shallow river is best to paddle in the late summer and early fall, when there is less of a current. Better suited as a one-way route, so have a vehicle waiting for you at the end if possible.
- For a longer trek, start at Beaudry Park (a 15-minute drive outside of Winnipeg) and paddle east past St. Charles, the Assiniboine Park, Wolseley, all the way to The Forks harbour.
- For a shorter trek, put your canoe in beside the Assiniboine Park bridge. Don’t forget to grab an ice cream at Sargent Sundae first!
Running through St. James is one of the largest creeks in Winnipeg. This calm waterway is great for beginners.
- Put your kayak in from the shore along Crestview Park Drive or Sturgeon Creek Park.
- Paddle through the tall grass prairie and look for flowers, frogs and butterflies.
- Look out for Grant's Old Mill, which will provide dangerous rapids if it is running.
Oak Hammock Marsh
Hop into a canoe on your next visit to Oak Hammock Marsh and explore the marsh from within.
- Enjoy a self-guided canoe adventure while learning from the signs along the way as you paddle through the marsh’s nooks and crannies.
- Keep an eye out for goslings and ducklings.
Explore FortWhyte Alive’s five sheltered lakes by renting a canoe or kayak.
- Bring your own fishing rod and gear and enjoy some catch and release fishing. They’ll even provide a map with the best spots.
Note: FortWhyte Alive will offer canoe rentals and kayak programming again July 1, 2020.
No boat? No problem!
Here’s where you can rent from:
- Winnipeg Canoe Rentals: free pickups and returns, or rent your own trailer
- Wilderness Supply: rent canoes, kayaks and SUPs
- Splash Dash Canoe Rentals: rent a canoe right from The Forks
- Manitoba Canoe and Kayak Centre: offering lessons and drop-ins