With a SUP camping trip planned again I thought I had better get out on the water and get my hands calloused up and ready to paddle. I tend to go down to the Toronto Harbourfront and rent a SUP from the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre. They are easy to get to by bike or public transit, their staff always friendly, prices reasonable and their boards are decent (recreational, planing boards).
Renting through the HFC&K limits you to paddle within the Inner Harbour (between the Eastern and Western gaps) and among the Islands. Gets a little dull after a while, but either live with those limitations or buy a board of my own, which I just can’t see doing right now…
So my usual route is straight across to the Hanlan’s Ferry Terminal then, depending on the wind, I either head straight into the Long Pond, or stay on the Harbour side of the islands and head over to Ward Island. On occasion I’ll follow the shore past the Queen’s Quay Terminal towards Cherry St, before crossing the Harbour, but here’s how the route looked on this rather cloudy day:
If you want to zoom in then click on the link to the map itself:
I followed the north shore of the islands with the wind at my back. Around the 4km mark I turned into Ward Island. There is a very quiet beach, next to the ferry terminal, that has a great view of Toronto’s downtown. There is also a little cafe nearby if you want some food or refreshments. I stopped to fill my water bottle, snap a picture and was soon on my way.
I left the Harbour behind and cut in past the Queen City Yacht club, paddling out of the wind, between Ward Island and Algonquin Island.
Here’s another view, this time from between Snake and Algonquin Islands.
Obviously I wasn’t in a huge hurry to complete my 10km route. I hopped off again at Snake Island for a quick stroll. This is my favorite spot on the islands. You can kind of forget that you’re in the big city at this point.
There were plenty of raspberry bushes on Snake Island as well, and I was in luck, a few berries remained.
The view from Snake Island.
So that was it for this day, my 3rd SUP outing of the season. I made my way west, down the rest of the channel, through the Long Pond, around Mugg Island and back out into the Harbour. Even with a few stops this loop took just 2h20min.
SUP rentals are popping up all over the place, in every town with a waterfront, making it very easy and accessible. If you’re new to paddling, most rental locations offer lessons as well. So get out there already!
Hope to see you on the water.