Sports & Recreation / April 24, 2021

Our top picks for boating on the best Canadian lakes

Our top picks for boating on the best Canadian lakes

Float your boat in the Fraser Valley

We have scoured the maps to find our top picks for boating on the best Canadian Lakes. Many people in BC think about boating on the ocean, but there is so many fantastic lakes throughout BC. Did you know BC has over 20,000 lakes? BC lakes are clean, peaceful and uncongested; a perfect combination for new boaters to stay physical distanced. Unlike the ocean, where you have to think about tides, turbulent water, objects in the water, and lots of traffic, lakes are a great way to start your boating adventures.

Stave Lake located just 60 minutes from Vancouver, is a hidden gem. This is a beautiful lake perfect for small craft of all kinds – motor and human powered.  It was created in 1921 when BC Hydro dammed the Stave River. The lake can be accessed by Dewdney Trunk Road, it’s well sheltered by surrounding high mountains, with clear channel markers to direct you out of the river into the lake.

Most people in BC are familiar with Harrison Hot Springs Resort, but the lake is the jewel of the area.  Harrison Lake – it is wide, deep and 77 miles long – is ideal for power boating, sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding; canoeing and kayaking. You can access the lake by Harrison Hot Springs and in  Sasquatch Park at Green Point. Get a map and explore Rainbow Falls on the east side in Cascade Bay, and Long Island on the west side, a favourite secluded camping spot complete with swing, BBQ pit and outhouse. It is the  perfect weekend getaway with lots of cool little beaches, where you can just drop anchor and camp.

Ruby Lake, Pender Harbour BC

As the name implies, Ruby Lake is a true gem, and one of the best Canadian lakes. Hidden in the middle of Pender Harbour this long narrow lake is home to many fly or boat in only cabins. It is surrounded by wilderness and wildlife but close to the Ruby Lake Resort, Egmont and Madeira Park if you need supplies or want to hang out with the locals. The views from The Grasshopper pub are fantastic and hit a day when the locals do their meat lotteries!

A 466 ha. body of water, Ruby Lake has a mean depth of 171 ft. In the summer it is very popular for fishers, canoeists, kayakers, and anyone who loves to be around water. This lake is home to a productive supply of Kokanee and Cutthroat Trout.

The lake has a  boat launch at Dan Bosch Park for water-skiing, tubing, fishing or simply cruising in your motorized craft. The lake is multi-use so best to keep speeds in check. Well in the area check out the The Iris Griffith Centre  and hike to the Skookumchuck Rapids to see the fantastic kayakers taking on the rapids. It is truly a unique event. Check out this great drone video.

The never ending lake country of Ontario

We all know that Ontario is popular for lake country, but did you know that Ontario contains about one-fifth of the world’s fresh water in more than 250,000 lakes!  In fact, according to Canada has more lakes than the rest of the entire world combined. Now that is impressive.

With the abundance of fresh water there is no lack of places to social distance while you cruise, water ski, fish or just float. But a few hidden gems are our our list to share.

Flowerpot Island, Georgian Bay

Flowerpot Island is indisputably one of the hidden gems in Ontario.  If you want to see the entire island, which is not very big -plan on about four hours. This  natural wonder of the “flowerpot” rock pillars, caves, historic light station and rare plants is a joy to explore.

Located in the Fathom Five National Marine Park, this small island features unique rock  is a great place to relax, or hike and even camp out overnight.  You can depart from the popular Tobermory in the Bruce Peninsula to arrive at this natural marvel. The trip is approximately 6.5 km.

to make the most of the day make sure you have sturdy footwear, weather appropriate clothing, water and snacks as there are not food or potable water.  Also there is not garbage facilities so plan to carry out anything you bring in.  Most national parks and historic sites charge entry and service fees.

Cruising Lake Nippising

Lake Nipssing is a massive lake, almost 65 km long. It has many towns dotting its shore and is a fisherman’s haven. However the lake is shallow for its size with an average depth 4.5 m and the maximum depth of 52 m (71 ft.)  found at the mouth of the French River.  But with the variations in this lake it is great for all types of boating, fishing, waterskiing and swimming as the water warms up fast and there are many sandy beaches.

Lake Nipissing presents an unusual situation for the boater—it is a very large lake, but the shallow depth, just below surface rock formations, sandbars and the winds that can pick up can make it quite treacherous to navigate. If you are new to boating don’t stray too far and always be prepared for inclement weather. If venturing further from shore have a larger boat and a good knowledge of chart reading is a must on this lake.

Jeffery Froud is an experienced boater in Ontario and he advises:  “The lake was re-charted in the 1980s and most areas can now be navigated safely by relying on the charts, a depth finder, a compass and the aids to navigation (buoys and day markers). Caution must still be exercised in the West Bay off the Hays Rock to the West Arm route, there are many unmarked rocks and shoals. The West Nipissing Boating Club  privately maintains most buoys in the West Bay and West Arm.

Boating on the best Canadian lakes

Boating is a lifestyle with many rewards, it  is about meandering, enjoying nature – not about how fast you go. It is a journey not a destination.  You can head back to port or just end up in unknown spots, have a picnic or BBQ, put on some Crosby, Stills and Nash and watch the sun go down. But it doesn’t end there, take a look up, way up and check out our fantastic milky way and if you are lucky you may get a glimpse of the Boreal Aureolis.

Resources for boating on the best Canadian lakes

Canals and waterways of Canada

Sunshine Coast Canada: Things to do, hidden gems

Shel Nuefeld Photography

World Atlas: Which are the biggest lakes in British Columbia. 

Parks Canada:  Flowerpot Island

Boat Insurance

Image of Nippising Lake Courtesy: Parks Canada


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