How does a new boat owner and city dweller find calm nearby waters?

I live in downtown Montreal and just bought my first kayak!

Its been a couple of years since I’ve paddled and I’m trying to find calm waters.

  • The Paddling app is great to find launch points… but I feel it is important to learn more about the water. I’ll likely be paddling solo and want to keep my first trips to calm waters.

  • I’ve found a whole bunch of establishments that rent boats and offer tours, as well as some interesting blogs of paddlers writing about their experience around the city… the rentals and tours aren’t what I’m looking for now (although were great when I first started!) and the blogged adventures seem too advanced for me this summer. I’m looking for something in the middle…

Are there some general tips for a new owner who is completely new to the idea of driving up to a body of water and launching their boat?

And Bonus: is there a community out there that discusses paddling in and around Montreal?


Take a drive without your kayak to visit provincial parks, streams, rivers, etc. and look at the water that is available - it is scouting focused! Also talk to other paddlers. Google Earth is how I plan lots of my trips and find new spots to paddle. Good luck.

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I do a ton of exploring in my truck and keep note of places that might be nice to paddle. Then I scour google earth and do some internet searching. That usually gives me a good enough idea of where I might want to go.

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Places that rent kayaks are often geared to beginners, so those bodies of water/areas are likely to be beginner friendly. So you can look into launching close to a rental place.

I also quickly googled Montreal kayak club and a few different ones came up. Clubs are a good way to get connected to local paddlers.

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I used to live in Montreal before the Lachine canal was revitalized. Now the area near the upper entrance is a paddler’s paradise. And if you’ve got all day, you can lock through to the downtown area.

It probably goes without saying, but don’t confuse the Lachine canal with the Lachine rapids…stay away unless you’re an experienced WW kayaker!

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You might want to post on too.

As far as general tips here are a couple…

  • be prepared for the weather…dress appropriately and bring extra clothes (in something waterproof like a dry bag). Cold water is exceptionally dangerous ( has some excellent information)

  • get in the habit of looking at weather forecasts so you can compare the forecast to what you experience. Weather can change suddenly. You might use for forecasts and to get a feel for the wind speeds you experience so you’ll know what you’re comfortable with.

Congrats on your new boat! Tres bien!

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My son’s former girlfriend worked in a large park area along the St. Lawerence river as a canoe guide for beginners, I don’t remember the name of the spot but there were large areas of quiet water and local canoe clubs that scheduled trips to lakes and easy rivers nearby , in Vermont and Ontario. Check out canoeing/kayaking clubs and meet-up groups.