About the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre
Located on Toronto’s waterfront for over 35 years, the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre has become the most popular paddling centre in Toronto for kayak, canoe, big voyageur canoe excursions, and stand up paddleboard. With the scenic Toronto Islands only a short paddle away, we are your source for relaxation and skills development. Many friendships and even some marriages have come about from the social community that is available for anyone to become involved in down here.
Our lakeside office is open daily from June 1st to the end of September. We are located on the south-west corner of Queens Quay West and Robertson Crescent in Toronto, directly south of Rogers Centre and across from the Radisson Admiral Hotel. We are a short walk from Union Station, CN Tower, Toronto Convention Centre, Westin Harbour Castle as well as Harbourfront Centre.
Hours of Operation June 1-September end: Mon to Fri Noon – Sunset / Sat & Sun 10am – 5:30pm
- Kayak, Canoe & Paddleboard instruction and rentals
- Weekly kayak social paddles
- Guided tandem kayak tours
- Private big canoe excursions for groups
- Team-building programs
- Early and late season intermediate kayak weekend paddling
- Lakeside & Island personal kayak, canoe or paddleboard storage
The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre is committed to providing safe, fun, creative and educational activities in canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards (SUP). We strive to provide exceptional customer service; safe experiences and ensure the safety and well being of all.
Our goal is to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere to anyone who comes our way. Our paddling courses feature instruction from some of the most friendly, experienced and certified instructors that love what they do. We use Paddle Canada’s certification system to offer you the opportunity to develop safe, fun skills that will benefit you for a lifetime.
Dave & Clare Corrigan
A bit of history:
The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre began in the early 1980’s by Steve & Diane Magee, primarily as a canoe club offering lessons and day camps for kids with a boat fleet consisting of 10 canoes, 6 kayaks and 2 big voyageur canoes. It also owned a school bus, a large van, a 24-passenger airport bus and boat trailer that was used for paddling and hiking excursions in Canada and the United States.
In January of 1995, Dave Corrigan was hired by Steve Magee to manage the club to teach and lead trips. Dave earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science at Waterloo University. His wife, Clare who was working in administration at a food manufacturing company, offered to do the bookkeeping for the company.
Over the next 10 years, Dave and Clare worked hard to build the business. On-site operations included kayak/canoe/paddleboard courses and lessons, weekly kayak social paddles, corporate team-building programs, voyageur canoe excursions, tandem kayak tours, boat rentals, personal boat storage as well as kids camps which are run through Harbourfront Centre; hosting over 1,000 campers each summer. Off-site, they offered in-pool kayak rescue and rolling classes in local community pools. They also ran many hiking and paddling excursions throughout Canada and the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia.
In November 2005, Dave and Clare felt it was time to purchase the company from Steve Magee who was ready to retire from his position as a High School Principal. Dave became responsible for on-site operations, managing staff, guests and equipment; while Clare worked behind the scenes from home taking care of the finances, managing systems and most importantly raising 3 great kids, who you might have see working the docks or driving the pontoon boats.
Their boat fleet has grown to several solo kayaks, tandem kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, big voyageur canoes, and pontoon boats. They can also accommodate boat storage for up to 250 personal boats on the mainland and up to 60 on the island.
Open from June to September each year, the company’s goal is to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere to anyone who comes their way. They are committed to providing safe, fun, creative and educational activities in canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards. They strive to provide exceptional customer service and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all. Their paddling courses feature instruction from some of the most friendly, experienced, certified instructors that love what they do, to offer guests an opportunity to develop safe, fun skills that will last a lifetime.
Dave & Clare are so happy to see the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre further develop each year with new equipment, more staff, and most importantly more guests joining the paddling community. They are also so thankful for the wonderful welcoming staff that are here now, and for all those who came before who have helped build this community over the years. They especially thank Steve & Diane Magee who started the Centre over 40 years ago, had the dream and mentored us all.
Our Mission Statement is FUN!
- ‘F’ is for Friendship with staff, guests, and the paddling & corporate communities.
- ‘U’ is for Understanding by furthering our own local ecosystem knowledge & paddling skills.
- ‘N’ is for Nature. We want everybody to develop an appreciation for nature and a passion to bring others closer to it.
Getting Involved in a Friendly Community
There is much friendship, health, and happiness to be had down here at the Lake. How do you get involved? The following will help bring more community into your life:
- Learn to paddle …we have great courses and you can meet paddling buddies on courses, especially the multi-day value packages. (We especially suggest kayaking so you can enjoy social paddles)
- Start to come out regularly to evening Social Paddles. Sometimes you may not be able to get out of work/obligations in time to start the paddle, but come down relax in the park and enjoy the site.
- Find people who paddle your speed and ask them if they would like to meet for a weekend rental paddle
- Watch the facebook Harbourfront paddlers community posts, our facebook page, and instagram, for updates on groups going paddling or simply socializing
Our Dedication to the World
Each year we endeavour to clean up the waterfront, waterways and islands of litter and support various charities. Past donations have included:
- Canoe Heads Amici Kids Camping Charity
- Toronto Renewable Energy Windshare
- Kids Help Phone
- Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
- Amnesty International
- Princess Margaret
- Breast Cancer
- Community Air Legal Defense Fund
- Daily Bread Food Bank
- David Suzuki Foundation:Climate Change Fund
- Zambian Aids Centre
- World Vision Ongoing Sponsored Child
While paddling within the 13 Toronto Islands it is common to spot the following: Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Painted Turtles, Trumpeter Swans, Mute Swans, Belted Kingfishers, Red Winged Blackbirds, Beavers, Minks, Muskrats, Great Egrets, Racoons, Black-Crowned Night Herons, and Double-Crested Cormorants. (See more details)
The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre will continue to buy new equipment, pontoon boats, and add to the vast programming available. We dream of a day that we share a new modern community building in the same location with our present neighbours, accessible to all. We have the dream, and the plans, let us know if you know an organization or person with the resources to make a community dream come true. There is a lot of excitement for the direct future of our neighbourhood in Toronto as well, as many projects have been confirmed. Check out the following links to see what is coming in the years to come:
Our Planet Links
As we introduce and teach people how to experience the outdoors and nature through paddling down here at Harbourfront, we also need to foster a sense of respect and understanding for the planet we live on. Yes, we all drive cars and use too much electricity but we can try and do better – and that is all anyone can ask! It is important that we educate ourselves with issues that concern not only our lives but of those that are important to you. We, at Harbourfront, believe that all issues are equally important – however, we do have an inherent concern for Our Planet. Support local and global environmental issues facing our society today. The following are links to websites if you are interested in learning more or getting involved.
“What gives beauty and meaning to life is our capacity to give to others, our ability to experience joy, and our willingness to share it with those around us”
The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard – What is the Story of Stuff? From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life for the future.
The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre is committed to providing excellent and accessible customer service. For feedback related to the accessibility of the service provided to customers with disabilities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you prefer, you can visit us during our season from Victoria Day Weekend until the end of September. We’re located at 283 Queens Quay W. on the south-west corner of Queen’s Quay and Robertson Crescent, directly south of the Rogers Centre.
Abilities in Motion is a non profit organization and the brainchild of Pauline Halstead. Based in Toronto, Pauline is passionate about enabling people that have physical or mental constraints to feel free, empowered and enabled. She believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live life to its fullest. Abilities in Motion provides specialized kayak programs for all ages and abilities to people with disabilities, special needs and seniors.
The Queens Quay Disabled Sailing Program (QQDSP) offers learn-to-sail courses, racing, recreational sailing, cruising, access to sailing volunteers, equipment, socials and special events. They have specialized equipment to increase the accessibility of the program. From specialized Martin 16 sailboats, to lift systems, and staff and volunteers trained in approved transfer techniques, QQDSP can get you on the water!
Adaptive Skiing Resort Guide provides people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of snow sports at resorts and facilities throughout North America. This resource informs adaptive skiers of all levels how they can access and enjoy programs at many of the major resorts in the US and Canada.
Wheelchair Accessible Travel Guide. Today, individuals who use a wheelchair can travel by nearly every mode of transportation to virtually everywhere in the world. But whether traveling two hours or two thousand miles away, traveling with a wheelchair still requires a lot of thought and careful planning. Wheelchair users must not only consider how to get from point A to point B, but what they need to do to prepare for the trip, whether they’ll find wheelchair accessible accommodations and attractions at their destination, and even little ways to make traveling with a wheelchair easier. Without proper planning, wheelchair users may find traveling more frustrating than accessible.
Global and National Links
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of “ordinary” people who work together to achieve extraordinary results. Each day we stand in solidarity with – and help protect – individuals and communities around the world whose human rights are under attack. We appeal for the violations to stop. We mobilize public pressure to prevent human rights abuses from taking place. And we support Amnesty’s campaigns through our financial contributions.
World Vision helps children, their families, and their communities by responding to the root causes of poverty. Changing children’s lives is about more than putting in a well here or a school there. It’s about: building up communities, responding to the root causes of poverty and creating resilience, encouraging parents to send their boys and girls to school, creating rewarding work opportunities for adults so that children aren’t at risk of being sent to do dangerous jobs, finding out what a community needs and how best to respond. To do this, we work in different areas, all contributing together so children and families enjoy the fullness of life with justice, dignity, peace and hope.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute …Scientist, inventor, environmentalist, genius. Inventor of the geodesic dome, R. Buckminster Fuller believed that humanity had reached the point in its technological development where it could easily provide for the needs of all of the inhabitants of “Spaceship Earth.” Fuller worked toward sustainable technology, alternative energy and affordable housing for all. He invented and tested a 30 MPG, 11-person land transport van that could travel at 120 MPH…in 1933! The BFI website has links to examples of sustainable, Fuller-inspired developments and technologies today.
The David Suzuki Foundation has worked since 1990 to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us. Focusing on four program areas – oceans and sustainable fishing, forests and wild lands, climate change and clean energy, and the web of life, the Foundation uses science and education to promote solutions that help conserve nature. Climate change is a very real situation we live with now and we must do what we can to for generations to come. Check out David’s info on climate change.
Sweatshops and child labor are a growing problem, particularly in clothing and textiles. And many popular agricultural products, from coffee to bananas to cut flowers, are grown under terrible conditions. No one wants to buy products made with sweatshop labor, but it is hard to know what to avoid, and where to find green and Fair Trade products. Co-op America provides the information you need to help stop sweatshop labor and promote fair treatment of workers everywhere.
The Ontario Environmental Directory is a comprehensive, searchable directory of hundreds of environmental groups, organizations, agencies and websites across Ontario, Canada.
Conservation International People need nature — and for over 30 years, Conservation International has worked to protect it. Through cutting-edge science, innovative policy and global reach, we empower people to protect the nature that we rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Conservation International has worked to spotlight and secure the critical benefits that nature provides to humanity. Combining fieldwork with innovations in science, policy and finance, we’ve helped protect more than 6 million square kilometers (2.3 million square miles) of land and sea across more than 70 countries.
Earthroots is a strong advocate and agitator for wilderness preservation in Ontario, combining aggressive grassroots campaign strategies with excellent research and educational programs. Since 1986, Earthroots has used its grassroots expertise to organize, educate and mobilize the public, conduct successful media events, carry out wilderness research projects and ensure proper forest management planning.
Federation of Ontario Naturalists: Organization founded to protect Ontario’s nature through research, education and conservation action.
The Planet Friendly newsletter website to help keep you up to date on local events concerning environmental issues.
The Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC) was formed in 1998 by members of the North Toronto Green Community, a neighborhood-based environmental group. Their members wanted to create a vehicle for the development of community-based renewable energy in Toronto.
Wildlands League focuses on protection and preservation of nature through parks and protected places.
The Canadian Canoe Foundation is a registered charity that develops watershed-health education projects that culminate in youth leadership canoe-trips.