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Canoeing Through Cootes Paradise Marsh

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise
(Last Updated On: June 19, 2019)

It was just a few weeks ago that I spent a fun (not to mention sun) filled day canoeing along the Grand River in nearby Paris, Ontario.

The next day, I’d finish off my Voyage Into Paradise experience by canoeing through Cootes Paradise Marsh!

Voyage Into Paradise

Voyage Into Paradise offers an easy weekend getaway for those looking to briefly escape Toronto. It includes a stay at a luxurious hotel, gourmet meals, First Nation storytelling and guided Voyageur canoe tours on both days.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Canoeing Through Cootes Paradise Marsh

Cootes Paradise is Ontario’s largest wetland, home to an abundance of wildlife such as fish, birds, plants and mammals. Located in Hamilton, Ontario, the site is run by the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG).

Together with our friends from Grand Experiences and some friendly staff  from RBG, we  jumped into our Voyageur canoes and headed out on the water.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

The marsh was beautiful and unexpectedly quiet. The only noises came from us and the wildlife. We calmly spent a few hours paddling through the shallow waters and learning more about this special place.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Unfortunately, Cootes Paradise saw an ecological decline due to humans, pollution and the addition of non-native species into the environment. By 1985, most of the plant cover was gone as were the majority of native species.

The birds congregated on this tiny island are an example of an invasive species who contributed to the decline. Fortunately, the population of these birds has lessened over time.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Even swans, those glorious and beautiful birds, upset the delicate ecological balance in Cootes Paradise.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of RBG, the marsh is slowly being returned to its natural state. You’ll notice that the water is quite brown due to lack of plants and mud bottoms.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Where you see plant growth, the water is clearer and healthier. It even gives the chance for lily pads to grow.

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t find any frogs to kiss so I could turn them into my own Prince Charming! 🙂

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

After the canoe ride was over, we made our way back to the main garden area for a refreshing lunch under this gazebo.

Royal Botanical Gardens

We then finished off the weekend by taking a brief tour with the horticultural staff to see more of  Canada’s largest botanical garden.

Royal Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens

Good to Know

  1. Visit Voyage Into Paradise to secure a booking now.
  2. Accommodation, meals and transportation are included in the cost, which is $449 Canadian per person (at time of publication).
  3. For details on day 1 of the experience, view my first post.
  4. You’ll stay at the Waterfront Hotel in downtown Burlington. Breakfast is included each day.
  5. On Friday night, I ate dinner at the Beaver & Bulldog located within the hotel itself. Once the restaurant closes, it turns into a happening hot spot for locals. Seemed to cater towards a mature crowd.
  6. On Saturday, we had dinner at the Water Street Cooker.
  7. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Reapply frequently.
  8. Stay hydrated and bring along a bottle of water.
  9. Read another blog post about this experience at Late Night Plays.


*Disclosure – My Voyage Into Paradise experience was complimentary. Any opinions expressed about my love of canoeing through the Canadian wilderness are entirely my own. 

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  • Reply Mary @ Green Global Travel July 27, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    You got some gorgeous views of the water and flowers! It must have been lovely to canoe! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard July 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Mary – yes! Cootes Paradise is a very special place and hopefully, RBG can continue to support it’s rehabilitation.

  • Reply Lili Florea July 28, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Beautiful place 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard July 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Agree! It was so quiet and peaceful that day. <3

  • Reply Jennifer August 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I used to canoe with my dad when I was a kid, and by that I mean that he paddled me around. We went canoeing recently in Sweden and it was way harder than kayaking, which we do frequently. But I love your photos of the lily pads and flowers!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      It wasn’t so hard for me as my job was to simply take photos. 😀

      It’s such a beautiful place and incredible what they’re doing in terms of restoration efforts.

  • Reply noel August 4, 2014 at 11:23 am

    What a fun tour to take on the water of this beautiful landscape and the botanical garden tour was also fun, love those colorful annuals

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 6, 2014 at 4:09 am

      Yes, Noel. It was very fun! Canoeing is not my usual activity but I’d totally do it again. 🙂

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