Canoeing Through Cootes Paradise Marsh

Canoeing Through Cootes Paradise Marsh – Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Years back when I was still living in Canada, 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. Newsletter

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Canoeing Through Cootes Paradise Marsh

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.

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.

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.

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. Even swans, those glorious and beautiful birds, upset the delicate ecological balance 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. 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!

After the canoe ride was over, we made our way back to the main garden area for a refreshing lunch under this gazebo. We then finished off the weekend by taking a brief tour with the horticultural staff to see more of Canada’s largest botanical garden.

What do you think about this canoeing activity? Would you go on such an adventure? Tell us about in the comments below.


Good to Know

1) Visit Voyage Into Paradise to secure a booking now. Accommodation, meals and transportation are included in the cost, which is $449 Canadian per person (at time of publication).

2) You’ll stay at the Waterfront Hotel in downtown Burlington. Breakfast is included each day. 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 but seems to cater towards a “mature” crowd. On Saturday, we had dinner at the Water Street Cooker.

3) Other pro tips? Wear a hat and apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Reapply frequently. Stay hydrated and bring along a bottle of water.

4) If you’re heading to the area on your own, check out accommodation options in Burlington with

5) If you’re in the Toronto area, consider booking a fun local tour.

6) For more great Canadian content, check out some of our other top posts.

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*DisclosureMy Voyage Into Paradise experience was complimentary. Any opinions expressed about my love of canoeing through the Canadian wilderness are entirely my own. This post also contains some affiliate links. If you book a tour or hotel through any of these links, I’ll earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Founder of Canadian in Berlin. Frequent traveller now at 43 countries and counting.


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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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