Find Your North Near Home

-Next time you have an itch to find your North on a day where you’re bounded to the city, grab your canoe and look in your backyard, you might be surprised in what you might find-

As most of us can relate, weekends can fill up with priorities and commitments making canoe trips to the far north not always a viable option. Sometimes in these situations you can surprise yourself by stumbling over a little touch of wilderness in your own backyard. This past weekend we had one of those experiences.

Being from the GTA and only having a half day available, we decided to get our paddles wet and test our luck on the Credit River. We planned to put-in at Streetsville Memorial Park and paddle down a meandering 7 km to Erindale Park. Although local water levels were going to be really low, we were itching for anything and decided the trusted plastic Coleman could push us through whatever rock garden or shallow flats the Credit had to offer.

Upon arrival the trip started with a portage through the Bread and Honey festival in Streetsville. Doing very little research before heading out, we were not expecting the crowds and lack of parking. We ended up having to park north of the park and put in at the bridge on Main Street.

The water as expected was very low but high enough that a not-so-obvious line could usually be found. The route consisted of moving water with class I rapids scattered through various rock gardens. Although rapids were small, sections were long and winded around rock obstacles and river bends which allowed us to practice canoe control and maneuvers. This alone presented some challenges which required us to thread the Coleman through very narrow wandering sections of canoe-able water.

The scenery along the route also did not disappoint. Similar to other rivers systems in Southern Ontario, the Credit has left its mark on Paleozoic shales etching out cliffs that hug the river bank. Paddling through these beautiful areas made us forget that we were in the middle of Mississauga a stones throw away from Suburbia.

Being a Geologist, the landscape is always the first thing to catch my eye, but the wildlife in the area proved to be a close second. Along the way we startled a deer walking along the bank as well as a blue heron hunting in the shallows.  Its really nice to know these pristine little pockets can still be found and enjoyed in the expanding Greater Toronto Area.

The route took a leisurely 1.5 hours and surprisingly required little walking. If water levels are on your side, there is only one portage around a man-made dam. During higher water levels, rapid sections can easily become class II to III. Early spring would be a great time to do this route if you were looking for close-by white water.