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We highly recommend you visit his website. It has a wealth of information on canoeing in and around Winnipeg, and many other canoeing resources.
Over the years of organizing open paddles for Paddle Manitoba one of the most common questions from participants has been: “where can I go paddling”? The answer to this question usually starts with me asking even more questions to figure out what kind of paddling, how far, trip interest, and skill level. Usually people that come out to open paddles, and ask about destinations, are looking for easy day trips or just an afternoon paddle. This page was setup for those people interested in a quick local paddle, if you are interested in longer trips or something a little further afield there are a number of other resources available.
Since I live in Winnipeg I have spent some time paddling the local rivers and creeks looking for places to get on and off the water. The following list includes the larger rivers, creeks, and some ponds, in Winnipeg which usually have at least some navigable sections for extended periods each year. The map to the right should be interactive allowing you to zoom into different areas across Winnipeg showing locations that I have stopped at over the years. The points with an arrow are the locations that I have used more often. The approximate distances between the river points has been provided for each river below. It is possible to paddle both up & down stream from most of the put in points that I have identified. Tear drops indicate ponds that I have checked out.
Only a few of the sites have docks or boat ramps, the City Winnipeg maintains a list of dock and boat launch locations on their website with more information. Most of the other sites listed here are just a river bank with some kind of access. In most cases the access is easy with only a short walk. A few of the locations may have more difficult shorelines or river banks to climb down. The shorelines of the rivers, especially the Red, are often muddy making access to the water difficult. Typical of many prairie rivers the levels get lower throughout the summer providing some challenges for late summer and fall outings. This list is certainly not exhaustive and I certainly have not found all of the access points, there are still other locations such as Bun’s Creek and Omand’s creek along with many retention ponds that can still be paddled at some times of the year.
I visited all of these sites during the summer and fall (August-October) of 2009, not always from a canoe, to confirm there was still access the river from the shore. I have also canoed to or from or past all of these places sometime over the last 30 years. Access to the rivers is surprisingly dynamic depending on the season and water levels. There have also been quite a number of changes over the years due to zoneing or building, the river bed itself has even changed in a few places. I discovered a number of places this fall (2009) that I had used in the past that were now either fenced or marked as private property. A few additional places the river bank had collapsed so it was no longer suitable for reaching the water. On the other hand in my explorations to check old sites I found a number of new ones that I did not know existed.
If you want to get out for a paddle on the rivers, creeks, or ponds around Winnipeg please remember to bring the appropriate safety equipment, wear a PFD, tell someone where and when you are going, and take careful note of the water conditions in light of your skills. Check with the City of Winnipeg River Patrol to see if there are restrictions or notices on use of the river. When heading down to the water please respect private property and remember conditions as well as access might change over time. If you drive remember to check for appropriate parking or your car may be towed or ticketed.
La Salle River
The headwaters of this little river are found near Portage la Prairie; it meanders across the prairie until it eventually passes through the town of La Salle and finally into the Red River near the floodway control structure south of St. Norbert. At La Barriere park there is a dam and further upstream, near the town of La Salle, there is a large riffle structure both of which keep the water level deep enough for an enjoyable paddle over the summer. Typically the river is slow moving (really a long skinny pond) for much of the summer but don’t be fooled after heavy rain and in the spring there can be a considerable current.
Put in locations:
- St. Norbert (north west side of Pembina Hwy bridge, park on Eglise Ave). There is a nice easy place to drop a canoe into the river under the bridge. There is a lot of stabilized riprap (or rough stone/brick work) that makes for good footing. There is usually a lot of broken glass so be careful.
- Rue Des Ruines (Monastery Ruins). North of the parking lot is where I have launched in the past but with changes at the Monastery things might be different now. Stop and visit the Arts Centre or spend some time in contemplation.
- La Barriere Park (5km south of the Perimeter hwy on Waverley). This is a very popular place for going out on an evening or afternoon paddle. Most evenings and weekends there is a good chance that you will meet other people paddling. This is the location that Paddle Manitoba runs Wednesday evening paddles. Paddling up stream is always possible, down stream gets a little dicey (if possible at all) later in the summer when the river is low. At varioius times, usually in the spring or after heavy rain, the dam and the bridge are often underwater – there may be strong currents and a drop over the dam at these times.
- Four Mile Rd, bridge west of River Oaks golf course
- Town of La Salle (just to the west of rail lines, turn north off of 1st onto Desgagne). Paddling west from this point takes you past the town on the south side of the river then past Kingswood Golf and Country Club and beyond.
- Town of La Salle off of Vouriot (North east side of La Salle off of River Wood Dr- by the foot bridge). This is a very pretty little park with a wonderful footbridge across the river. Just down stream is a fairly large riffle structure – be careful of currents and the associated drop when the water is even a little high.
Note: In August-September the low side of the dam near La Barriere park is usually too shallow to paddle.
|La Salle||Four Mile Rd||La Barriere||St Norbert||Red River|
|Four Mile Rd||0||4.5||11.3||13.2|
- Dam at La Barriere Park. After heavy rain or in the spring there may be a strong current with a substantial drop over the dam.
- Quick water at the TransCanada gas pipe line crossing (near end of Camp Amisk) ~3km east of La Barriere.
- Riffle structure in the town of La Salle (east of pedestrian bridge).
- Watch for people fishing above and below dam at La Barriere.
- The river can be very shallow from La Barriere park to just upstream of the Monastery through the late summer and fall.
You can start at Elie and paddle into Winnipeg. Elie to Starbuck is 33km as the river flows. Down stream of the Elie dam, for about 8km, be prepared for many downed trees and toe dabs. The distance between Starbuck and Sanford is ~23km; Sanford to La Salle is about 30km. There are lots of bridges providing alternative egress sites. It is a nice quite little river – further out be prepared for fallen trees blocking the channel of the river. There are several riffle structures (Starbuck/La Salle), a low head dam (between Starbuck and Sanford), and two regular dams (Elie/Sandford). There is very little current except in the spring and after heavy rain. It is possible to paddle further upstream from Elie as well, the dam helps, but the river starts to get pretty small.
This beautiful little river, with head waters in the Sandilands south east of Steinbach, runs through the heart of St. Vital and St. Boniface. Later in the summer, except after heavy rains, it is usually too shallow to paddle comfortably but in the spring and early summer it is worth spending some time on this jewel. The river is fairly narrow and even small fallen trees can block the way so be prepared to step out occasionally or bring a hand saw. There are lots of access points, unfortunately it is sometimes a little difficult to distinguish between private and public property, if you are uncertain about the access try a different location. A good source of information on the river within Winnipeg is the Seine River Greenway map created by Save our Seine River Environment Inc.
Put in locations:
- Prairie Grove Road (south of Perimeter hwy) or Willow Grove Road.
- Creek Bend Rd.
- Behind the French School division office (1095 St Anne’s Rd) just south of Warde there is access to the river. Parking will be an issue during the week.
- Shorehill Dr. Access the river from the parking lot of Morrow Gospel Church. During some times of the week you will not be able to use or access the river from the parking lot. This spot will get you above the riffle structure under the Shorehill Drive bridge.
- John Bruce Road Putting in at this foot bridge to paddle south to Shorehill drive (and further) is one of my favourite city paddles; just like being out in the wilds with out the long drive. The river bank is starting to see a lot of building on the west bank which is unfortunate, let’s hope that the current look is temporary and the new owners respect the river.
- At the intersection of Aubin and Orchard Hill drive there is a cut through to the park. Just to the south there are trails that allow you access to the river.
- At Willowlake and Southbridge there is a small pond with a channel to the Seine. Access is good but the channel may get too narrow or shallow at some times of the year.
- Worthington Ave. Right off the end of the street is a small woodland. Like many other places this area might appear like private property but it is OK for now. This connects up with the woodland on Hindley but the path there now (Oct 2009) has a for sale sign suggesting it is not suitable for access.
- Southbridge Drive, north of Willowlake, there is a small park with access down to the river where there is a storm drain.
- Berrydale. Path off of the end of the street down to the river. About 100m down to the river. There is also an open space where telephone lines go under the river at Sadler Ave but that is a steep[ish] climb. There is a sign posted here about how the area was a litter pile and who cleaned it up.
- Clayton near Wingham. Nice little park with a good path down to the river and reasonable launching location.
- Niakwa Road (East side near golf course entrance). From here to the Red (Nadeau) is the section I paddle most often. It wanders through a couple of golf courses, pretty forest, and quiet residential areas.
- Comanche Rd. Walk down the path to the river for access below the shallow spot under the Fermor bridge.
- Egerton just north of Humboldt. There is a small wooded area with a number of paths down to the river. The best access is the straight path closer to Humboldt.
- Blenheim and Egerton. There is a path down to the river right in the corner of the two streets.
- Morier Park (near Egerton & Murier). This is a pleasant little park to stop and have a picnic when out for an afternoon jaunt. There are a couple of routes down to the river, the one to the south is shorter and more direct.
- Guay just off of Youville.
- Evans St. near Gareau (behind the community center).
- Evans St. at Cusson. There is access down the bank even though it is a little steep. Dropin below the ‘rapids’.
- Dubuc St. You can walk down to the river in several places east of Seine St.
- Edgewood St or Tremblay. There is a walking bridge across the river here. The best access is from the west (Edgewood) but both sides will work to get down to the river.
- South side of Happyland park. Take this chance to stop and do a round of frisbee golf.
- North end of Youville
- Gabrielle Roy Park
- Nadeau (north of Provoncher). Probably because of long habits this is usually where I pull out my canoe most often. If the dock is in at Lagimodiere-Gaboury that maybe a better location. If the dock is out this is a much better shoreline to avoid the mud.
- Lagimodiere-Gaboury Park This is a pleasant park with good access and a nice waterfront/dock. Use this location to get onto either the Seine or for a hop off point to the Red.
Note: Much of the Seine River goes through golf courses. Watch for flying balls and, sometimes, golf clubs. Right before Provencher the river is usually very shallow. For many years there has been a narrow spot with quick currents and a drop just up stream of Gabrielle Roy Park. A little further, past the rail bridge, there was an extensive, and badly needed, remediation project to clean up the old IKO site, the river was closed over the fall of 2009 at this location. The river was opened again in 2010 but it looks a little like a moon scape; a lot of replanting and landscaping has been done so it will be very nice once it fills in.
|Creek Bend||Shorehill||John Bruce||Niakwa||Lagimodiere-
- Fallen trees at any time of the year.
- A lot of junk has been thrown in the river (although SOS has done a good job cleaning up). Watch for concrete blocks with rebar and other similar things that can damage a canoe.
- Beaver dams are fairly common along much of the river from Morier Park south.
- Riffle structure near Shorehill drive
- Narrow passage south of John Bruce
- There is a home made ‘bridge’ or walk-way across the river between Shorehill and John Bruce
- Swift current under Fermor Ave
- Culverts in Windsor park golf course (usually a portage is required but in low water you can go through).
- Riffle structure between Marion and Provencher.
The above sites are all down stream of the Red River Floodway Siphon – a U shaped pipe that carries water under the diversion. It is a significant portage (not long just annoying) to cross the diversion and get back to the original river course. You can start outside the city at the end of Carriere Rd and paddle through Grand Pointe, Lorrette, and points beyond (Dufresne, St. Anne, …). You must portage over hwy 59 and there are often many blockages (e.g. downed trees) elsewhere. Some sections unfortunately have been straightened and have the feeling of a big ditch. Further out it becomes quite a small river. Although I have only paddled as far out as Lorrette I expect that it becomes problematic to navigate later in the spring and summer as the waterlevels go down.
With headwaters in Saskatchewan the Assiniboine River wanders across the prairies for over 1000km before entering Winnipeg from the west. The river provides an excellent opportunity for touring Winnipeg from the other side of the bank. It is usually too shallow west of the Maryland Street bridge for larger and even some medium sized boats giving paddlers a chance to explore and experience Winnipeg’s second largest river with out competing with much boat traffic. Paddling from Headingley to the Forks (Red River) is a ~4 hour enjoyable paddle. If you are not into this distance don’t fret there is ample opportunity for shorter paddles. Be aware that the current on the Assiniboine is quite fast in places and returning against the current can often take two or three times the amount of time it took going out with the current. In many places the river is very shallow, especially from mid-summer through the fall, which also makes a return trip tricky and slow. If you enjoy poling there are a number of sections where you can practice (e.g. St. Charles to Lanoo and west of Assiniboine Park).
Put in locations:
- Beaudry Park. I drop my canoe in here when I want something a little further out. The paddle from here to Headingley is about one hour. When I come here I now start at the Oak trail since the bank near the Grape trail (large parking lot) is unstable. Remember this is a provincial park you will require a Provincial Park pass.
- South Headingley – Roblin Blvd & Rodney St. There is a small parking lot here and good access to the river with gravel bank. I have often paddled from Beaudry park (even further west) to this location.
- Roblin Blvd & Hall Rd (follow trail east of drainage ditch)
- Oxbow Bend Rd (gravel side road next to Perimeter hwy, access from Augier Rd.). This has been a drop off point to paddle home (Ft. Garry) for many years. Recently with the housing developments a little further east I have been starting further out (near Headingley) or closer at St. Charles. The paddle from here to the Forks is roughly 2.5 hours, with an additional 2 hours up the Red to the Wildwood Golf Club.
- St. Charles Street
- Coleridge Park. Great access – a nice little park with benches and a stone path and stairs to follow. There are some larger stones at the north end of the park that make for a good landing.
- Several Access points off of Assiniboine between Coleridge and Westwood – Bedson, Rouge, Westwood. The shoreline at these points drops down to the river so you might want to use Coleridge instead. In the 1940 & 50s the site at Rouge was a swimming hole called Westwood Beach.
- Southboine Canoe Launch (Southboine and Paradise). This is a straight simple path with a good bank for putting a canoe or kayak in the water.
- Lanoo Dr (near first corner, hard to tell where park ends and private property begins).
- Woodbridge Rd (Near Assiniboine Cres – beside pedestrian bridge over Sturgeon Creek). This is another spot that I often use as a drop off/pick up location when paddling either Sturgeon creek or the Assiniboine. You can also launch from below the Moray street bridge (west side) but this is easier and nicer.
- Smithdale park near Vialoux and Hendon Ave
- Kenaston Blvd. Below the bridge on both the north and south shores of the river there is reasonable access. The current can be alittle fast on the south shore and the water quite shallow from the north.
- Assiniboine Park (East). There is a put in just above the faster/shallow water near the east end of the park – near where the road turns away and many people picnic. There is quite a steep/high bank but there are several trails down that should be easy to navigate. There are several very nice picnic locations near here.
- Assiniboine Park bridge (North west side). I usually park on Deer Lodge Place but in the park also works. I have often paddled with family friends making a stop here for a picnic, a sundae (across Portage), head off to the zoo, or just use the washroom near the duck pond. There is a little island just up stream on the north side that has ‘rapids’ one the narrow side. You can paddle through the narrow channel and back around for some fun.
- Wellington and Doncaster. There is a storm drain just below this interesection (south side of the clearning). It looks like there is a big difficult hill to climb but there are trails down from either side that are fairly straight forward to walk down.
- Bruce Park. It is possible to climb down the bank on the east side of the creek. If you have come this far you are probably better off going a little further to Assiniboine Park or Ferry.
- Bourkevale Park (near Ferry Rd. and Assiniboine Ave.). Near here is a free roam dog park so expect a few fury visitors as you try to get in and out of your boat.
- Near Wellington and Renfrew. Park near the tennis courts and walk down to the river across the park. There is a climb required to get down to the river often with broken glass – it might be easier for the faint of heart to pick another location such as Omand’s creek across the river. Below the rail bridge there is usually enough current (dare I say little rapids) to get warmed up for some moving water.
- Omand Park (access from east side). I usually park on Raglan Rd. Paddling under the rail bridge is a good moving water warm-up. This is another nice location to drop in for a short paddle down to the forks (~1 hour).
- Wolseley near Telfer or Clifton. This is a nice little park with reasonable access. Getting down the bank can be a bit of a scramble.
- Dominion St. There is a small park right at the end of Dominion street that provides access down to the river.
- Palmerston Ave & Aubrey. The ‘bridge’ here is not really a bridge but a pipe crossing the river. Access is relatively easy and the shoreline makes it easy to launch a canoe.
- Arlington and Palmerston. There is a nice little walk with stairs down to the river. It is a little narrow but that is made up for by the quality of the access point.
- Palmerston & Canora. Some of my family live near here and I have been caught walking my 16 foot friend across both Wolsely and Westminster more than once. Not the easiest place to put a canoe into the water but it works.
- Middle Gate. The last time I was here it was pretty over grown but there still was a narrow trail surrounded by large burdock plants.
- E. Gate and Blanchard. This is another nice little park with a path and benches. Access is not that bad but it can be a scramble and the bank can be alittle muddy.
- Hugo St. I have been picked up here on a number of occasions. Unfortunately it has often been after a peak in the water level and the steps/launch have been muddy – really it is a nice place. I have dropped in here on a couple of occasions to paddle down and watch fireworks from the river near the Forks.
- Cornish. Another water pump station that is also the start (end) of a bicycle path that continues along the Assiniboine to the Forks.
- Mostyn Park (Spence) or Mostyn Place Park (near Osborne). Look for the information on the old postal building that stood near this location.
- Near Legislative Bldg. Good luck with parking…
- Fort Rouge Park (River and Cauchon). This is a nice park with a fun water (spray) park. Go past the water park and down the hill along the pea gravel trail. A couple of years ago there was some significant river bank stabilization done so there is a lot of riprap for launching a canoe. I noticed a lot of broken glass last time I was here.
- Near Garry St. Again parking is an issue especially during the week.
- The Forks The destination, or just a stop off, from the North, South, West, and East (Seine). I have fond memories of meeting my family for lunch either at a hotdog vendor or something a little more formal. If I am picking up or dropping off I tend to go around to Provencher since parking & crowds are often a problem at the Marina.
- West of Morey Street (Charleswood bridge) it is shallow with potential for quick currents and small rapids
- West of the Assiniboine Park bridge it is shallow with some quick currents or small rapids
- Kenaston Bridge (just west of) to Omand’s Park there is swift current with small rapids.
- East of the Maryland Street bridge there may be larger boats.
- Watch for boats and personal watercraft around the forks.
- Remember the current is faster than you might think – going back is slow.
It is roughly 100km from Portage la Prairie to Winnipeg (Hwy 248 to Beaudry park is 50km). When the current is running the Portage trip can be done in a couple of long days. There are not many places to stay so check ahead. There are (were) camping locations where the river crosses the Trans Canada near Portage and again near Winnipeg. There is also one possible site about half way but I have not stayed there, or contacted them, so you will need to check yourself. There are many egress points as well so bring a cell phone and have someone pick you up.
The Red is the largest river in Winnipeg. In the spring the current can be quite strong, the river is fairly wide making the strength and speed of the current deceptive. Later in the year the water level is basically controlled by the St. Andrews dam at Lockport (yes that is a long distance from Winnipeg) and the current is not nearly as strong. The river is remarkably flat with only a slight drop (1:10000) across southern Manitoba where it traverses what was the bed of glacial Lake Agassiz. When the river breaches its bank it basically fills the bottom of this ancient lake creating in some years (1997 for example) what is locally known as the Red Sea. In the fall the river is drawn down (dam at lockport pulled up) at this time there may be some extra current but getting to the river across the muddy bank is probably a greater problem. The city also pulls out their docks at the same time.
There can be a fair bit of boat traffic on the Red especially around the Forks and further north. There are a few larger boats, such as the M.S. River Rouge, M.S. Paddlewheel Queen and Princess, along with many intermediate sized pleasure boats. You can sometimes meet water skiers coming down the river which always makes me a little nervous. I have seen many personal watercraft zooming around near the forks and as far north as the Perimeter hwy. There is less boat traffic in the south end of Winnipeg – I have often wondered if the speed limits around the rowing club, MPA, and Churchill marina have a chilling effect on boaters. I must admit I don’t find the paddle along the Red as nice as the other rivers due to the size and increased boat traffic. On the other hand it is an easy portage from my house so I do paddle a fair bit near Fort Garry.
Put in Locations:
- La Salle River, St. Norbert (see above). It is also possible to access the river from St. Norbert Heritage Park but that involves a tricky climb.
- Below Floodway control structure (Turnbull or Courchaine) – watch out for current and eddies from the floodway control structure. Launch well below and away from the control structure. With the floodway expansion project it may not be possible to access the river off of either Turnbull or Courchaine.
- Cloutier Dr (below Perimeter Hwy bridge). This is not the best location for launching – it is often muddy and has many willows. If you want to explore a little further upstream there is a ‘creek’ or out-flow from the Ft. Richmond retention ponds that provides access. It has been many years since I have used this point but it should still be there.
- Kilkenny drive (Opposite Linacre Rd, North of Radcliffe). I bought my first canoe when I was 15 years old and walked down here to paddle almost every day during the summer. There is nothing quite like owning a boat that you can carry down to the water and then paddle away for a quiet afternoon or evening. The city changed the outflow for the storm drain so it is not quite as nice for launching now but it still works well.
- Kings Park. The best access point is west of the main parking lot. There is a clear dirt/mud path that may involve a little scrambling. Further south there is a nice access point where the pond drains into the river. It involves a short portage but at least it is rocky (no mud). At one time there was an access point right off of the end of Kings drive but I don’t know if that is still possible. On the east side of the park, opposite the water fall on the hill, there is a water in-take that provides access. Long ago I would also follow the path near Parkwood Place (north side of the park) down to the river – it was never a very good place and I usually had to search for a downed tree to help climb over the mud to the water.
- Maple Grove Park. Near the gates is a boat launch.
- Redview Dr. There is a cut through between the houses that provides access to the park. There is a fair hill to climb down and the shore is pretty muddy at times.
- UofM near Maclean Cres and Freedman Cres. It has been a long time but there was a storm drain outlet that was easy to use. Like the Kilkenny drain this was a favourite access point throughout my teenage years.
- Behind the UofM Geological Sciences Building (near Sifton Rd & Dysart Rd). There is also a place to launch across from the Science library and down from the Law building (by the Castle). Daytime parking during the week will be a problem.
- River Road park. Opposite Minnetonka you can access the river. There is a warning sign about the bank being unstable. Further west there is a river stabilization experiment/project.
- River Pointe Dr. There is a nice walk through with some historical information off of the drive. Straight down the hill from the cut through there is river access that, at times, can be muddy but otherwise fairly nice.
- You can launch below the Bishop Grandin bridge on both sides of the river. Access is good with rocky shore. Near the west side there is a large storm drain outflow that provides a good launching spot. Try parking on D’Arcy (west) or Blackmore (east). A little further south on D’Arcy, near the golf course, is another excellent place to launch where there has been a bunch of bank stabilization.
- There is a large dock behind the Pony Corral on Pembina. This is private parking and access but if you eat at the resteraunt you may be forgiven.
- Cresent Drive (just east of South Dr) there is reasonable access. Given the number of fish bait containers I saw last time I was there it is looks like a fishing hole as well.
- St. Vital Park (boat launch). Good parking, easy access, good launch conditions.
- Moore Ave (off of River Road). There is a large water pump/outflow with nice access and good shore (riprap) for launching a canoe.
- Crescent Drive Park (old boat launch near north end of the park). The boat launch is no longer serviced or available but for canoes it is useful. Parking may be a bit of an issue now.
- Harris Park has a nice path down to the river. You can park on Salme Drive.
- Kingston Cres. at Riverdale (south side of point). Opposite the Elm Park bridge is a storm drain control structure that provides good access to the river. There is no access on this side (Kingston Cres) of the Elm park bridge.
- End of Sommerset Ave (behind Wildwood Golf Club building). Now that I live in Ft. Garry this has become a regular jump off or landing point for trips on the Red and Assiniboine. It is not a long portage home (1.25km) and the storm drain provides a wonderful dock for most of the summer and fall.
- Toilers Park (near Byng & Riverside drive). A few years ago the neighbours put in tons of riprap to stabilize the bank which made access easier. This park was, at one time, the outflow of an intermittent creek that ran through north Ft. Garry, there was a dock nearby and a swimming hole. When you arrive take a look at the plaque and learn a little about the Toilers basketball team.
- Jubilee Ave at Riverdale (Stop for Ice Cream at BDI). It works but I have to admit the real reason that I use this spot is for a Goog Special. It is not great for launching since parking can be a problem and the shore is not always good for landing. A few years ago BDI had a floating dock but they appear to have abandon that attempt, but there is always hope that it will be back.
- Kingston Row (near Killarney St) & below Dunkirk Bridge
- Churchill Drive Park (near Osborne much of the rest of the bank is too high). Parking is an issue close to the bridge.
- Mager Dr off of St. Mary’s. A parking lot with gravel path down to the river – what could be better.
- Guay Park. This is not a great place to launch a canoe since the bank is high, there is a drop off, and parking can be a problem, but I have gotten in and out here a few times for various reasons. I have added this point mostly from memories of the place that got me into my own boat…. Back in the 1970s I bought my first canoe, and other camping equipment, across the street at The Happy Outdoorsman (433 St. Mary’s). There is a bike store there now that I visit almost as often as I did the outdoor store.
- Lyndale Drive Park. Near the south east end, near Claremont or Chandos, there are stairs and/or a ramp otherwise it is a steep climb.
- Churchill Drive near Hay street Manitoba Paddling Association (just east of Hay) has a building and a dock that I have used in the past. If you arrive and there are paddlers out on the river or using the dock please be patient and wait until they are finished or clear of the dock.
- You might be able to put in at the Winnipeg Rowing Club (Lyndale Dr). It is a private dock so you must get permission first. There is access further upstream between Highfield St. & Blasam Pl. It is an old culvert that is often under water; it is also an annoying climb.
- The Forks There are lots of places to put in/take out. I usually park and put in near Provencher Bridge but that may no longer be as easy with the completion of the Holocaust Museum.
- Tache (between St. B. Hospital and Provencher) is a city dock.
- Tache at La Verendrey. There is a pumping station with a really nice rocky bank.
- Whittier Park (near Fort Gibraltar). Park near the toboggan slide follow the path down to the river. There is a dock or at least reasonable launching point. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not so good.
- Seine River (see above Lagimodiere-Gaboury Park)
- Louise Bridge – either end. There is a city dock at the south east end of the bridge.
- St John’s Park (Near St. Cross). There is a nice launching spot here that appears to have been a short river walk at one point. This is where the M.S. River Rouge was docking so to access, parking, and launching/landing may be problematic.
- Elmwood Park – between Glenwood Cres. and Bredin Dr. Access from either side of the park. There is a natural gas pipeline under the river here that provides a reasonable launching point.
- Cathedral and Scotia. Nestled right in the corner, behind a hedge that makes it look like private property there is a gas pipline crossing that provides reasonable access to the river.
- Luxton. Right at the end of Luxton is a little park with a bench for sitting. Last time I was down here there was a large tree fallen along the river bank making a bit of a scramble but still workable. There is little or no parking along Luxton east of Scotia so you may be in for a slight walk.
- Right at the corner of Kildonan and Bronx there is a sweet little park with a paved path and nice access to the river.
- Scotia street west of Leila. This is just a little green space but it is enough for getting in and out. A friend of mine lived just a few houses down so I have not used this spot for launching my canoe – better to park at a friends, socialize, and have a cool drink.
- Fraser’s Grove Park. There are a few locations along this long skinny park, take a walk and see what you can find.
- Kildonan Park. There is a city dock near the north end of the park after the fence ends. The park makes a great stop for a break and stretch. The only down side is the fence that runs along the river bank for most of the park from from the south.
- Kildonan Dr at Essar or near Irving Place. This is an old rail bridge and rail bed. It is used a lot by kids (including myself on occasion for off road riding (monkey trials). There is a small parking lot on the south side that may be better than parking near Essar but either works quite well. Depending on where you try there might be a little scramble to get down. When it has rained it can be a little muddy.
- John Black Park (Beside Chief Peguis Trail off of Main). Nice little park with good access.
- River Ridge Drive near Harmsworth Dr. This is a new neighbourhood with houses still under construction (fall 2009) but the park runs along the river with several cut through locations planned.
- McBeth and Red River blvd. You can portage to the river (~350m) by following the trail straight on from Red River blvd. There is a private residence to the left and the secondary dike turning off to the right is private property but access is straight foward. Visit McBeth house or go for a walk along the tails in McBeth park. There has been a dock along the trails from McBeth park but it is a longer portage (~500m).
- Summerview (off of). There is a path between two houses right in the corner of Summerview lane. This path provides good access down to the river, it might feel like you are walking into someone’s yard since there are no fences but go for it. There was an alternative route right beside the campground (Google Earth calls it Fernbank Ave) but there is a gate at the entrance so don’t bother even if the gate is open since you might get locked in. There is no access through the trailer park.
- Bun’s Creek. There is a little park here but the gate appears to be locked more often than not. The access point is at the end of the park down to the river where there is a lot of rock put in for river bank stabilization. I have parked on the other side of Henderson Hwy but it is complicated to cross the street with a canoe.
- North Perimeter Park. This is the end of my Winnipeg tour. There is another spot across the river that I have not used for canoeing but there is a parking lot and good access – when I ride to Lockport with friends we often park there.
|St Norbert||Kilkenny||Sommerset||Churchill Dr||Forks||Lagimodiere-
|Perimeter Hwy (North)||0|
Note: Distance from St. Norbert to Kilkenny includes 1.9km along the La Salle River.
Distance to Lagimodiere-Gaboury includes about 600m along the Seine.
There are no significant obstacles other than large boats and the occasional water skier. Watch for increased current around bridges (esp. rail bridge north of Provencher). If you are putting in near the floodway control structure there are very significant currents and eddies particularly when the water is high. Launch well downstream of the control structure.
The Red can be paddled North all the way to Lake Winnipeg – with only a small portage at St. Andrews Lock and Dam. Do not approach the Dam in your canoe! Stick to the main channels through the delta at Lake Winnipeg as the smaller side channels change often through the marsh. Heading south the Red extends into the United States where it forms the boundary between Minnesota and North Dakota. Ste. Agathe is 37km south of Winnipeg (St. Norbert), Morris roughly another 40km further up stream. Be careful around the floodway control structure.
Running through St. James this is one of the larger creeks in the city. Portions of it can be paddled most of the summer but usually I only go in the spring and after heavy rain. I have not paddled north of Saskatchewan avenue but I expect it is possible at least from near the Perimeter highway. Beyond that you run into the St. Charles Rifle Range and access/use is restricted. The creek can have very swift currents and dangerous obstacles (e.g. low bridges and culverts) when the water is high – be very careful.
Put in locations:
- Crestview near Inwood Cres
- Alcott St.
- I have put in and taken out above the mill near the Grace Hospital
- Off of Wood Dale Dr
- Woodbridge Rd (Near Assiniboine Cres – beside pedestrian bridge over Sturgeon Creek)
- Riffle Structures are numerous when the water is low. There are as many as 5 between Assiniboine and Portage Ave., at least one between Portage and Ness, one between Ness and Hamilton, one between Hamilton and Saskatchewan. South of Ness there is a pedestrian path over the creek which also acts as a riffle structure.
- In high water the following culverts/bridges have dangerous current and undertows: Perimeter hwy, Summit Rd, Saskatchewan Ave, Ness Ave.
- There is a dam associated with the old mill (between Sturgeon Rd and Portage Ave.) When the water is flowing this is a dangerous location.
There are many small man-made ponds in Winnipeg. The ponds are typically fairly small and quite exposed. Before you paddle on any of these small lakes check the signage since some specifically exclude all water activities others exclude motorized activity and swimming. More information on Winnipeg Retention ponds can be found on the City of Winnipeg website. You should not go in the water when paddling on the retention ponds. In the spring, and occasionally in the fall, you have to be careful of the geese as they can be quite territorial. I have tried to identify locations that are close to the water with good parking (remember to check the signs). Many obvious access points to these ponds are along busy regional roads – look around as there are often small side access points as well. Over the last few years the city and developers have been planting native vegetation around most of the newer retention ponds (cattails, bull rushes, and other emergent macrophytes). There are many benefits associated with this practice: it improves the water quality for wildlife, slows the water flow, increases the diversity of both flora and fauna, limits the number of geese, less costly upkeep, etc… I think it is a great idea but it does limit access for canoes and paddle boats.
Put in locations:
- Kings Park. This little lake is somewhat sheltered but over the last few years there has not been enough water to paddle (much).
- Margaret Grant Pool. I took, and taught, a few courses on this pond many years ago (almost 30 now). This is a very exposed pond but you use what you have.
- Point West Dr. Waverly West. Nice small lake. Access is possible off of Barirdmore but it is much quieter here.
- Ducharme Park in St. Norbert off of Bellemer Dr. Nice little pond in the heart of St. Norbert. You may be able to paddle under the road into the extension just to the north. The water was a little shallow last time I visited in the spring of 2010 but it deepens as you go west and north.
- Waverly Heights (1) off of Agusta Dr. there is a little greenway down to the lake.
- Waverly Heights (2) Bridge over the water. Just down the lake (north) there is a culvert under Chancellor that leads to a small pond that should be great for American Freestyle. You may get some funny looks from home owners but it is the right size and well protected.
- Waverly Heights (3) off of Lakeshore Dr. there is a little greenway down to the lake.
- S. Winnipeg Tech. I have paddled here waiting for friends to finish courses. I would suggest crossing to WhyteRidge.
- Whiteridge – off of Vanderbilt Dr. There is a small lot access to the pond here.
- Whiteridge – off of Prospect Dr.. There is a walk through from Prospect near here. There is a boundary of cattails along the shore so you might consider access across from Hallmark Point.
- Fort Whyte Alive (Adventure Site) On Tuesday and Thursday evenings over the summer there are open paddles. Canoe/Kayak courses are also taught here at other times. This site is not generally accessable except during open paddles and events. See the Fort Whyte Alive website for more information
- Fort Whyte Alive (Main Site) I have only paddled here during events but I am pretty sure you can paddle at other times as well but please ask/confirm before you go. See the Fort Whyte Alive website for more information
- Muys Park off of Royal Crest or Shoreline Dr. Lindenwoods. This is probably the nicest set of man-made lakes I have been on to paddle. You can also launch off of Lindenwoods Dr W or Lakeshore Dr.
- Park Place W. Small lake that allows us to see how Tuxedo lives from the other side.
- Burland Park – off of Eastcote River Park South There is a walk through from Eastcote providing the best access with parking. The other end of the pond is much busier.
- Burland Park – off of Burland River Park South Parking can be found on Chancery Bay.
- Lindsey Wilson Park Island Lakes – off of Dockside Way There are several other good locations access this circular pond with tunnels and sheltered bays. See Island Lakes Drive near the bridges, Opposite Cassin Cres, Beside the bridge off of Desjardens Dr.
- Edgewood Park – South Dale off of Edgewater.
- Van Belleghem Park – South Dale There is a small causeway between two small ponds that can be accessed off of Edgewater, Clearwater, or Lake Park.
- Sun Valley Park Fairly exposed, especially if the wind is from the south or south west. Access is off of Sun Valley drive. There is (was) a pull in off of Springfield as well that I have used but that might be for access/survice to the hydro lines and parking might not be allowed.
- Red River Blvd Small and quite exposed but I have attended a couple of courses here with success. Watch out for the wind.
- Kilcona Park. It has been many years since I paddled here and taught some courses – it appears access at Harbour View is limited now as there is a sign at the gate that says private watercraft are not allowed.
- De Groot Park off of Eaglemere. There is access off of Antim Rd. as well.
- Lakeside Meadows Park off of Devonshire Dr. This is a pretty little park with good access to the lake. The lake is a little exposed if it is windy.
- Kildonan Meadows Park off of Dawnville Dr. This is a somewhat exposed lake, especially from theh south.
- St. Boniface Industrial Park. Really exposed and small so not much good unless you really need to get in a boat.
- Silverfox Estates – Birds Hill. Right in Birds hill – great little lake made from gravel quary. There is parking off of Birds Hill Rd. I have also gone in off of Camsell Ave but the south end of the lake can dry up somewhat in the summer.
- Birds Hill Park. Altough I have paddled here in the past you should check with park staff before you put your boat in the water. I have had reports of people in canoes/kayaks being asked to leave – this may be because they were paddling in the swimming area.
- Woodsworth Park. off of Hekla. This is a very exposed little lake.
- Cutler Park off of Garden Grove. Quite exposed little lake.
- Garton Park There is a walk through from Belton St as well as Mallard Way. Quite exposed little lake.
- Foxwarren Park. off of Foxwarren Drive.
- Ambergate Park off of Amber Trail.
This information is compliments of http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~burchil/pm_canoe/winnipeg_route.html