Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kayaking in the Speed River

Summer finally showed up and we took advantage of the warm weekend and went to Guelph to get the kayaks into the water for the first time in 2017. Friends had recommended the Speed River which is easily accessible from Royal City Park off of Gordon Street. Pull into the park and head down to McCrae Boulevard and take your kayaks on the path that goes past McCrae.
From the launch site looking towards the dam

Twenty feet into the path is a little spot you can launch your kayaks and canoes where the river bank doesn't have those five foot concrete walls.
The McCrae Blvd bridge
The covered bridge

The water downstream of McCrae Boulevard is where the dam is located, so paddle upstream under the multi-arch bridge and past Gordon Street's multi-arch bridge where the Boathouse Tea Room is situated.

You can rent kayaks and canoes at the Speed River Paddling Company located at the Boathouse. Past Gordon Street the river branches with a minor tributary going under the covered bridge following along Wellington and Woolwich Streets.
The river is wide and not too deep and must be super gorgeous in Fall. In the late Spring the land beside the banks are full of vegetation, lined with a forest complete with walking paths and an almost continuous band of white and purple flowers.

We only went as far as the Victoria Street bridge before turning downstream and heading back to our starting point. From Google Maps it looks like the river past Victoria Street really narrows down and becomes shallower. Next time we will go past Victoria Street and check out Royal City Jacees Park and hopefully further beyond Stone Road.

There is a depth gauge beside the launch point and in the water by the shore we found a lot of little tadpoles waiting to become old enough to drink. This is a great little river to boat in and I highly recommend it as well.
Little tadpoles gather near the shore

Photos by Ann and James Hamilton

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