Canoe Tripping on the Humber River - Bolton to the Lake

Since Hurricane Hazel washed away 14 homes in October 1954, the Humber River has been carefully flood controlled by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. There are a number of man-made obstacles which have successfully reduced the river to mainly a fast flowing stream, therefore passage requires the highest water levels. In each April of 2010, 2011, 2017, & 2018 the WCA navigated the 27 kilometre section between Bolton and Kleinburg. In 2015 & 2016 we tackled the 29 kilometre section between Kleinburg and the 401 at Dee Avenue in Weston. Mainly motivated by personal ambition and the frustration of 2020, then 2021, then 2022, for 2023 we are going to make a weekend of it and run the entire length from Bolton to Lake Ontario.

Though I doubt this will be the first time ever tripping down the river, there are no known records of anyone doing this as a trip previously (in modern times). I would like to be explicitly clear that we intend to stealth camp in the vicinity of Islington Avenue and #407. The weirs South of the 401 are seriously dangerous, and therefore this invitation is extended to appropriately motivated and prepared adults.

The upper section to Kleinburg is quite fun. There are often log jams near town, and then several hours of nearly uninterrupted swifts and rock gardens with no actual classified rapids. Immediately before The Country Club there is a weir, and near the end of the golf course, there is a mandatory portage around a dam. This section tends to be slower and less exciting. On the second day there are 8 weirs to deal with between #401 and the Old Mill. Regardless, Whitewater Ontario used to have two named waves listed in the River Wiki that I believe are located near Scarlett Mills Park.

I have arranged to collaborate with the YouTube channel cjhoyle. In 2021 Christopher kayaked the 15 km section from Rexdale to just south of Dundas St. We will be recording the trip on video for YouTube.

The Basics
Event Location: 
The Humber River – from Bolton to Lake Ontario
Date(s) & Time: 
Saturday, April 1, 2023 - 08:00
Registration Cut Off: 
When I decide.
Event Duration: 
Friday evening to Sunday evening.
Difficulty Rating: 
Participant Info
Maximum Group Size: 
3 tandems, maybe 4 tandems
Minimum Group Size: 
2 tandem canoes
Itinerary description: 

The plan is to effect a shuttle by dropping cars at Sir Casimir Gzowski Park ahead of time on Friday evening, and paying appropriately to park there for the weekend. Then everyone will meet at the parking lot in Dicks Dam Park (146 Sackville Street, Bolton) for 8am on Saturday morning. It should take until early evening to descend to near the 407. On Sunday we will complete the remainder of the river down to Lake Ontario.

There are a number of decisions that can be made once we know who and how many people will be participating.

Otherwise I am trying to put as much useful information in here as possible. For example; this is the gauge: HUMBER RIVER AT ELDER MILLS (02HC025)
We need a minimum of 4 cubic metres per second.

Obstacles can be seen in the satellite photos at the following locations:
43.797423, -79.606239
43.792403, -79.596068
43.702927, -79.528695
43.692776, -79.513062
43.674873, -79.511731
43.672257, -79.512144
43.662240, -79.504306
43.660732, -79.502115
43.658465, -79.499099
43.656467, -79.501515
43.653477, -79.502627
43.652383, -79.495579

Required Items to Bring: 

It is likely that all meals and the preparation of them will be planned independently by each canoe.
A complete outfit for whitewater tripping is suggested including flotation bags for your canoe, helmets, dry suits if you own one, barrels, throw ropes, rain gear, tents, sleeping bags, kitchen, cool heads, and sober thoughts.

Recommended Items to Bring: 

An open mind.

Cancellation Policy: 
Please don't.
Event Coordinator/s Contact Information
Contact (Name): 
Matthew Eberly