Made in Canada

     Made in Canada

Itinerary - The Canadian Shield


Day 1

Arrive in Ottawa. If you are arriving on Day 1, we will pick you up at the airport (MacDonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW)), train station, or bus station and take you to the hotel. You have the rest of the day to explore Canada’s beautiful capital before a team meeting at 18:00 and then dinner at an excellent restaurant in the heart of the Byward Market. Ottawa is a very tourist-friendly city and you are within easy walking distance of Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, and the National Arts Centre. Visit the National Gallery of Canada or walk across the Ottawa River to the Museum of History, in Gatineau, Quebec. After dinner, we assemble and test the bikes, in preparation for tomorrow’s riding.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: D

Day 2

We transfer up the Ottawa Valley to our starting point on the shore of the Mattawa River in northern Ontario (about 3.5 hours) with a stop at a restaurant for lunch. The Mattawa River was an important fur trade route. After we do a final check on the bikes, we will do a warm-up ride (about 15 km) on some logging roads before stopping at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park. Our first night camping is quite luxurious with picnic tables, fresh water, flush toilets, and even hot showers provided! After a swim in Moore Lake, we will all help to set up tents, cut firewood, and prepare food.

Accommodation: Camping
Cycling distance: 15 km
Meals included: B, L, D

Day 3

We will need an early start today as we bike east on the back roads and trails near the Mattawa River. Sometimes we are on old rail trails, built in the 1880s as the trans Canada rail line was being completed. There's a lot of rugged land, with swamps, and challenging navigation in this section as we soon come to the town of Mattawa, where we'll join the Ottawa River. This river forms the border between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. We continue along rugged hydro corridors and retired rail lines for most of the day, with more than our share of obstacles. Our camp tonight is at Driftwood Provincial Park and we'll camp near the beach on a wide section of the river. There are good facilities here again tonight, including hot showers.

Accommodation: Camping
Cycling distance: 78 km
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 4

This morning, we continue down the Ottawa Valley toward Rolphton by taking the back roads and trails. Before long we realize that we are on ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) trails, largely along a hydro corridor. We follow this to the south into Algonquin Provincial Park, which is 7,653 sq km, more than 1/3 the size of Wales. Sections of the trail are flooded by beavers, causing washouts, and necessitating some “push and carry”. Although the distance seems short, it is challenging. Our camp tonight is beside the Petawawa River, one of the best white water routes in eastern Canada. If the sky is clear, you’ll see the Milky Way and maybe even the Aurora Borealis; this camp has a real sense of isolation.

Accommodation: Camping
Cycling distance: 45 km
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 5

Take an early morning swim before breakfast, which might include, if the fish are biting, fresh Muskellunge or Walleye, cooked on a wood fire. Then we are on the bikes to continue down the powerline to a junction with a gravel road, deep in Algonquin Park. We follow this road to the East for an early afternoon arrival at Achray Station campground, on the shores of Grand Lake. Until recently, when the rail line was removed, Achray was an important access point to Algonquin Park and a destination for early painters, especially members of Canada’s Group of Seven. This afternoon is an introduction to canoe safety and technique for proper paddling and portaging. After dinner, you might like to try fishing for Lake Trout; they like the cold deep water.


If you want to fish, you need a license. Regulations are different for Ontario residentsCanadian residents, and non-residents. Please contact us if you want help arranging the necessary Outdoors Card and fishing license tag

Accommodation: Camping
Cycling distance: 27 km
Meals included: B, L, D

Day 6

For the next 4 days, we are in the canoes. We leave our bikes and support vehicles at Achray and we must be completely self-sufficient. We cross Grand Lake to the mouth of the Barron River and continue through Stratton Lake, with a stop for a short hike to High Falls with its natural water slide! A short portage takes us to our camp on St. Andrews Lake. Tonight, everyone is expected to help set up tents, prepare food and wash dishes. Everyone is also expected to contribute to campfire entertainment: stories, poems, skits, jokes, or music.

Accommodation: Camping
Paddling/portage distance: 8 km
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 7

This is a day with lots of portaging. We continue to follow the Barron River through many small lakes, portaging around the small waterfalls and sets of rapids. We’re headed for Opalescent Lake, but at a leisurely pace, with lots of time for swimming and playing in the water. By now, there should be a rhythm forming: counting strokes before you change sides, packing and unpacking the canoes, maybe switching positions from bow to stern. Opalescent is a more isolated lake; there might be Smallmouth Bass.

Accommodation: Camping
Paddling/portage distance: 5 km
Meals included: B, L, D

Barron River Canoe
Barron River Beauty
Barron River Portage Sign


Day 8

Today we start with a long portage out of Opalescent Lake, back to the Barron River. In the Barron Canyon we are dwarfed by stunning cliffs as we drift with the current. In the distance we might see a moose feeding, thigh-deep in a swamp. Tonight, we pick a site on the wide river, surrounded by lily pads and rushes. We might see muskrat, beaver, and otter. For those who like fishing, try casting into the weeds for Perch; they’re small but two might make a meal.

Accommodation: Camping
Paddling/portage distance: 11 km
Meals included: B, L, D

Solo Portage


Day 9

A short portage and paddle will take us to Squirrel Rapids, the take-out point. If you’re up for a run, you can jog back with two staff members to Achray for the vehicles and bikes (about 15 km). Then it’s onto the saddles as we bike a mostly gravel road to our motel in Petawawa. After everyone has had a chance to shower and enjoy a drink by the pool, we go to a restaurant for dinner in Pembroke.

Accommodation: Motel in Petawawa
Paddling/portage distance: 3 km
Cycling distance: 34 km
Meals included: B, L

Squirrel Rapids


Day 10

Today we start with some single-track mountain biking. It's only 8 km to the trails at Forest Lea Trails. These are maintained by a local club and consist of about 30 km of nice single-track with a wide range of difficulty. There is literally something for everyone. Forest Lea hosts XC bike races periodically each summer (and ski races in the winter). After a couple of hours on the trails we follow gravel roads to our Hotel in Cobden.

Accommodation: Hotel
Cycling distance: 58 km + Single-track distance
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 11

This morning we take the back roads from Cobden to the town of Renfrew for lunch. Renfrew was an important lumber and rail town on the Bonnechere River. This is where we meet the K&P Trail. The K&P was created on an abandoned rail bed that goes from Kingston to Pembroke. It’s our home for the next 3 days. The trail is wide with no steep sections and the surface varies from fine stone dust to long grass with lots of puddles. It travels through an amazing variety of land, with large rock cuts, forests, lakes, and open meadows. It’s a great way to get to the uninhabited areas of Ontario but still feel like civilization is accessible. Tonight we stay in the ski town of Calabogie and dine in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Hotel in Calabogie
Cycling distance: 61 km
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 12

This is our longest day on the bikes. We start with a short detour around Calabogie Lake (because the trail is now submerged) and pick up the K&P on the other side. From there, it’s all K&P Trail to our hotel in Sharbot Lake tonight. There are lots of opportunities for rest (and swim) breaks along the way. Our support vehicles will rendezvous with us at strategic road crossings to distribute food and top up our water bottles. Because the trail is so flat, we really feel like we’re going at a fast pace.

Accommodation: Hotel in Sharbot Lake
Cycling distance: 80 km
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 13

This is another long day but not too difficult because it’s flat. From Sharbot Lake, we start with a 12 km section on tarmac because the K&P is submerged and inaccessible. We then then veer onto the K&P again. We lunch at a village restaurant in Verona and then continue to Kingston, joining the Cataraqui Trail and the Rideau Trail and coming into the city from the west, along Lake Ontario. It’s one of the Great Lakes and you’ll feel like you’re on the ocean. Kingston is a beautiful and historic city, home to Queen’s University and (notoriously) Kingston Penitentiary (now closed). Tonight we have our final dinner together.

Accommodation: Hotel in Kingston
Cycling distance: 76 km
Meals included: B, L, D


Day 14

This morning, we use our bikes for an optional tour of Kingston for some last minute exploring or shopping. This can include a guided tour of Queen’s University and maybe a trip on the Wolf Island Ferry. After lunch, we transfer back to Ottawa (2.5 hours) for delivery to the location of your choice.

Cycling distance: Up to 10 km
Meals included: B, L

Cycling 480 km over 10 days = average of 48 km/day
Paddling 37 km over 4 days =  average of 9.5 km/day