A Wet and Wild Ride for Paddle The Don 2016

By Nicole Czorny

Our third paddle down Toronto’s Don River was the craziest one yet, with rain, rapids and rocks abound!

On Sunday, May 1, we joined 360 canoes and kayaks for the 23rd Annual Manulife Paddle The Don with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).

Offering a very unique perspective on the city and the Don River, Paddle The Don gives adventerous paddlers a chance to experience the river like few people ever have.

From the start of the paddle at Ernest Thompson Seton Park, the tree lined West Don River twists and turns its way to The Forks of The Don at Don Mills and the DVP, where the West and East Don River meet to form the Lower Don.

Along the way we encourted fast moving class III rapids, tight turns, mallards ducks and a nesting mute swan. As it was raining, we could see pipes pouring stormwater runoff straight into the river, and tried our best to dodge streams of roadwater runoff as it fell from the bridges above us.

Past the Forks of The Don at Winchester Street to the Keating Channel, the river was straighted in 1914 and offers a stark contrast to its relatively clean, naturalized and meandering upppers reaches.

In its 23 year, Paddle The Don has raised more than $600,000 to support environmental education programming, conservation efforts and public awareness, all in the name of a healthier Don River and Watershed. 

Check out our Storify to see pictures taken along the Don River, plus a few pics below that we were able to snap between the waves!

Paddle The Don By The Numbers
$600,000+ raised for a healthier Don River
200 volunteers help keep paddlers safe
360 boats
700+ paddlers
10.5 km in length
Class III rapids
3 weirs and portages

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