Paddling Canada’s Historic Rideau Canal to Relaxing Bed and Breakfasts

Kayak shot

Imagine packing a kayak with a few clothes, then paddling from Bed and Breakfast to Bed and Breakfast along a unique and beautiful waterway during a weekend. That’s exactly what outdoorsman/freelance writer Gary Trott did recently, taking his kayak up Ontario’s 175 year-old Rideau Canal.    “The Rideau Canal is a marvelous marriage of natural wonders, huge engineering feats, and historical significance,” Trott explains. Built as an alternate route between Montreal and Kingston in case the Americans blockaded the St. Lawrence River –as they did during the War of 1812 – the Rideau is now a recreational playground stretching 120 miles from Ottawa to Kingston. “Very little has changed over the years,” says Trott. “Why, the wooden locks still use the original iron hand-cranked gates!

So where did Gary Trott stay during his one-man paddle through history? He revealed them to, and now we’re happy to reveal them to you!       

ShangrilalodgeThe Shangri-La Lodge & Marina: Much More Than a Fishing Camp!  “On Whitefish Lake at Elgin, Ontario, I caught my first glimpse of the Shangri-La Lodge & Marina. Broad manicured lawns are bordered by a wide wharf and lots of boat accommodation, including a fuel dock,” says Trott. Popular as a fishing camp, the Shangri-La incorporates the site’s original log cabin in its restaurant and bar.

“Shangri-La’s location is idyllic,” he adds. “The waterfront deck/bar is an ideal place to appreciate the river view. The rooms are clean. Niceties include, satellite TV, air conditioning, a sitting area, and a fridge. I visited a large suite with five bedrooms. ‘Bullwinkle’ (a huge moose head), graces an equally large living room that also boasts a foosball table, couches, and everything to make the group of guys staying there very happy.”

White House at Chaffey’s Lock:  A Friendly Alternative to its Washington DC Namesake
“Located near Chaffey’s Lock, the White House B&B is strikingly neat and clean with a great big deck out front,” Trott says. It’s a white clapboard house whose interior exudes restful country charm. “I was exhausted from paddling all day, but Jim Swartz, the part owner, made me feel relaxed and welcome in no time!”

“I was given the Grand Tour. Four bedrooms, a big living/dining room, space to stretch out, lots of trees outside, and this place is not just clean, it’s spotless! I am a relatively independent person, and I wondered how comfortable I’d be without mindless TV. (Okay, I am a shallow person too.)  But with Jim around you don’t need a TV. We sat downstairs engaged in great animated conversation about a ton of stuff… They brought in Loraine the next morning to fix breakfast. Loraine is kind of like a lady from the “Sound Of Music”. From outstanding egg casseroles, to simple fare, if you want it, she and Connie will make it.”

Stirling Lodge: A Fishing Lodge/B&B with All the Right Touches
StirlingLocated on Newboro Lake with buildings dating back to 1832, “the Stirling Lodge is a wonderful, roomy place to stay,” says Gary.” My room was huge, with a king bed, chairs armoires, dressers, living room area and a big bathroom. It even had pink curtains, which I thought was strange for a fishing lodge!”

“Dinner downstairs was superb, with Roast Beef, Walleye with Almonds, (popular), and Pepper Steak. Everyone was talking fishing, and yet in a big room full of males there was not one word of profanity, and no one was rude or obnoxious!” The Stirling Lodge is also famous for its fishing, and relaxed, low-key style of life. It was the perfect conclusion for Gary Trott’s Rideau Canal adventure.

Still undecided? Browse through the 19,000 B&Bs and country inns that specialize in other events and locations that may interest you. Many of the properties listed above are also in the best-selling bed and breakfast guidebook Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns with a Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate. ILoveinns also offers Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificates, a perfect solution to help celebrate any occasion.