Experience the Canal as Its Builders Intended
The Shubenacadie Canal and Waterway has long been a great outing for recreational canoe and kayak trippers. It seems as if it was designed specifically for those who enjoy the idea of completing a wilderness route from start to finish. In more recent years, paddle boarding has also become a popular recreational experience on the stiller waters of Lake Banook and Shubie Park. At least one person has even completed the full route while swimming!
Canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals are available at Shubie Park. Visit our Canoe / Kayak Rentals page for more details.
For ideas on where to stay while paddling the canal, visit our Camping page.
Lake Banook serves as the logical beginning for a paddling excursion, with its calm waters and various public boat launch areas. The lake is only 1.5 km long and has lots of activity with competitive canoe/kayak races, as well as rowing. A number of rowing and aquatic clubs operate on the lake.
From Lake Banook, you can paddle directly into Lake Micmac. This lake is home to water skiers and jet-boats, which means more care must be taken to ensure safe paddling. The many coves, abundant wildlife, and the existence of the remnant canal structures make up for the extra care required.
From Lake Micmac, you will need to portage around Lock 2 to enter Shubie Park. Docks are conveniently located on each side. Within the park, you will need to portage again around Lock 3; once again, docks are located on each side, including an accessible dock on the upper side of the lock.
From Lock 3, you can continue through the Deep Cut up to Lake Charles. Lake Charles is also home to water skiers, but the lake is fairly long (4 km) and large enough to share with all user groups. There is an increasing number of recreational canoeists and kayakers on this lake.
At the end of Lake Charles, there is another portage at the former location of the Portobello Marine Railway. This is a long portage at 1.5 km, which can be difficult to make with large boats.
Lake William, Lake Thomas and Lake Fletcher are all surrounded by rural and woodland areas, making the trip a diverse experience. Landowners on the lakes may also be found enjoying the paddling opportunities. The local paddling club, Cheema, also uses Lake Thomas daily, as children enjoy the calm waters for training.
Once at the northern end of Lake Fletcher, a few short portages are required to access Grand Lake. This lake is very large and often too windy for paddling. If you stick the morning, when winds are calmer, you can reach the campground at Laurie Provincial Park.
From Laurie Provincial Park, you can paddle another 6.5 km north to the head of the Shubenacadie River, completing the lake section of the canal. It is in Sandy Cove, just past Oakfield Provincial Park, that the route opens into a pleasant 40 km of paddling down the meandering Shubenacadie River.
Once at the village of Shubenacadie, the tidal portion of the route begins. When the tidal bore comes into the river, it generates waves large enough to support whitewater rafting. Recreational canoeing becomes considerably more difficult during these times. You should take care to plan your journey through this part of the river during times of the day when the tidal bore is not at its height.
Canoe to the Sea
Canoe to the Sea is an annual event featuring paddlers of all skill levels. Visit our Canoe to the Sea page for more details.