Whitewater Canoe Courses

Moving Water Tandem Skills (Beginner to Intermediate) – 2 Days or 3 Days

This course is for you if you have control in flatwater and now want to improve your whitewater skills. You'll get experience running rapids and working with waves to get around the river. You can expect outstanding instruction with lots of individual attention, fun and full days on the water, and a great course!   

Challenge yourself. Try new techniques with the supervision and encouragement of experienced instructors—and learn about safety and hazards so you can make good decisions. Whether you are getting ready for a river expedition or you just want to have more fun, more finesse, and more skills for river running, this training will help get you there.

Topics and skills include:

  • whitewater maneuvers
  • carving
  • surfing
  • running rapids
  • setting safety
  • assessing risk
  • rescue techniques

'Elective' topics include:

  • advanced whitewater skills for bigger water
  • tripping skills for heavily-loaded boats

Amazing training spots

When you join a course on the Upper Gatineau or Magnetawan River, you're guaranteed fantastic training spots. With everything from easy moving water to technical rapids to big wave trains, these are awesome canoe playgrounds.  


  • Two days - 339 CAD/person
  • Three days - 459 CAD/person

What's included?

  • Full days of professional instruction
  • Free camping
  • Group safety equipment including first aid kits & rescue gear
  • An incredible course on an amazing river!

Paddle Canada certification is available with your course. You can discuss which level you are aiming for with your instructor and acheive Moving Water Tandem Skills Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. These are equivalent to ORCKA Moving Water Level 1A or Level 2A.

It is 20 CAD for optional certification. This includes a laminated wallet card and entry into the Paddle Canada database.

If you'd like ORCKA or Fédération Québécoise du Canot et du Kayak (FQCK) certification instead, we can arrange that too. 


Rivers and course sites 

Choose between the Magnetawan River in Ontario or the Upper Gatineau River in Quebec. Both offer fantastic and fun rapids.

Upper Gatineau River

The Upper Gatineau is a beautiful stretch of wilderness river about 100km upstream of Ottawa/Gatineau between the towns of Maniwaki and Bouchette. This section has great whitewater all season long. 

You’ll meet us and park at our main camp on the west side of the river. We’ll paddle to various locations on the river both upstream and downstream from the camp for different training sessions. Sometimes, depending on water levels and the group, we paddle the whole Upper Gatineau and drive back up. 


Plan A - Free on-site camping

Those staying on-site bring their own camping equipment and food and Boreal River Rescue will provide group shelters, a ‘camp kitchen’ with drinking water, barbeque, stove and tables. Don’t forget your toque and sweater for relaxing evenings around the campfire.

Plan B - Stay or live elsewhere in the region

Bring a lunch and snacks to the river every day.

Two hotels in Maniwaki (20 minutes from course meeting location) with nearby restaurants offer our students a discounted rate:

Magnetawan River

Our base and meeting location is the Ahmic Lake Resort (4km from Ahmic Harbour, Ontario - between Burk's Falls and Parry Sound). This is a great setup for a paddling course: there are tons of good canoeing rapids and training spots in the area and you can either camp for free onsite or rent one of the comfortable cottages.

The ‘Mag’ flows from its headwaters in Algonquin Park to the Georgian Bay. You'll paddle fun whitewater. You can challenge yourself at rapids like Poverty Bay, Sellers Canyon, Ross's, and Cody's.

There are a number of different spots on the river that we can drive to within 20 minutes. Sometimes we'll carpool to a great series of rapids where we can spend the whole day. Other days we'll paddle right from our base at Ahmic Lake, down Shadow Creek, into the Mag, and run the whole section down to Cody's Rapid or Maple Island.


Option A - Free on-site camping 

Those staying on-site bring their own camping equipment and food. Boreal River will provide group shelters, a ‘camp kitchen’ with drinking water, barbeque, stove and tables. Also on site are bathrooms, hot showers, coin laundry, and Swiss Country House Restaurant & Old Mill Licensed Lounge.

Option B – Rent a cottage or stay elsewhere in the region 

Bring a lunch and snacks to the river every day.

Ahmic Lake Resort
A variety of cottages with full kitchens are available. Boreal River students get special rates for stays of three nights or more. 

1-866-857-7946 / (705) 387-3853
[email protected]

Quiet Bay Log Motel
3 kms from Ahmic Lake Resort, offers 20% off for BRR students' 3rd and 4th nights. They have a restaurant for breakfast and a hot tub for relaxing after a day on the river.
1-877-224-8235 / (705) 387-0115
[email protected] 


Please bring appropriate clothing and equipment to be comfortable in and around the water for prolonged periods. Refer to your ‘student information package’ for a complete list specific to your course.

Equipment rentals are available.

For the river

  • Whitewater tandem canoe

Bring a fully outfitted canoe with thigh straps, kneepads, and airbags. If you aren't sure about the appropriateness of your canoe, please contact us. You can rent a canoe from us for $30/person (for the whole course). 

  • Whitewater canoe paddle(s)

You can rent a paddle from us for 20 CAD. We have a range of sizes in fibreglass whitewater paddles in models such as the Werner Luna. You can bring a spare paddle but we will provide several for the group as well.

  • Whitewater Helmet - bring one or rent one for $10.
  • Personal flotation device (PFD)

​You need a whitewater-appropriate personal flotation device (PFD). It needs to be in good condition and fit properly. For this course you can rent a PFD for $10.

  • Wetsuit or drysuit

A wetsuit or drysuit is necessary for courses before mid-June or past September 1st. You can rent a full length wetsuit (fleece-lined with full arms and legs) for $55 or an 'overall style' wetsuit (farmer jane/john style) for $25.

  • Paddling jacket or drytop

This is a windproof and splash proof layer that will help keep you warm on cool or windy days. For this course you can rent a paddling jacket from us for $10.

  • River shoes

The ideal river shoe has full toe covering and is supportive but also lightweight and draining with a grippy sole. This could be a model made specifically for the river or a lightweight running shoe. Neoprene shoes can work if they have enough support and traction. Neoprene socks or booties are not adequate.

  • Base layers, insulation, and socks

Make sure to have several of layers of socks, pants, and tops made of wool, fleece, polyester, or another synthetic material to wear in addition to your wetsuit or drysuit or to be worn on their own on sunny days and in warm water.

  • Surf shorts
  • Lunch, snacks and water bottle or thermos

Keeping yourself fueled and hydrated is one of the keys to staying warm and happy. High-calorie snacks like chocolate bars and cereal bars are great to keep in your pfd.

  • Sunscreen, lip protection, bug repellent 
  • Small drybag or container to carry food and extra layers 
  • River rescue equipment and throw bag (optional)

Bring any rescue equipment that you’d like to try out on the course.

  • Neoprene gloves (optional)
  • Sunglasses or prescription glasses with strap (optional)

​For on land

  • Comfortable clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sun hat, visor, or baseball cap
  • Rain gear to wear on land before and after the river
  • Gear bag or container to store your river equipment for transport

For those camping on site

You will have use of a ‘camp kitchen’ with drinking water, barbeque, stove, tables, and common sheltered areas. Please bring biodegradable soaps and hygiene products. Note that the Upper Gatineau River course site does not have showers or bathrooms, however there is an outhouse. 

  • Meals, cooler, dishes, and cooking equipment. (Upper Gatineau River: Closest supermarket is 20 minutes away. Magnetawan River: Bring groceries as the small grocery stores in the area are usually not open after or before our course hours.)
  • Tent, sleeping bag, mattress, pillow
  • Extra clothing
  • Towel / camp towel
  • Headlamp / flashlight
  • Personal hygiene products and medications

Get professional instruction and certification at your location or bring your group to us. Our instructors customize the instruction to meet your goals and needs. 

Visit the group training page to find out more.


Combine your paddling course with whitewater rescue or wilderness medicine training to ensure you’re prepared for any situation. 

From the 2-day Whitewater Rescue (WWR) Levels I & II to our 5 or 8-day Wilderness First Responder, our courses are intensive, hands-on and engaging.

See all wilderness medicine or whitewater & swiftwater rescue courses.


Upcoming Courses

"This course was the highlight of our paddling season. Alex is a brilliant teacher."

- Jeff Wright - Ottawa area paddler

Intermediate Whitewater Canoe Course, Gatineau River, 2015