White water rafting in the heart of the city
Published Friday, June 20, 2014 5:18PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 20, 2014 7:14PM EDT
Now you can go white water rafting right in the heart of the nation’s capital.
Ottawa City Adventures is offering Ottawa’s - and quite possibly Canada’s - first-ever urban white water rafting adventure.
The new company, in partnership with Wilderness Tours, has set up a river raft tour that starts at Britannia Beach and ends near Lemieux Island, just west of downtown. The trip typically takes around two and a half hours.
The man behind the idea is Dave Stibbe, a former Wilderness Tours employee in the Upper Ottawa Valley – a mecca for rafters, kayakers and other paddlers. After a couple of canoe trips he began to wonder why no one was taking advantage of the rapids on the urban part of the river. "Unbelieveable! It was in the middle of the City. How come nobody does this? And that was my thought exactly. Why does nobody do this?"
They do now. Stibbe's raft tours cross three sets of rapids, Deschenes Rapids, Remic Rapids, and Little Chaudiere Rapids. None are as big as the rapids he used to run further upriver. While he acknowledges they have proven dangerous on occasion, he says they are quite safe with the proper equipment and experienced guides, making it an ideal introduction for first-timers. “With us it’s absolutely safe. Our guides could actually run the rapids sideways in our big 20-foot rafts and nothing would happen to you,” he says.
There are plenty of calm, scenic stretches along the way and even a chance to get out and body surf the rapids at one point. Along the way guides offer up tidbits of Ottawa’s history and geography.
The river adventure is open to anyone aged 6 and up. The cost is $49 for adults, $39 for children 6 to 12. Stibbe hopes to run rafts right up to Thanksgiving weekend.