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Brantford, Ontario, Canada, 2006/09/23 - Canoe, kayak or raft trip the Grand River to experience sightings of Canadian wildlife within an hour drive of Toronto. See the returned presence of wild species once gone from the Grand River Valley with an evening paddle.
The Carolinian Forest along the shores of the Grand River has the largest diversity of plants and wildlife in Canada. The best way to see wildlife is with a quiet evening drift on the river. Having a guide knowledgeable of where to look increases the opportunity of observing animals and birds. Once trained on where to look and how to distinguish shapes, amazes everyone.
Creatures absent twenty years ago are being sighted… even the locals are in disbelief. The bald eagle is back, the fishing ospreys are nesting and the extinct turkeys abound. There are snarling possums, random sleek otters and an abundance of beaver. Fish populations have changed with the migration of steelhead trout and increase in smallmouth bass. As the varieties of species in the food chain expand, there is an increase response from the predators above.
There is also the regular wildlife to view. In the sky soar the huge turkey vultures, the echoing geese and chattering kingfishers. The whitetail deer populations are abundant in the valley and often visible along the river in the evening and early spring. On moonlight paddles there are coyotes howling, horned owls hooting and large blue herons croaking. There are mink fishing, raccoons washing clams and a choir of frogs and toads to hear.
Traveling in the middle of the river allows minimum disturbance to observe wildlife. Rafts are an excellent vehicle for families and non-water people to safely travel in. There is presently one company offering guided evening paddles on a regular schedule in the Grand River valley. It is called the Grand River Rafting Company and is based in the Paris/ Brantford area. They offer guided evening services with canoes, kayaks and rafts. There are even platform raft drifts with deckchairs for those wishing to sit and observe. The trips are 2 to 3 hours in length and are designed to fit the busy travelers’ time frame.
For visitors from Europe, Asia and around the world, the nearness of this wilderness to Toronto is an excellent opportunity to experience a piece of Canadian outdoors. The Grand River is one hour from the Toronto Airport and 10 minutes off the 403 Highway. There are hotels, B&B’s and campsites for individuals and couples, just fifteen minutes away from the river. There is also a family/group Bed & Breakfast called River Ridge which can accommodate up to 12 visiting people. There are nearby restaurants, fast food and grocery stores to satisfy the appetite of anyone.
The Grand River (grandriverrafting.ca) is nature’s safari route through the wilderness of Southern Ontario. A guided paddle through this Carolinian forest is worth the visit. It is just a short distance from Toronto with a maximum Canadian wildlife experience for all.