When people enter Big Creek, they know they are paddling a different river.This little explored river in Southern Ontario, is narrow, with moving current. Big Creek averages two meters deep, and is about 15 meters wide. It is surrounded by a lush forest of cascading green. Instead of sky, there is a treed canopy… thus the name “Canadian Amazon”.
This is a river of trees… one paddles under them… winds around them… glides through them… and sometimes crawl over them. It is the only trip where people at the end have to dump leaves out of their canoe.There is such an unexpected wildness here… it is so absolutely different from anything else paddled.
The only downside of this Amazon canoe trip, is the bugs. Deer flies and mosquitoes hover near… so come equipped with spray and long sleeves. Paddling in early spring or mid September offer the best times to beat this problem.
The Big Creeks headwaters, are south of the village called Burford. The river flows through the sand plains of Norfolk, with Delhi being the only major town on route. But Delhi is still too far north for paddling. One wants to head down to the Deer Creek Conservation Area or lower to enter this river. On Regional Rd 60 just below the village of Walsingham is a Long Point Authority canoe/kayak launch. This river winds, so County Rd 42 (Port Royal) is a good ending point.
If wishing a marsh-lake paddling experience, then putting in at Port Royal and paddling to the Long Point isthmus or bay is another unique experience.
As one paddles out of Big Creek into the Long Point Marsh… the sky opens. The marsh is a place of fascination. This treeless paradise is full of plants. A world of red-wing black birds in song… abundant with waterfowl, fish, amphibians and reptiles.
There is the thrill of gliding over shallow places where one could never walk. The fly/mosquito problem is significantly less. But on a windy day, paddling the waves in the marsh is not an enjoyable experience. Better to stick to the hidden interior of Big Creek.
Presently, there are no day canoe or kayak rentals available in the Big Creek area. There is one company called Long Point Eco-Adventures offering half day guided paddling trips by canoe and kayak on Big Creek. Their guided trips are around 3 hours and offer an introduction to paddling this Canadian Amazon setting.
An important point to note is, there are no local taxi services available in the area for return shuttles. If bringing one’s own boats, it is best to take two vehicles to park at the start and end point. The company that offers the guided canoe/kayak trips may offer shuttle services, but this information is not known.
This Big Creek trip, though in southern Ontario, is on the remote side. This river is best handled in a canoe, but kayaks are good too. There is not a high volumes of paddling traffic. There are no local sporting good stores, taxi services or boat day rentals. So to enjoy this unique Amazon paddle… arrive prepared!