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Christopher Greaves

Orangeville

Sunday, May 19, 2013

An ideal spot for beginners, or those who don't own a canoe, or for the day when you have only the morning (or (only the afternoon) to spare.

Orangeville is about 60 kilometres north of Toronto Airport. Directions: From Highway 401, take Highway 410 north. Highway 410 morphs into Highway 10. Observe the local drivers observing the speed limit. They have good reason.

Christopher Greaves Orangeville_001.JPG

The Island Lake Conservation Area is poorly signposted. You will want to be in the red-circled area shown on the map above.

Christopher Greaves Orangeville_002.JPG

The entry lane runs not off Highway 10, not off Highway 9 (which is the yellow route arriving from the east, but off the spur of old Highway 9.

From Highway 10, if you're coming from Toronto, turn RIGHT when everyone else turns Left to travel up The Broadway - Orangeville's other main street. The second turn on your left, running north, is labeled "Hurontario Street"; that's where you want to be.

Note that the old Highway 9 (large orange rectangle to the right) offers no access if you are arriving from the east on Highway 9. (1)

Prices may vary; we paid $5 per person to enter the area and park. We rented a canoe (a tub, really, but ideal for us) at $20 per hour with a $50 deposit.

For the cautious non-canoeist you can rent a small pontoon boat with motor for $60 per half-day and put-put-put electrically around the lake.

Lifejackets, bailing can and lightweight paddles are provided.

We launched from the sandy beach rather than from the wooden dock and had a rollicking (but not row locking!) good time, paddling into the wind, towards the eastern end of The Broadway, then back with the wind.

Island Lake is formed by two dams that have converted a swamp into a lake, dotted with islands. Strangely the lake is not named because it has islands, but after an original settler to the area.

Christopher Greaves Orangeville_HPIM5711.JPG

The stretch of lake from the boat-launch/rental area away to the north east leads towards a wildlife area, but you'll be well out of sight there.

On a weekend, beginners can paddle where we did - the lobe of lake to the south-west of the rental area, for in this area are many folks fishing from electric-motor boats; if you DO capsize, there's always someone close enough to haul you out, or at least, another boat to hang on to until the wardens scoot out to get you!

(1) Which is why, on my first visit, I arrived from Toronto, managed to drive northwards up the western side of the lake, East across the top, South down the eastern side to reach Highway 9, then West back to my starting point on Highway 10 without ever seeing an entrance to a popular conservation area.


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