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Leisure Kayaking

Leisure kayaking is a recreational activity in which participants paddle a small boat. Typically, participants use double-bladed paddles and face forward in a seated position. Being compact and lightweight, kayaks usually hold no more than four people. There are a number of different variations of kayak, including “sit-on-top” kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and vessels which have been fitted with sails. Kayaks are highly adaptable vehicles, which lends to their varied use.

Is this activity known by any other names?


What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Kayaks were developed by Indigenous hunters in subarctic regions of the world, predominantly North America, Siberia, and Greenland. While primarily a hunting vessel, kayaks were sometimes used for transportation. In the 20th Century, kayaking became a popular Canadian leisure activity.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages and ethnocultural backgrounds can take part in this activity.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Kayaking is typically practiced in the summer months in the GTA. However, some kayakers train year round in swimming pools.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Argonaut Rowing Club; The Boulevard Club; Hanlan Boat Club; Mississauga Canoe Club; Richmond Hill Canoe Club; Toronto Island Canoe Club; Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club

Cultural Significance

Kayaking is an important part of Inuit heritage. Kayaking is a sport which Canadians excel at in international competitions, including the Summer Olympic Games.


  • Centre Island
    Toronto Islands
    Toronto, ON M5J 2E9
  • Ward's Island Beach
    Ward's Island
    Toronto, ON M5J
  • Mississauga Canoe Club
    31 Front St N
    Mississauga, ON L5H 2E1
  • The Balmy Beach Canoe Club
    10 Ashbridges Bay Park Rd
    Toronto, ON M4L 3W6
  • Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club
    1391 Lakeshore Rd W
    Toronto, ON M6K 3C1

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