do :: Canoeing on Pembina River


Last weekend, I was a little more adventurous than usual. I joined my sister and her friends on a canoeing trip along the Pembina River. It was a day full of fun that everyone in the city should try.

The canoes were rented from Totem Outdoor Outfitters. Six canoes and all the safety equipment we needed ended up being about $65/person. The adventure started at Pembina Provincial Park in Evansburg, and ended at Rangeton Campground. 

We packed lunch, snacks, and "river refreshments" in preparation for the long day. My brother-in-law's great advice: "It's like going to a punk show. Don't bring anything you're not prepared to lose." Based on previous trips, we expected it would take about 6 hours from start to finish. Since the water was pretty slow and we spent a little too much time with our canoes tied together floating, it actually took us 10 hours.


The Pembina River is quite gentle with constant bends and a mix of picturesque tall cliffs, rocky shores, and forest around each corner. As a group, we took breaks on the shore and alternated being individual canoes and connecting as a big floating group to share snacks, drinks, and jokes. At most points, we could touch the bottom with our paddles, and my canoe had an affinity for getting stuck in the shallow parts (related note: The canoe will undoubtedly tip if it's off balance, even if you're stopped on the side).

A healthy amount of "thrill" for a non-seeker like myself.

The whole day, I felt like I was in a Travel Alberta commercial.  Does anyone else get chills watching the (remember to breathe) commercials? 

Moral of the story: We should all take the time to appreciate the beauty and natural adventures we are lucky to have so close to home. Even if it involves 4 extra hours of paddling you weren't prepared to do.