An original and safe way to play on the Saint-Lawrence River during winter, ice canoeing is uniquely Québecois. It takes five (5) paddlers to paddle the canoe through open water. The canoe moves thanks to large oars – similar to those used in rowing.
When the river is ice-covered, the oars are left in the canoe and the canoe is pulled across the ice. Equipped with crampons, the five (5) canoers become “scooters”.
A particularly strong symbol of northern Québec, the ice canoe evokes the link that has always united the two banks of the river and its islands, whatever their climatic and environmental conditions.
After having been for a long time strictly utilitarian, the crossing of the St. Lawrence River in winter has become, thanks to the Quebec Winter Carnival, an emblematic sport that testifies to the strength, courage, daring and the incredible capacity of today’s canoers to adapt – a lot like those of yesterday.

Source : Naviguer en canot à glace, un patrimoine immatériel
Author : Richard Lavoie avec la collaboration de Bernard Genest

To ensure safe ice canoe outings, our guides follow strict safety protocols:

  • Analysis and anticipation of weather conditions
  • Ensure safe ice conditions
  • Analysis of tide scenarios
  • Current knowledge of maritime traffic
  • Extensive weekly inspections of boats and equipment

Each of our guides has Transport Canada-certified communications and distress equipment on them. The safety of all is our priority.

Am I physically fit enough for this? Ice canoeing doesn’t require any special skills, just a basic level of fitness. If you hike, ski, go to the gym every now and again, or cycle – you’ll be right at home in an ice canoe. Our guides adapt the outings to meet the skill and comfort level of each canoer. We just want you to have fun!

Will I be cold? If you’re in the boat, you’re helping it move and that means you’ll be warm in no time. And, thanks to all the rowing and “scootering”, you and your guides will quickly forget all about Québec’s cold winter.

Will I get wet? During an ice canoe trip, you’ll need to dip your feet into the icy waters of the Saint-Lawrence River. But, DON’T WORRY! Your neoprene socks and boots will protect your feet and calves from the cold. The rest of your body won’t even touch the water.

How do I dress? If you thought you’d be taking your first ice canoe trip wearing a Canada Goose, think agin. All you need is clothing similar to that used for cross-country skiing. The list of clothes you’ll need to bring (and wear) is listed in each of our experiences, like our Ice initiation.