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PaddleFoot History

PaddleFoot was founded in 1996 by a group of individuals with a passion for the outdoors. From the beginning, PaddleFoot has sought to provide an environment where individuality complements community, and a journey by canoe always provides the ideal setting.

More than an adventure company, PaddleFoot strives to make a positive difference in many areas. School programs for groups from eight to eighty began in 1997. Today more and more schools, public and private, are catching on to PaddleFoot’s unique brand of experiential education. From city green spaces to wilderness thickets, PaddleFoot uses the natural environment to show the interconnectedness and interdependence of ecological/environmental systems and of social groups. In 2002, PaddleFoot began a relationship with the York Region District School Board and The Learning Center to provide high school credit programs for Ontario Secondary School students.

To promote safety in the adventure community, PaddleFoot has adopted the highest safety standards. To ensure quality courses would be available to wilderness guides, PaddleFoot guide school trained its first river guides in 1998. Each guide receives a minimum of 72 hours first aid training, and many are Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians. Some guides are instructors for Wilderness Medical Associates, the company that trains the FBI. Swiftwater Rescue Technicians are on all PaddleFoot river trips. Guides complete an intensive preseason training course specific to PaddleFoot’s programs. Extended expeditions carry state-of-the-art satellite beacons. PaddleFoot trips have a high staff to tripper ratio, so individuals receive lots of attention around the campsite, on the trail and on the water!

The PaddleFoot staff are the backbone of the program. They are talented individuals who have something interesting to add to the trip experience. Besides the wealth of safety qualifications, PaddleFoot guides are chosen for their compassion, humour, their passion for the outdoors, and the desire to share something of what they know with others. They are experienced in meeting the needs of people getting used to wilderness living. Some guides have come up through the ranks of trippers at PaddleFoot and are graduates of the Wilderness Leadership Program, a summer long guide training program for young adults.

In the Beginning, PaddleFoot ran a summer program of three trips totalling 42 nights. Today, PaddleFoot has its offices  at our new lodge near Dorset. Programs for schools run from September to May, and the bulk of first aid and rescue courses run in May and June, and September. Summer canoe trips for kids, adults and families run from June to August. International Trips run from November to April.

We are very proud of the site and look forward to providing a top quality experience at the lodge with its private lake and mature hardwood forest.