Top Beaches for StandUp Paddleboarding - SUP - in Toronto Posted on 02 Feb 08:53 , 0 comments
Our Favourite Places to SUP - Paddle Toronto
All of these destinations have their pros and cons but they're all relatively easy to get to, and pretty darn enjoyable once you're there. Let me know what YOU think.Best Places to SUP in Toronto's East End
Kew/Balmy Beach is our favourite place for StandUp Paddleboarding. Ok, it's just a half block from our house and Matt Helfrich teaches SUP lessons - and - rents SUP boards there, but it IS a great beach. There are 5 separate coves, each with it's own personality. Slightly different depths at shore, more or less sheltered from wind & waves, rocky or sandy bottoms. But when there's a stiff wind, it can get too rough for beginners.
There's street parking but it's tough finding a spot on sunny summer days. Why not take the 501 Queen streetcar to Maclean Avenue and walk down 3 blocks to the water. When you're done SUP'n, stop in at the Beacher Cafe at the top of the street.
Woodbine Beach (often mistakenly called Ashbridges Bay) is at the extreme western edge of the Toronto Beaches and it's a great place to swim or SUP. It's a long, shallow, sandy beach, so this is where most of the swimmers are. Stay outside of the white 'swim zone' buoys or you'll get a frosty 'heads up' from the lifeguards. On the beach there are acres of sand and plenty of free space for catching some rays. When there's been a storm out of the east, there are sometimes surfable waves.
Take Lakeshore Blvd to Northern Dancer and turn into the parking lot at the Boardwalk Cafe. As soon as you're in the lot, turn left and go as far East as you can to get the shortest walk to the water. Paid Parking. Or get to Woodbine Subway Station and take 92 Woodbine South Bus to 1816 Lake Shore Blvd East stop near the Sommerville Olympic Pool. If you need anything for your day at the beach, stop in at BEACH TOYZ first. They're @ 1887 Qeen, on the southeast corner of Queen and Woodbine, 2 doors East of Pizza Pizza.
Bluffer's Park Beach is only 15 minutes east of the Toronto Beaches. Take Kingston Road to Brimley Rd. South. Go south down Brimley and follow the road as it veers to the left near the bottom of the hill. Go as far as you can go to the East. Park your car and take a short walk to the Beach. Another big, long, sandy shore with a sandy bottom and shallow water. And the Bluffs themselves provide a natural scenic backdrop. One of the best places to SUP surf when there's a strong wind pushing waves from South, East, and sometimes West.
Tip: take a walk around the headlands past the west edge of the beach. If there's surf, its often better over there.
Another tip: If you can get a pickup at Bluffers, it's a great downwind run on your SUP Paddleboard from Kew/Balmy Beach to Bluffers Beach when the prevailing westerlies are blowing. About 4 miles and 1 - 2 hours depending on skill level, wind and waves.
Cherry Beach SUP-ing at Cherry Beach is great because it's sheltered from South and easterly winds by the Leslie Street spit. It's just a short paddle to the Outer Harbour portion of the remote Tommy Thompson Park and wildlife preserve. It's also as close as you can get to the East side of the Toronto Harbour - and its about a 20 minute paddle to the Toronto Islands.
Tip: it can get busy with kitesurfers and windsurfers when the wind is really blowing.
Take Cherry Street south from the Lakeshore and drive to the bottom. Turn left to the parking area if you want to paddle inside the bay. Or if you're heading over to Toronto Island via the Eastern Gap, try to find a parking spot to the right - it's a shorter paddle. Parking is free. There's also bus service via Pape Subway Station. Take the 72B bus all the way down to Cherry Beach. Check to make sure it's the right bus and that there's a return trip when you want to come home.
Rouge Park Beach isn't the prettiest beach around but it's a great place to SUP. That's because it's located at the mouth of the Rouge River, where it provides access to Canada's first National Urban Park, the Rouge Valley Park. At 10,000 acres, this is an enormous tract of land and wetlands. It's also a great place for StandUp Paddleboarding. Instead of hiking through the park, try looking at if from the deck of your SUP.
Tip: In August 2012 the wetlands water level was too low to paddle upriver from the mouth. Conditions in Rouge River are better in early summer. The Rouge Beach is accessible all summer but totally exposed to wind and waves. Best on a calm day. Don't forget to bring your camera!
The Toronto Islands have a great mix of protected flatwater canals, open water beaches and magnificent views of the Toronto Skyline. So regardless of wind or wave activity it's a safe bet that you'll find a route to suit the conditions. To get there: park at Cherry Beach and paddle across the Eastern Gap channel. Be aware that there's some traffic from large vessels and a noticeable current. But it's only about a 1. Km paddle to the Wards Island Ferry Docks and the protected channel behind it. If you're not up for the challenge of crossing the Eastern Gap you can always just take a ferry to the Toronto Islands and rent your paddleboard from Toronto Island SUP. TISUP also does Paddleboard Lessons and tours.
Tip: On long weekends TISUP can be fully booked, so it's best to go online and reserve in advance. And don't forget to bring your camera!
Where to rent or buy SUP - StandUp Paddleboard gear In Toronto?
You can rent or buy everything to SUP Paddle Toronto at Beach Toyz of course. Located on Queen Street in the Toronto Beaches, we carry super-rigid, extremely high-quality inflatable SUP-boards by world famous Red Paddle Co. (they are the best-made & best selling inflatable brand in the world). They pack up into an awesome travel bag with rollers AND back pack straps. No need to wrestle them onto the top of your car. You can throw a couple in the trunk for a weekend at the cottage or take it on an airplane as checked luggage. We rent AND sell everything to do with StandUp Paddleboards and lots of other cool grownup toys for the beach or cottage.