Paris, on the banks of the Grand River, just over an hour southwest of Toronto, makes a great outdoor destination.
The Grand Experience, the popular local canoe and kayak outfitters offers self-guided canoe and kayak tours from various points on the Grand River back to Paris.
The most popular tour departs from Glen Morris Park just off the excellent bike path. Travel time is anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending on your paddling speed, how many times you dump in the rapids and /or how often you stop to photograph the herons and birds of prey.
Hitting a rock or entering a rapid sideways can cause the craft to capsize. Best to tackle these faster waters head on with the front man keeping low, paddle inside the boat holding on to both sides to provide balance. If you’re inexperienced in white water of any class, best to leave the kids, cameras, pets and other valuables onshore.
Those who can live without the thrills take in the Grand River from the safety of the second floor patio of the Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe while enjoying the excellent salads and homemade apple fritters with ice cream and a shot of espresso.
A self-guided walking tour of Paris’ cobblestone buildings, antique markets at the fairgrounds and cycling paths connecting Paris with nearby Brantford and Cambridge give ample opportunities to explore the rolling hills, farmlands and woods.
Golfers are in luck here. The Paris Grand Golf course is a well-groomed, scenic course of constant elevation changes so that no two holes are alike. The course design expertly combines woodlands, ponds, the Grand River, rolling green fields, forced carries and multiple sand bunkers to create a fun and challenging track.
Playing this course allows golfers to try other area courses at half price. Green fees start at $34.00. Partner courses offer $20.00 Tuesdays and “two fore one” Mondays.
Weekend evening entertainment (weather permitting) is courtesy of Judy Acri, owner of the Asa Wolverton House Bed and Breakfast , who projects recently released films on the 20’x30′ “screen” – the broad side of her historic dwelling. Film screenings are open to guests, locals and visitors alike who sit on the large side lawn bordering the river.
Judy’s signature accommodation sits on the other side of town in a beautifully restored creamery. Riverlane, a high-ceiling, two bedroom retreat with its own hot tub is a fully equipped, open concept apartment that’s perfect for romantic getaways but spacious enough for families.
For more information on the home of Wayne Gretzky, Alexander Graham Bell or E. Pauline Johnson, contact Tourism Brantford at 1.800.265.6299.