New Brunswick’s canoe history is a tale of scenic rivers and bountiful sport, a culture and tradition that garnered wooden canoes such as Millers or Chestnuts to be taken on wild adventures. Today, there’s still a myriad experience of great paddling across the province and it’s no secret, canoes are the perfect way to explore the valleys and lakes.

Poling up the Tobique River near Nictau, New Brunswick. Photo/ David Jackson

New Brunswick is well known for shallow, swift rivers, and big lakes. For the First Nations or settlers alike, traveling up, down, and across these bodies of water was an essential skill. In Nictau, New Brunswick, home to Miller Canoes, one can test their skills poling up the Tobique River. While modern, high-rocker boats are suitable for most outings, a wooden Miller was designed for just these rivers characteristics. Flat hulls and wide bases help you stand upright with a long pole made from spruce to maneuver you around. The best part, from Nictau, you can float and steer down through beautiful countryside to Riley Brook Store. The brave might pole back up.

Grand Lake has an abundance of dramatic raised beaches and is a hidden gem for paddlers in New Brunswick. Photo/ David Jackson

If you’re looking for sprawling campsites on raised beaches and the thrills of open water, Grand Lake is the perfect escape just a short drive from Fredericton. Sunrises emerge from a broad horizon — a stark contrast from the river valleys, which have a more mountainous feel — and with warm waters in the summer time, there’s a dreamy trip just far enough from the city bustle.

Much of the Kedgwick River is a beautiful float over crystal clear water. Photo/ David Jackson

For those who want the purist experiences that New Brunswick has to offer, the Kedgwick River is a paddler’s fairy tale. With crystal-clear water, swift after swift, and salmon spotting in the pools, the river feels like a step back in time. Rocky gravel bars anchor picturesque campsites. And best part of all, Arpin Canoe will handle all your logistics so you can just enjoy the magic.


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Photographer David Jackson‘s film on Nictau, New Brunswick’s curious canoe gathering, ‘Fiddles on the Tobique,’ as well as a photo feature on Miller Canoes, Canada’s oldest canoe manufacturer.