Whether you lean toward edgy aqua sports or tranquil paddling, Ottawa Magazine has gear-sourcing ideas to suit.
When it comes to water fun, believe it or not, Canadian Tire offers products that extend beyond mere convenience. It’s hard to go wrong with a $1.99 water noodle, while the retailer’s Sevylor-brand inflatable towables are durable fun in a box. Dock hardware products such as cleats are as solidly constructed here as they are at other big-box competitors. And while the Pelican-brand kayaks sold at both urban and rural stores wouldn’t be classified as a premium product, they don’t come with a premium price tag, either. Keep your eyes open for end-of-season sales.
1661 Carling Ave., 613-725-3110 (plus many more throughout the region).
Boat owners will tell anyone who wants to listen — and quite a few of us who’d really rather not – about all the work they put into keeping their nautical babies in ship shape. The bread and butter of The Chandlery’s business is the nuts and bolts of this maintenance, but in addition to anchors, boat hooks, and replacement hinges, this Britannia retailer sells wakeboards, water skis, kite-surfing gear, dozens of inflatable towables, and even the Airhead BOB, a tow rope accessory that allows boaters to pull up to four tubers at once. What could possibly go wrong…
367 Poulin Ave., 613-820-7642.
Ottawa Boat & Sportsmen’s Show
It lasts only one weekend each year, but it’s Ottawa’s premier showcase for water sports. Held the third weekend in February at the EY Centre on Uplands Drive, the boat and sportsmen’s show offers a sneak peek at the water toys that will be catching your eye next summer. Whether you’re looking to paddle a new kayak, cast a fly rod, or shine up your classic mahogany cruiser, this show offers something for all tastes. It’s a perfect antidote to the winter blues for anyone longing for summer days on the lake. www.ottawaboatandsportshow.ca.
Sharky’s Scuba Supply
Our local lakes and rivers aren’t especially rich in specific snorkeling sites, but that doesn’t mean slapping on fins and a mask isn’t a great way to pass some time on a summer afternoon. That is, of course, unless you picked up a cheap facemask that doesn’t fit your face — or anyone’s really — and sends a steady stream of water gurgling into your nostrils. In snorkeling, proper gear really does make a difference. One of a handful of local dive shops that caters largely to divers heading south in winter, Sharky’s Scuba Supply sells quality snorkeling gear, offers skin-diving lessons, and has an online guide to local dive sites. There are even a few shipwrecks in water shallow enough for snorkelers to catch a glimpse.
1226 Wellington St. W., 613-728-0188.
Trailhead Paddle Shack
With more local rivers, canals, marshes, and lakes than any of us really care to count, nothing opens up our landscape quite like having a boat to paddle. And if you can paddle it, Trailhead likely sells it. This sprawling Westboro paddle shop is the offspring of a 1976 merger of two local guiding services caters to novices and intrepid paddlers alike. You’ll find kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and all the accessories you’ll need to make the most of them.
1960 Scott St., 613-722-4229.
Photography by Mike Last