I left my car in Cambridge, took GRT transit to the launch at Freeport, and had a pretty nice 3.5 hour paddle down the Grand River. Could do this with another person watching the gear at Freeport, but I did it solo with my ORU folding kayak.
At the end of Todd Street, there is on-street parking on one side and a fire hydrant on the other. Be careful to not block the path going in both directions along the river.
What I did was park here, walk my ORU folding kayak and gear to the nearest 302 express bus stop (10 minutes walk, at the Delta intersection), and caught the bus to Freeport Hospital (about 40 minutes on the bus, no transfers). That let me off just 50 feet from the water at the side of the bridge, just opposite from Canoeing the Grand.
I had a 17.5km paddle down to Cambridge. Total cost: $3.50 bus fare, and about an hour of time.
Overall paddle rating: 7 out of 10.
- Waiting up to 30 minutes for the bus, was OK but not great
- A caution that the long-term construction on the 401 at the overpass is NOT marked in advance.
- There are signs on either side saying "ACTIVE CONSTRUCTION SITE DO NOT LEAVE VESSEL" but getting close enough to read it might be too close for comfort depending on the construction!
- On the Saturday I went, there was no construction activity.
- Be careful of underwater hazards- off to the side near the left-hand sign, I saw what looked like a long piece of rebar partly underwater, with weeds and garbage on it, which might have been a strainer if I got too close. I didn't see anything else dangerous, but I was pretty busy trying to figure out the water.
- The waterway is a narrowish chute through a restricted waterway under a temporary bridge. It looked lower than it was, due to the overall size- there was fully enough headroom. The water was fast and choppy.
Portage on the left side at the weir 2km downstream from the start. Well-marked 1km away, and 100m away with the exit point. The entrance below the dam is a bit overgrown but it's the only path down to the water just below the dam.
- Trip Dates: 9/9/2023
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water, Open Water/Ocean, River/Creek (Up to Class II)
- Number of Portages: 1