Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 22, 2022
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The fast and the furious

The nation’s river guides tackle these frothing currents like concert maestros. You can have the best seat in the house

Navigating a churning mess of a river through Canada’s wildest regions always seemed like the perfect job. Since employment as a river guide isn’t in the cards for me, I entrust my safe passage to the nation’s river elite and dream about my next whitewater journey. Below, some river rafting destinations on my must-do list.

Shubenacadie River, NS
Instead of standing on the shore watching Bay of Fundy’s world-famous high tides come in, I’d rather ride this surprisingly turbulent phenomenon. Who knew there was such a thing as tidal bore rafting? tel: 800-856-5061;

West Magpie River, QC
Plunging from the Labrador Plateau across boreal forest to the Saint Lawrence River, the Magpie is one of those wild gotta-see Canadian rivers. This year, the seldom-paddled West Magpie is available for a commercial rafting expedition. tel: 866-842-9383;

Ottawa River, ON
The legendary Ottawa River, known for its adrenalin-pumping rapids and impressive whitewater, is the granddaddy of rivers east of the Rockies. They say spring is the time to go, when snowmelt fuels the flow. But autumn can be just as much fun, with the potential for flashes of fall colour. tel: 888-723-8669;

Chilko River, BC
Glaciers in the Coast Mountains feed turquoise Chilko Lake and its crystalline river in British Columbia’s Cariboo-Chilcotin. Known for lengthy stretches of whitewater, salmon runs and a lava gorge, the Chilko can be a day trip or a longer expedition continuing on the Chilcotin and Fraser rivers. tel: 888-808-7238;

Stikine River, BC
One of these days, I’ll descend the mighty Stikine with its abundant wildlife, eye-popping scenery and the impassable Grand Canyon. Glacial melt fuels the upper river, and the lower stretch is lined with valley glaciers. If I were a mountain goat, this is where I’d want to live. tel: 800-297-6927;

Kicking Horse River, BC
Carving through Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies, the Kicking Horse River is a classic glacier-fed mountain river popular for whitewater rafting. Trips are short—half- and full-day excursions—and the icy water is a constant reminder of the river’s frozen origins. Yee-haw! tel: 888-599-4399;

Alsek River, YT/BC
The storied Tatshenshini-Alsek river system punches through a giant coastal mountain range and crosses the largest international protected area in the world. Icebergs calve into the river, while grizzlies and mountain goats are common sights. Oh, did I mention that the surging Lowell Glacier threatens to dam the Alsek once again? Could be a unique year to go. tel: 800-297-6927;

Firth River, YT
Flowing north through Yukon’s Ivvavik National Park, the Firth River winds for 130 km (81 mi) through taiga forest, canyons and expansive tundra to the Beaufort Sea. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates across the Firth, and grizzlies, wolves and muskox are often seen. If there’s room on your list for an Arctic river, this is it. tel: 888-639-1114;

Nahanni River, NWT
I might as well put this on the table right away: the Nahanni tops my list. The namesake of a treasured national park reserve, a Canadian Heritage River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the unparalleled Virginia Falls and a recent six-fold park expansion easily win a spot for this iconic destination. tel: 888-285-1676; [}(

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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