Canoeing the Manigotagan River

In July, 2012 I was invited by Travel Manitoba and Northern Soul to join a canoe trip down the Manigotagan River. The trip included our guide, David Perrett, a sculptor from Winnipeg, Deb, the editor of UP! magazine, along with her husband and son, Lynne, the editor of a lifestyle magazine, and Roseanna, a columnist for a local paper who runs a PR company in Winnipeg.

canoeing the Manigotagan river Manitoba (15)

Nearly all the others were serious canoe trippers. Being my first, it was an eye-opening experience.


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On the first day we covered canoeing safety and paddling technique. Little did I know, there are multiple strokes used to paddle a canoe.


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Safety gear was provided and mandatory throughout the trip. For insurance purposes, the rules have to be strict. We weren’t even allowed to go swimming without our lifejackets.


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During the trip we would encounter numerous sets of rapids.


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Some we would shoot.


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Others would be too big, and we’d have to portage around them.


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On each portage we’d have to unload all the canoes and carry everything down a trail. It was hard work. It takes a certain kind of person to voluntarily take this kind of trip for a vacation.


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Carrying a canoe over rough terrain through the bush is no easy task.


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To keep our energy up, Dave, the guide, kept us very well fed, cooking dishes you wouldn’t think can even be made in the backcountry…


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…like pizza…


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…and cinnamon buns.


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We had a couple of exciting moments. Dave and I shared a canoe, so we tested any rapids we were unsure the others might want to run. On the first set we flipped. On this set, Deb and I almost ran aground on the rocks to our left.


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Most of the time, though, was spent paddling quietly through the Manitoba wilderness.  It looked a lot like this…


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…and this…


canoeing the Manigotagan River, Manitoba

…and when we rested it looked like this.


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Our final night was spent on an island in the middle of the river, flanked by waterfalls. This is the sunset from that evening.

 I’d like to thank Travel Manitoba and Northern Soul for making this amazing trip possible.





16 thoughts on “Canoeing the Manigotagan River”

  1. Manitoba & NFL are the only provinces I’ve yet to visit in Canada. I’m certainly more inspired to visit Manitoba after seeing your photo essay; however, NOT during the winter months 🙂

  2. Your photos are lovely & the food looks wonderful!

    I’ve paddled the remote Thelon River in the NWT & have done loads of sea kayaking but Manitoba despite all its’ lakes & rivers doesn’t usually make it on my radar screen. Now though I’ve got a book in the works about outdoor adventures in Canada and feel that I must canoe a river in Manitoba. But what is the quintessential river in the province to canoe? Ideas? I figured I could always do the Assiniboine River but would love suggestions.

  3. Thanks Leigh! Manitoba, as far as I know, is a huge paddling destination. The geography of the Canadian Shield is perfect for it!

    I’m no expert about canoeing, but everyone on the trip taked about the Bloodvein, which sounds like a very popular, remote, and challenging trip. I’d recommend looking into it.

  4. Great piece and images Matt! Pls send link to me so I can share with Julia. I have paddled both the Manigotagan and the Bloodvein and they are both classic paddles in Manitoba but we have SO many. Lazy Bear offers an incredible northern paddle on South Knife where you may see polar bears and you will see beluga whales once approaching Hudson Bay. Also, the Hayes, the Seal and the Pigeon are great WILDERNESS trips, caps for emphasis.

  5. I’ve been on your site for a while and may I just say how beautiful your photos are? It’s amazing how you’re able to capture that perfect moment in all of your adventures. Nice job on your blog Matt! Truly worth the bookmark. I personally haven’t tried canoeing but I really want to. I guess I would have to learn to swim sooner or later.


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