With over 62,000 miles of rivers; 250,000 lakes; and around 3,200 miles of coastline on the Great Lakes alone, Canada is well suited for canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Canadians are avid outdoorsmen who possess a keen desire to explore and engage with their natural environment, and recreational paddling is a strong outlet for nature lovers and conservationists. While paddling is a seasonal pastime running from the spring to the fall, it does support year round activity with indoor activities through training and group lessons. U.S. canoes and kayaks offer Canadian consumers increased variety and affordable prices and are expected to gain increased market share in Canada.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities in Canada as they provide ideal outlets for those interested in outdoor activities and sports, while enjoying Canada’s natural beauty. Canadians appreciate the importance of Canada’s environment, and enjoy an extensive series of national parks and preserves. For instance, the Nahanni National Park Reserve, located in the Northwest Provinces and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is currently slated for an expansion that would make it almost as large as Switzerland.
Paddlers also frequently go hiking and camping and this creates a great deal of crossover in their purchasing of paddling and camping equipment. Lightweight, small pack tents, sleeping bags and cookware as well as waterproof float bags and water resistant performance clothing will all be of interest to this market. Tourists, especially from the United States, also contribute to the Canadian paddle market through boat rentals, lessons, guided trips, and associated purchases.
For the majority of Canadians, the paddle season extends from May to September, with June 26th acknowledged as National Canoe Day. However, paddling in the British Columbia region runs year round. Canoe polo games and paddling lessons also last all year since they often take place in indoor pools. With rising temperatures and climate changes, a shift of just a few degrees could significantly extend the length of the Canadian paddle season and increase consumer demand. Furthermore, with the U.S. and Canadian currency near parity, Canadians are importing more from the U.S.
By Tracey Ford and Richard Hopkins