Speed River Paddling back on the water after pandemic delays

After a pandemic-related pause on their operations, Speed River Paddling is back to help people explore the waterway on a canoe or kayak.

The small business in Guelph has been slowly getting back in the flow of regular business after being shut down for the entire 2020 season.

“It’s a big thing for us to be back here and be able to help serve the community,” said owner Greg Mungall. “It’s been very exciting, to be honest.”

The canoe and kayak rental company overlooks the Speed River in Guelph and runs through both Wellington County and Waterloo Region.

Thanks to a favourable forecast, Saturday marks the first full weekend people have been able to paddle along the scenic views of the river.

“We’ve been wanting to canoe since last summer, but everything has been closed,” one resident said. “We’ve been checking every week to see when this place would open and it finally did so we finally got to go out on the water.”

Cleaning protocols have been enhanced and include sanitizing boats and life jackets after every use.

“You’ve got to wear your mask any time you’re interacting with our staff,” said Mungall. “Once you get back on the water you’re free to take your mask off.

“Canoes are a beautiful thing, because if you have two people in a boat, they can be six feet apart and also get to be outside and have a good time.”

According to the patrons, one of the best parts about getting back on the water is not only getting a little exercise, but enjoying the scenery.

“After being inside for so long, I think it was definitely very much needed,” one paddler said. “It was therapeutic.”

The Speed River Paddling team is looking to add in night paddling to give people the option to roll down the river at dawn or dusk as well.