5 Must-Attend Boating Events for Summer 2018

At the annual Poker Runs America event in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Get the trailer and fill up the truck—boating season is here, and it’s time to hit the road!



Boating season is finally here—after a chilly start to spring, warmer temps have arrived. Water levels across the province are at normal levels, and there are plenty of sunny days ahead. For those of you who like to socialize and be part of the “in” crowd, picking the right events to trailer your boat to can make the difference between an OK weekend, and a truly great one.

August 11, 2018, Port Carling, ON
One thing the Muskoka region is known for is rich people with fabulous antique boats—although we’ll never own a boat made of cedar, we can still appreciate these amazing specimens, and it’s great to see them in their natural habitat, where many of them originally rode when they were new. Throw in a visit to the Muskoka Discovery Centre—home of the Murray Walker Grave and Speed Boathouse—and you’ve got a wonderfully well-rounded boating visit. For the ambitious, we suggest riding a PWC from the event in Port Carling to the Heritage Centre on the lake in Gravenhurst. They even have docks out front.

Check out Martin Lortz and Dustin Woods’ trip here to see some boating options in the area. And if you can't wait till August, you can take in the Antique and Classic Boat Society of Toronto's 38th Annual Summer Vintage Boat Show on July 7 at Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst.

4. the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge

August 24-26, 2018 - Timmins, ON
While not really a powerboating event, we felt that this one was worth mentioning, as boaters will enjoy the friendly competitive nature of the Kayak Challenge, in which dozens of paddlers compete in different classes of events on a river right in the heart of downtown Timmins. The river is great for lazy cruises any other weekend, and the festival is more than just kayaking.

3. Berrio On the Sandbanks

July 21, 2018 - Lake Wahnapitae Sandbanks, ON

An absolutely killer event that should not be missed. Each summer country music star Larry Berrio puts on a concert on a barge on the lake, with the massive sandbanks towering behind him—he even made a music video of the event in the first year. 

That first year was mostly locals, but as the popularity of the event grew we started to see more people trailering their boat in for this event. This year promises to be the best yet—definitely worth the drive. The waist-deep water around the stage means the boats can be anchored, and the whole gang can get out and enjoy Larry’s concert up close and personal.

2. Canada Day Fireworks in the Bay

Fireworks over the harbour in Kenora, Ontario. Photo: Graeme Sprange

July 1, 2018, Kenora, ON
While not officially a boating event, Kenora is a city that lives life on the water—and Canada Day is no exception. So while many people enjoy the display from land, there are over 300 boats in the bay as the fireworks go off.

Lake of the Woods is truly a world-class boating destination—we highly recommend spending a week exploring the lake (with your hydrographic maps, of course) leading up to Canada Day and the main event. Crow’s Rock Lodge, the town of Sioux Narrows, the pictographs—there are a ton of places to boat to, and so much water to travel. But be warned, this is a complex water system and only experienced navigators should apply.

July 27-29, 2018, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Easily the biggest and baddest boating event ever to grace Northern shores, the CanAm Poker Run brings together some of the fiercest offshore boats into the waters separating Ontario and Michigan in a thunderous display of power and strategy as the competing boats hit five locations where they pick up poker cards—whoever has the best hand at the end of the day can win prizes at the president’s dinner. There’s a parade lap along the waterfront for those who just want to see the boats, but if you’ve got a fast boat, this is the place for you.

Honourable Mention

The First Annual Killarney Music Festival

August 24-25, 2018, Killarney, ON
While this is the first event for the Killarney Music Festival, we anticipate great things.

Killarney has been having a bit of a resurgence lately, and we’re sure that this music fest is going to bring even more lustre to this beautiful corner of the world. While this event can be enjoyed from the comforts of dry land... life is better on a boat!

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