These two words—canoe and kayak—which today are used interchangeably, have always designated two distinct boats for Indigenous communities. Originally, the canoe was used for essential purposes. It was an efficient means of transportation, perfectly adapted to Québec’s lakes and rivers. Vital for hunting and fishing, the canoe was traditionally made from wood and bark, and could be steered using a single oar. The kayak was invented by Inuit and requires two oars to steer. It’s a slim boat and was originally made from seal skin, ultra-light and silent, ideal for hunting sea mammals across the frozen waters of the Great North.

Numerous outfitters across the province would be more than happy to share the history, stories, and traditions associated with these two water vessels. Over flowing water, surrounded by breath-taking views, comfortably seated in a boat, it’s easy to see just how vital this mode of transport has always been for the survival of First Nations and Inuit. Book a stay at a lodge and discover the beauty and serenity of our lakes, as you head out at sunrise or sunset for an unforgettable fishing excursion.

Do you prefer a bit more adventure? Heading down turbulent rivers, living the portage experience, eating the fish you catch, and sleeping at the water’s edge? Here in Québec, there’s something for everyone: you can enjoy a quiet outing on the water or turn it into an exciting sports adventure. Both experts and beginners are sure to find something to meet their needs!

During the warmer months, consider heading to the Côte-Nord, Gaspésie, or really anywhere else across Québec—the entire province boasts gorgeous lakes and rivers. Here, water reigns and is home to 3% of the planet’s renewable fresh water. It’s a rich resource that Indigenous Nations have been respecting and honouring for many generations. Still today, water is considered the blood of the earth, a source of food (home to over 200 fish species!), a passageway, a place of exchange, a habitat, and a pharmacy that cleanses and heals.

The eco-friendly canoe lets us navigate this magnificent element and appreciate it in all its glory! Perfectly adapted to the terrain, it lets us explore the heart of nature and see our fauna and flora in a different light. Feeling like you’re truly a part of the environment...that’s the unforgettable heritage of First Nations and Inuit!