Used Canoe Buying Experience

Our Used Canoe Buying Family Adventure!

We are an active family that loves the outdoors. We spend our summer vacation split between our family cottage and camping in Provincial Parks. We enjoy hiking, swimming, biking and exploring nature in general. We love being out on the water with the kids and the dog: paddling, tubing and fishing but most of all we love canoeing and have wanted to buy a good used canoe for years.

During a recent March Break trip to Huntsville, we discovered Algonquin Outfitters. My husband knew about the store and had poured through their website extensively, searching for the perfect canoe for our family. He found a list of used canoes online and decided we should go check them out. It was a rainy day in March (we even got hailed on at one point) so shopping was a great indoor activity. The staff at Algonquin Outfitters were so informative and helpful. Adam talked Dave through the various options that we had highlighted as possibilities on our list. We liked the classic Swift Prospector but were also considering the Kipawa and the Winisk. We aren’t planning on any m

ajor back-country trips but we do want to do some camping to places with portages and we have a dog. The Kipawa is designed for tripping and carrying gear while the Winisk is a faster moving canoe. The Prospector is tough and can carry a bigger load.

We had a quick look at the examples they had out back of the store. Sadly it was way too cold to take any of them out on the water for a test paddle (there was even still a bit of ice on the lake). We were told that the main Algonquin Outfitters store for buying a boat was at Oxtongue Lake, about a 20 minute drive east of Huntsville so we planned to stop in for a look on our way home from our mini-holiday in Huntsville.

The drive to Oxtongue Lake was spectacular. It was the first day of spring and although it was still fairly cold out, with the warming sun, the ice falls on the rocks lining the highway were glistening and slowly melting. They were so beautiful, I made my husband stop the truck so I could take some pictures!

We arrived at Algonquin Outfitters at Oxtongue Lake and were awed by the sight of so many canoes lined up. There were literally hundreds of them. My husband was like a kid in a candy shop, he was so excited!

The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery

Group of Seven GalleryWe were also happy to see that Algonquin Outfitters had one of the murals from The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery on their building. Huntsville and the surrounding area is home to an amazing collection of over 90 murals of famous Group of Seven paintings. This one, at Oxtongue Lake, is Tom Thomson’s Sketch for the Northern River. The colours and artistry are so beautiful and such wonderful depi

ctions of the area. It was great to see local businesses supporting the arts this way.

We went inside the store to ask about the seasonal clearance items. The staff were super friendly and nice. They checked the list for one of the canoes that we wanted and said that unfortunately it had literally JUST SOLD a few minutes earlier!! I thought my husband was going to KILL ME, if we hadn’t stopped to take pictures of the ice falls, we were have gotten there 10 minutes earlier and the canoe would have been ours. It was heartbreaking!!

Luckily for us all, there was still one other canoe on the clearance list (that the staff didn’t realize was there). We went outside to see it and lo and behold, there was our canoe: a red Swift Prospector!!

Our new used canoe

A Swift Prospector 16 feet long, ultralight Kevlar Fusion with composite gunwales. (weighing in about 44 pounds)

It was perfect (for us!) We didn’t care that it had a few patches on the bottom (that’s why it was on sale for 40% off) We knew it had been professionally patched and was totally functional and that was all that mattered!

Algonquin Outfitters doesn’t just rent and sell canoes, they also have a wide selection of both kayaks and paddleboards. I’m a huge kayak fan and my daughter really wants a paddleboard… now we know where to go when it’s time to add to our fleet!

Once we paid for the canoe, Andrew came out and helped us load it onto our truck. We just got our truck a few months ago and don’t have a roof rack on it yet. So we bought 4 foam blocks to support the canoe which we tied down using bungee cords that we had brought with us. Andrew was so great, helping us make sure it was safe and secure on the truck. We loved our new outdoorsy look!

Ragged Falls

It was still early in the day once we had finished buying our canoe so we wanted to go for a hike before the 3 hour drive back home. Once again the staff at Algonquin Outfitters were extremely helpful with suggestions of several different places to go. We opted for the closest and shortest one this time and were so happy with what we found. Oxtongue River Park is only about 5 minutes past the Algonquin Outfitters store.

The trail was a bit icy due to the conditions and weather so we were extra careful not to slip and fall into the raging river. The roar of the falls was incredible and we were amazed at the powerful flow of the waterfall.


The drive home to Ajax was stunning in the spring sunshine. We did have to stop a few times to adjust the foam blocks which had slipped a bit (we’re definitely buying a roof rack before our first expedition).

We arrived home safely with our new Swift Prospector canoe. It is now sitting ever so patiently on the canoe rack in our backyard… just waiting for the winter-that-never-was to finally leave! We are so excited to finally have our own canoe and to start our paddling adventures this summer! We can’t wait to explore Algonquin Park and beyond.

Useful Links


Photo Gallery

Algonquin Outfitters Canoes


Ragged Falls Hike

Lisa Crowley

Lisa Crowley lives in Ajax, ON with her Kiwi husband, two fabulous kids and an energetic dog. She runs her own online business and has a passion for social media. She is working on a new project called Fresh Air Family which she hopes to launch later this year. Lisa enjoys an active outdoors lifestyle with her family: hiking, biking, camping, paddling, spelunking, skiing and traveling (and is always on the look-out for her next adventure!)

Lisa Crowley

Lisa Crowley lives in Ajax, ON with her Kiwi husband, two fabulous kids and an energetic dog. She runs her own online business, works part-time at a local ski hill and has a passion for social media. Lisa enjoys an active outdoors lifestyle with her family: hiking, biking, camping, paddling, spelunking, skiing and traveling (and is always on the look-out for her next adventure!)

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