A new boat rental company hopes to make a splash on Lake Guelph this summer.
“People are looking for a new outlet to put their energy in and boating is perfect for that,” said Curtis James, co-owner of Guelph Outdoor Adventures.
“It will be a real breath of fresh air for everyone.”
Guelph Outdoor Adventures was created in partnership with Grand River Rafting Company, a rental company in Paris, Ontario. to manage boat rental services in Guelph Lake.
James explains that he was friends with the owners of Grand River Rafting before the idea for Guelph Outdoor Adventures arose. Its co-owner, Nick McKnight, also worked at the company for almost 10 years before starting the business.
With approximately 45 boats, 10 paddleboards and two eight-person paddleboards called “The Beast”, Guelph Outdoor Adventures aims to provide outdoor fun for residents. More information on the boats they offer and rental prices can be found here.
“I just heard that there was this service, it was right in my alley,” he said.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, this business opportunity could not have come at a better time for James. The Grand River Conservation Authority last year canceled canoe and boat rental services on the lake and asked Grand River Rafting if it could provide services for the park.
“My personal career was at a point where it was like, okay, well, I can make a change now,” he said, “The pandemic has opened up an opportunity for change.”
Originally scheduled for May 29, the opening day has now been moved to the start of the first phase of Ontario’s plan to reopen, which is slated to begin on June 14 or earlier.
“Hopefully we can get some people out on the water for exercise and mental health.”
When they finally open, James explains that they plan to operate during park opening hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with availability on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents will be asked to wear masks when renting equipment and upon returning to shore.
“As people get on they get their gear back, as soon as they’re in their boat and out on the water they can take off their masks and they’re free to go,” said James.
Once the equipment is returned to the Guelph Outdoor Adventures booth, it will be sanitized with a material called Enviro Care, which can sanitize used boats, life jackets and equipment in ten minutes.
In addition to rentals, Guelph Outdoor Adventures also plans to host physical distance events, including two weekend stand-up paddleboard yoga classes and an astronomy night.
“We’re going to invite people to get on boats to the island from Lake Guelph,” James said of the astronomy night scheduled for July, “and we’ve got someone coming with a telescope. and a few other devices, and everyone can safely share time using the telescope and other equipment.
After many people have been locked indoors this winter, James hopes to see many people take advantage of the warm weather to improve their mental and physical health.
“People now see how important it is to go out,” he said, “people are less likely to go to the movies, they are less likely to go to Wonderland, they are less likely to go to events and festivals. “
“I think people think we have to have fun, so let’s take boats and get out on the water because it’s a safe activity we can all do.”
For updates on Guelph Outdoor Adventures, check out their Facebook page.