The Story of Ottawa City Rafting

The vision

Sharing the “Magic in whitewater” is as core to OCR’s value as it was on the first river trip in 1975 on the Ottawa River.

It was almost 40 years ago, Joe Kowalski pioneered the now world famous whitewater an hour west of the city. From just a handful of enthusiasts in 1975, Wilderness Tours has guided more than a million down the Ottawa’s awesome whitewater since. Wilderness Tours grew to become Canada’s largest adventure company out the desire to “share the magic” found in whitewater.

That desire to share was part of being a river guide at Wilderness Tours. It became ingrained in Dave Stibbe, a long time guide and now educator. From his home in Britannia, Dave viewed the majesty of the river daily. While not the pristine wilderness of the rapids upstream, the urban rapids provided their own unique and beautiful city views, capped by the very visible Parliament Buildings downstream.