An unique underwater world, still widely untouched

Canada is a vast country, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and north to the Arctic Ocean. It is easy to imagine the infinite potential snorkeling spots hidden along its coastline (the longest in the world, which measures over 243,000km) and around its 30,000 lakes, rivers, and streams.

So yes, in Canada, water can be cold, even very cold, depending on the season and latitude, but the most adventurous will experience unique moments there. The snorkeling spots recognized as such are certainly few, but if you feel the soul of an adventurer, then an endless field of exploration awaits you.

Creeks, fjords, lakes or rivers are all opportunities to get in the water and explore unique aquatic worlds.

Lobster in Forillon National Park
An American lobster photographed along the shore of Forillon National Park.

In Quebec, Forillon National Park is one of the best-known snorkeling areas in the country. It is a great location to snorkel from the shore, for example at Anse-au-Griffon, Anse-Saint-Georges or Anse Blanchette.

Plongée Forillon also organizes boat trips to go snorkeling with the harbor seals that live in the Park. Find out if this activity is authorized again on site – it was suspended in 2019 due to new regulations governing the interactions with marine mammals in the Park.

Also in Quebec, Nature Aventure, in Matapedia, organizes snorkeling tours to encounter the Atlantic salmon that live in the Matapedia and Kedgwick rivers.

Wreck in Fathom Five Marine Park
The wrecks of Fathom Five National Marine Park are one of the most fascinating snorkeling attractions in Canada.

Another snorkeling hotspot in Canada is Fathom Five National Marine Park, in Ontario. It is home to 22 boat wrecks found at perfect snorkeling depth, some of which almost touching the surface of the water. The cold freshwater contributes to the conservation of the wrecks, some almost intact.

There are also beautiful wrecks in Lake Erie and on St. Lawrence River, around Kingston and Brockville.

Across the country, Vancouver Island is also a good option. Numerous coves dot its rugged coastline, while orcas, whales and dolphins enjoy its calm, temperate waters. Heber River and Campbell River are also home to basins in which you can discover superb mineral landscapes.

Lingcod and sea anemones in Vancouver Island
A small lingcod and sea anemones in Vancouver Island.

Finally, if you are not afraid of the very cold, head to Churchill, in Hudson Bay, where the water temperature is on average 46-48°F/8-9°C at the surface. This small town, known for polar bears watching, is also the starting point for boat trips to snorkel with the belugas that live in the bay.

Canada, protected by forty-two national parks, boasts great marine biodiversity. Snorkeling in saltwater is an opportunity to spot lobsters, crabs, starfish, anemones, and many fish that enjoy cold and temperate waters. Seals, whales, dolphins, beluga whales and even orcas can be encountered during boat trips, and will undoubtedly offer you unforgettable underwater memories.

Seal in Forillon National Park
Forillon National Park is the place to go if you dream about snorkeling with seals in the wild.

When to go snorkeling in Canada?

Canada is a vast country, crossed by many climatic zones. Water temperatures rarely exceed 59°F/15°C in most areas, including in summer, and can drop below 46°F/8°C in the freezing Arctic Ocean. Underwater visibility is often better in winter, especially in freshwater lakes. Wearing a long-sleeved wetsuit is essential to resist the cold. If you are going on a tour, the wetsuit is usually included in the tour price.

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