MACKFEST 2023 - APRIL 14 - 16


Since its inception in 2008, the Marmora and Area Canoe and Kayak Festival, M.A.C.K.fest for short, has grown significantly in popularity and developed a reputation as one of the “must make” spring whitewater festivals in Ontario.

The two-day whitewater paddling event is organized by volunteers from one of the largest recreational paddling clubs in Ontario, the Kawartha Whitewater Paddlers (KWP). The festival was started to promote some amazing rivers, known as the “Highway 7 runs” as they intersect Highway 7 running between Peterborough and Ottawa. The Upper and Lower Black, Beaver, Skootamatta, Salmon, Crowe and others typically only flow in early spring with the snow melt and seasonal rain. They feature river runs from Class II-V as well as a number of quality park and play spots. In recent years the annual festival included boatercross and freestyle competitive events.

M.A.C.K.fest organizers and Whitewater Ontario Advocacy Committee members have worked together over time to promote river access and land sharing agreements on a number of the Highway 7 runs. Some of our river access victories include:

  • Obtaining permission from private property owners to access play waves at Crowe Bridge.

  • Opening up a new paddling opportunity on the Skootamatta River by establishing a public takeout on a cottager’s private property, now eliminating the drudgery of many miles of flatwater.

  • Erecting a commemorative plaque in the town of Queensborough to thank the community and celebrate river access granted by private land owners. Each spring, the town looks forward to paddlers returning to the river, and fundraise for the community by selling burgers, fresh baked pies, coffee and hot chocolate to cold paddlers at the takeout.

  • Donating funds to river advocacy efforts by Whitewater Ontario and the Save the Petawawa River campaign.

This annual festival is a great way to kickstart your paddling season, dust off your winter cobwebs and meet new and old friends. In doing so you will also help to promote river awareness and contribute to river advocacy initiatives in Ontario. Aside from exciting spring boating, the event promises amazing prizes from sponsors and music by local musicians. Organizers are looking forward to boaters gathering in Marmora once again to celebrate spring paddling in Ontario!

Some old MACKfest artwork


Check out our YouTube channel for more M.A.C.K FEST member videos