Diving in Canada: The Best Spots

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Canada might not be the first location you think of when trying to come up with new and interesting dive spots, but it actually offers some really impressive diving. After all, diving in Canada means diving in a nearly untouched environment.

You can encounter sixgill sharks and sea lions, as well as explore wrecks that date all the way back to the 18th century. The water may be cold, but it’s worth it.

Diving in Canada: Where to Go? 

Because the water is cold, most sites, if not all of them, are best completed while wearing a drysuit. Hence, you may want to add that certification to your credentials. Once you do that, cold-water diving can be a new world to explore.

1. Kingston, Ontario

This location boasts some really attractive wrecks for exploring. They are impressive because they are quite deep and are pretty well preserved as well. That preservation is due in large part to the lack of critters that eat at the wood and the cold water.

You’ll find the Katie Eccles wreck, which sank in 1922. This is actually incredibly well preserved, and you might be shocked that it sank so long ago. This is a pretty deep dive, which means that you’ll need to have some experience to complete it. You can expect to contend with thermoclines and water that ranges from 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface to 40 and even 30 degrees Fahrenheit down at the wreck.

Aside from the wreck, Kingston offers some other interesting dives. There is the World Islander II wreck, which was an old car ferry and was intentionally sunk back in 1985. Its length is 165 feet and sits in 24 meters of water.

There’s plenty to explore around the wreck, and if you’re certified or with a good guide, you can go right into the passenger waiting area. There, you’ll find a spot that you can come to the surface because there is an air pocket waiting for you.

2. Brockville, Ontario

This is the ultimate location for diving to explore wrecks, though overall, they aren’t quite as preserved as those in the Kingston area. One of those wrecks is the Robert Gaskin. It’s a wreck that dates back to 1889 and is a two-masted wooden schooner. It’s in pretty shallow water at just 55 to 70 feet deep. The depth makes it a good place for you to start your diving in Brockville. You’ll get a good view of schools of perch and bass.

After the Robert Gaskin, you can move to the Henry C. Daryaw, which sank back in 1941. It is a 220-foot steel freighter that sunk as a result of a collision with another ship and is now down about 90 feet.

You’ll likely experience a strong current here, but once you get inside the Daryaw, you’ll be able to do some decent exploring. The water is a bit warmer and can even get all the way up into the high 60s and low 70s during the summer.

3. Barkley Sound, British Columbia 

This has long been regarded as one of the best places to dive in the entire world. This is due, in large part, to the huge marine life you’ll get a chance to view here. You might catch some incredibly large sixgill sharks and huge Pacific octopus. You’ll also see other species such as sea lions, harbor seals, and wolf eels.

If you search the bottom, you’ll probably get some good looks at a big selection of rockfish as well as shrimp and kelp crabs. Here, you really can drop down just about anywhere and expect to see some really incredible marine life. It is even possible to see some orcas and humpbacks.

diving in canada

4. Bell Island, Newfoundland 

This is another great location for exploring wrecks. There are a whopping four total World War II cargo ships to explore. They were sunken by German U-boats back in 1942.

These four ships are the PLM-27, SS Saganaga, SS Lord Strathcona, and the SS Rose Castle. They were torpedoed, killing more than 40 on-board. You can find the wrecks in Conception Bay. Each of the wrecks sits at a different depth, ranging from 18 meters where the Saganaga sits to 33 and a half meters where you’ll find the Rose Castle.

You’ll get to view some impressive marine life here. The guns on the ships are still intact, and you can even find boxes of bullets if you look hard enough. For marine life, you’ll likely encounter jellyfish, lumpfish, and ray-finned fish.

5. Tobermory, Ontario 

This is largely considered the capital of diving in all of Canada. Therefore, if you’re planning on diving in Canada, you don’t want to miss this location. The location sits just four hours north of Toronto in Georgian Bay.

This marine park serves to protect the wrecks you’ll find here. However, that isn’t the biggest advantage of diving here. The visibility is quite incredible, and you’ll enjoy 80-foot visibility in many places.

The wrecks here range in depth from nine to 12 meters. Even if you are inexperienced in your diving, you can enjoy this location. Two of the top dives to visit if you are a bit more experienced are the Niagara II and the Arabia.

The Niagara II is a fake reef that was sunk in 1999. It is 18 to 27 meters down and offers much to explore. You can swim throughout the cargo hold and even visit the engine room. There are plenty of places to surface fast, as well, given that it was created for divers.

The Arabia sank back in 1884 and is a wooden sailing ship. It sits in about 30 meters of water and is in a very well-preserved condition. This dive is a bit challenging because it is  cold with rather strong currents and is quite deep.

Conclusion

It is true that the water is colder in Canada when compared to other diving locations. With that said, you don’t have to wait until summer to do your diving here. It is best to dive in summer if you plan on visiting Tobermory, Brockville, and Kingston. However, Barkley Sound is great in the winter since the visibility is likely to be much better. 

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