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Thread: Venture Ontario

  1. #1
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    Default Venture Ontario

    Makers Spec




    Length: 15ft 452cm
    Width: 35” 89cm
    Weight: 57lb 26kg
    Depth: 12.5" 32cm
    Capacity: 770lbs 350kg

    Makers Write Up

    The Ontario is inspired by the classic light and fast touring and hunting canoes of the Peterborough & Lakefield area in western Canada. They were built light for portages, track well and have a good turn speed to cover reasonable distances carrying light loads but still has the manoeuvrability needed for the smaller waterways.
    This modern adaptation has all the classic features of these traditional designs. A rounded V bottom hull, slight tumblehome and a fine recurve on the bow and the stern. The extra length of the Ontario makes it an ideal solo boat, but still maintains the ability to take two lighter passengers or carry small loads. Ideal for adventures out on any water when paddled solo or ideal for tandem use on flat or gentle moving water The Ontario is known as one of the lightest Plastic canoes on the market.

    Standard Features
    • Triple layer polyethylene construction
    • Tough P.U. gunwales
    • Two wood webbing or plastic seats
    • Tough moulded end decks incorporating carry handles
    • wooden centre yoke
    Last edited by Canoe Guru; 8th-August-2007 at 09:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    Think the depth is quoted at 12.5 inches?

    Ian
    That shall float upon the river,
    Like a yellow leaf in Autumn

  3. #3
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    I have got an Ontario and I have to say that I am very happy with it.

    I bought it to use mainly on flatwater to go on solo trips as well as the occasional tandem day paddles.

    At the moment I have not made many modifications it – I have fitted grab loops and raised the bow seat by a few millimetres to allow my size 11’s a bit more room when paddling solo. I have got a kneeling thwart to fit but haven’t got around to it yet. (Plus a couple of Quentins, naturally )

    The spec seems to be aiming it at lighter weight paddlers but I have to say that I am over 6ft (1.85m) and weigh over 17 stone (108kg). When I have paddled it tandem the bow paddlers have both been considerably lighter than me.

    I have taken the Ontario out in weather ranging from very calm to quite choppy and it has handled admirably once the trim is sorted out.

    When paddled solo you do need to ensure that you have some weight up towards the front just to help to reduce weathercocking.

    At the Lakes meet, myself and Aslan took the boat up Goldrills Beck to the footbridge to Side Farm and the boat performed very well on the small rapid trip back down to Ullswater. Excellent fun.

    The boat is light and very easy to car top. The yoke is reasonably comfortable but I might be tempted to replace it with a deep dish one from Endless River at the Outdoors Show.

    I had originally been looking at getting a Bob Special until I saw the Ontario and for the price I do not think there is a better canoe on the market for tandem day tripping and solo paddling.

    There is more discussion on this boat on this thread
    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ead.php?t=2895

    Cheers

    Jon

  4. #4
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    I've had my ontario for 10 months now, like all canoes its a compromise and the ontario has some extreme features so it won't be for everybody

    I've used the boat on a wide variety of inland and coatal water I'll attempt to quantify it's performance in different areas- I'll give a score out of ten...

    Easy, small waved rivers/ canals with not more than Grade 1-2 rapids- 7/10
    Rivers with big bouncy waves- 5/10
    Tight, technical rivers requiring fast turns- 4/10
    Big waves/ stoppers- 4/10
    Acceleration- 10/10
    Upsteam paddling- 7/10
    Calm flat water- 10/10
    Windy open water- 10/10
    Windy open water with very long fetch (>3km) & big waves- 9/10
    Fast tidal water- 9/10
    Solo- 9/10
    Tandem- 4/10
    Portaging- 9/10
    Carrying capacity- 5/10
    Value for money- 9/10

    Low scores are almost entirely due to the boat's low freeboard and lack of rocker. These are the very same features that make it such a fast boat on open water. It forces you to pack light so if you're planning a trip with awkward portages- you'll be glad of this!

    If you're planning to use it as a river boat don't be too put off. There are better boats out there but at this price the ontario is one of the lightest.
    I've been happily using mine on grade 2-3 rivers for the past year- you just have to work harder to stay on line with it's grabby ends and you will certainly need to do a fair amount of bailing!!

    Hope this helps

    David

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidP View Post
    you will certainly need to do a fair amount of bailing!!
    I can vouch for that!



    You can just about make out that it's an Ontario

    Surf can be a pickle in the Ontario... not to say that it shouldn't be tried

    George

  6. #6
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    I tried an Ontario at the welsh symposium, for all of 5 minutes and even in that short time I was hooked on it as a small solo boat that would take a bigger guy. And it was quick, boy was it quick.
    Obscured by Clouds

    Clipper Prospector 16

    http://lostcoast.blogspot.com

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Redondo View Post
    And it was quick, boy was it quick.
    Very True. I only really noticed this, though, when I took a trip with another boat for the first time a little while ago. I love the Disco 158, but my word is it slow (at least compared to the Ontario). I was having to try VERY hard to stay with it because I was sooooo much quicker. Moving between the two you suddenly realise the turn of speed in the Ontario compared to the trusty Disco.
    Give it a quick burst and off she goes!

    6 months on after getting her and I wouldn't want anything else ......

    George

  8. #8
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    Interesting reading, I am thinking of my first canadian and took a Venture Prospector out today. 90% of my paddling will be solo on canals and lakes and the guy at the shop said he thought an Ontario would suit me better but he didn't have one in stock to try today.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trippy View Post
    Interesting reading, I am thinking of my first canadian and took a Venture Prospector out today. 90% of my paddling will be solo on canals and lakes and the guy at the shop said he thought an Ontario would suit me better but he didn't have one in stock to try today.
    Not much room between seats and hull. So if you have anything other than very small feet. Emergency exits are going to be a problem.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  10. #10
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    Trippy,

    I had a quick go in both the Ontario & 15' Prospector. My usage will probably be 75% solo stillwater, but I've ordered the Prospector as it seemed to offer more all round flexibility, & more capacity for trips. I would say, though, that as a beginner & on a windy day it wasn't that easy to tell the difference! The Ontario did seem a little quicker in a straight line.

    Mal
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  11. #11
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    Thanks, I may take an Ontario out if AS get one in sometime soon. At the moment I'm thinking I may end up with an Apache, they seem to weigh a bit less than the Ventures and cost a couple of hundred quid less as well.

    Oh and they look nice

  12. #12
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    Apaches are lovely, & seem really nice to paddle. The only reasons I've not gone for one are; that it will have to be stored outside (not good for GRP); I may get interested in occasional faster/rockier water; & I have no ability/space/tools to fit it out myself & really save money.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  13. #13
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    Default Venture Ontario

    I've been told six weeks wait for my Ontario.Apparently Venture are makingeach canoe as the order comes in and have'nt got time to stockpile.

  14. #14
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    I've been waiting 2weeks for my Venture, apparently it was being made last week.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Apaches are lovely, & seem really nice to paddle. The only reasons I've not gone for one are; that it will have to be stored outside (not good for GRP); I may get interested in occasional faster/rockier water; & I have no ability/space/tools to fit it out myself & really save money.

    Whats the problem with GRP boats living outside (thats were mine would)?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trippy View Post
    Whats the problem with GRP boats living outside (thats were mine would)?
    I don't think the problem is with the GRP but with the wood trim and in particular the gunwales which will probably receive the odd scratch or general abrasion. It will need regular maintenance, re-varnishing or oiling to prevent deterioration.
    Keith

  17. #17
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    Couple of pics of my Ontario fully loaded - first one on my first solo trip to Loch Awe in 2007 and the other at Loch Affric back in March this year.





    As a solo tripping boat I think the Ontario is excellent but I have been thinking about upgrading to a Prospector so that Louise can come on the occasional trip with me.

    Cheers

    Jon
    Novacraft Prospector 15

  18. #18
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    Default Venture Ontario

    I'm finally picking my new Ontario up tomorrow morning.The shop managed to get one from one of their other branches for me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    I'm finally picking my new Ontario up tomorrow morning.The shop managed to get one from one of their other branches for me.
    FANTASTIC.....Happy New Boat.....

    Cheers
    Red.

  20. #20
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    Default Venture Ontario

    Thanks Red,the forecast for tomorrow is'nt brilliant,it'll be a good test for it.

  21. #21
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    Default Venture Ontario

    Took the new Ontario out for a proper trip today (10 miles),just got back.I put a dry bag full of water in the front for trim and sat in the 'stern' seat.I started off paddling in the seated position and it was ok,after about half a hour I changed to neeling and resting my backside on the very front of the seat,WOW what a difference,what a boat.Easy to get on her side and when I did,so fast,I was goig past kayaks and sot's with ease.I shipped a tiny bit of water when I went over sand bars with a bit of chop on top but the chop was between a foot and a half to two foot so I'm pleased enough with that.The same conditions in my Ranger 16 and no water comes in so I can live with it.The wind was a bit gusty in places today and where the Ranger would have struggled the Ontario pushed through it with no problem at all.
    All in all I'm extremally pleased with it,given my paddling experience and the fact that it'll be used on estuaries and lakes I dont think I could have done any better.
    Last edited by Marcus2; 5th-August-2009 at 07:06 PM.

  22. #22
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    Picked up my new noo, an Ontario, two weeks ago and have just returned from a fortnight’s holiday in Scotland testing it out. I should just mention I've only ever owned one canoe before, a MR Explorer 16 TT, and have only very limited exposure to other canoes so I'm commenting from a position of almost total ignorance

    I selected the Ontario (after reading many reviews here - thanks peeps) to be a light, mainly solo boat, for primarily flat water touring and some moving water up to grade 3, into which I could pack a week’s worth of camping gear, could control easily in moving water, and car top solo without getting a hernia, and wouldn't be too much of a squish when used tandem. On all these points the Ontario more than met my expectations.

    The weight quoted above is a little on the low side, it’s more like 29Kg, but at nearly 10kg lighter than the Exporer its a joy to man-handle (though my wife's pack, at 14.5Kg, still makes it look like an articulated lorry). I can car top this solo with ease, and am confident I could pick it up and portage it solo over moderate distances, unlike the Explorer 16 which needed an industrial winch, 4 bouncers, a manual handling health and safety course, and planning consent to car top.

    The free board is not huge, and I had to bail a little after every piece of WW. Whilst this might well be my lack of skillz, it did take on much more than the Pack.

    I think people might want to modify this boat a little if they are planning on mainly using it solo, as sitting on the bow seat backwards doesn't put you far enough towards the centre and you have to compensate with packing everything right up front. I suppose this might suit some though.

    Build quality seem to be on par with every other canoe I've seen, i.e. pretty flawless. The gunwales and decks do look a little on the cheap side, but you have to be looking for negatives I think to really bring this up.

    The seats are a touch on the low side, so if you have feet bigger than about size 8 you may well need to raise the seat, ditch the seat for a kneeling thwart, or go barefoot. I think the kneeling thwart might be the best answer as the seat seem to put the centre of gravity a touch too high and it can feel a bit tippy when unladen and sitting erect in the seat.

    Over all I am immensely pleased with my new noo, and think you'd be hard pressed to find something as versatile at the same price.

    I should probably mention, I am 6' 2", and weigh about 85Kg.

  23. #23
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    Picked my new Ontario up yesterday, at £650rrp these are good value. With some end of season discount this was an absolute no brainer for me. The fact it is also made in England was a significant nice to have, at least to me. And the fact it is very cute and curvy is nice too

    Our needs were safe on gentle moving and open water with 2 young kids (and occasionally the wife too) no plans for lots of gear with these trips. Expect a fair bit of solo too, up to around grade 2. Plan to try his backwards from bow seat rather than fit a kneeling thwart but see how I get on

    Deal clincher for me was the weight as I will have to solo load, portage and unload ( cos kids are too small to help) and as so many people have said before, weight can matter more than you think - if you cant be bothered to get the boat on the roof you wont be using it as much

    It really is noticably lighter than some £1300 boats we looked at (Pal was my 'lottery win' choice) and being Poly rather than Royalex means it will stay nicer looking too (hopefully)

    Build wise this one is a good one, I have seen Ventures with slightly wonky decks and/or rivetting (though the ones I saw could have been seconds, as there are a few of these available at good discount) - this one is bang on. If this is representative of normal Venture quality then buildwise is easily comparable to Old Town (ie functional and robust) but maybe not Bell or Nova Craft (sooo lovely)

    Fit out woodwork looks a little cheap but serviceable. The seats are most definitely too low for kneeling - my shoes are size 8 and there is no way I am going to kneel with feet under the seat until I have replaced the slightly naff metal braket with a home made spacer couple of inches shorter. Next step is to get it on some water and fill it with kids . . .


    good job its only a 15 footer
    Last edited by Adrian; 30th-September-2009 at 07:27 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Venture Ontario

    Having had a fair few trips out in mine now my only grumble is the fact that the bow seat is too small.To sit on it and get the canoe to heel over means that the woodwork of the seat ends up wedged in ..............well you get the picture.So a wider seat is going to be the next step or I may even put a thwart there instead.
    Last edited by Marcus2; 30th-September-2009 at 06:44 PM.

  25. #25
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    an update, had Ontario a few weeks now and its had a variety of outings, though no real moving water yet

    firstly the dissapointing bits:
    1. With kids in it does feel sort of tippy (as a previous reviewer sort of mentioned) when used tandem+ you really feel the other person/people moving about in a way that is more noticeable than something like a Disco. On flat calm water, solo it also feels a little short of primary stability compared to say a flat bottom boat. It is quite safe, but feels rather edgy, especially to a novice. A bit of weight in the bow does help
    2. had to lift the seats 25mm in the end to be sure of hasty exit while kneeling (size 8 feet) , also the seat edge is quite a sharp corner so becomes uncomfortable after a couple of hours. Seat locations seem ok but a kneeling thwart is now planned for solo use, probably put it 4" closer to centre then the bow seat

    the good bits:
    1. It is quite fast and wind tolerant, even for my low level of competence I wasnt completely out of touch with highly competent solo and tandem paddlers on a windy Coniston
    2. When the water is choppy or when crossing waves, eg powerboat wakes, it is solid as you like. What did feel a bit edgy now feels lovely and solid. Again, bit of weight in the bow solo helps a lot in the wind

    the not sure bits
    1. This was bought over a Venture Prospector to have a lighter boat, but it isnt really as light in use as I was hoping, though this may improve with practice. Solo loading onto a roofrack is just about ok (I am in a club and have been taught the right ways, also I am 6' 12st so no weakling) but moving any distance solo is tough. Need more practice, but also asking for a trolley for Christmas
    2. The narrow ends, low volume (and lovely curvy shape) limit how much you can carry and what level of moving water you might feel comfortable with, so far I havent tried any proper moving water but there is no doubt in my mind the narrow bow will cut through waves and big water - not bounce over. The "grippy" ends will also test my skills a little, but should be great for breaking into eddies
    3. The low freeboard is mostly no problem (yet to try big white water) but, for some reason, does make the boat 'feel' a little less safe on big open water or when edging. That again might be a personal (novice) thing. You do feel closer to the water when paddling though

    One thing to be aware, if you want to drill the bow/stern to attach rope loops. I ended up drilled 4" from the front edge, 3 1/2" down from the deck top. There is not a lot of room to tie the knots inside the hull, however any further from the bow and it starts to look a bit odd (plus the loop would maybe be big enough to get your hand in). If I was to do it again I might do 3 1/2" from edge and 3 1/2" from the deck top so the rope can pull over the deck to aid tying onto the roofrack

    Overall, fairly happy as our first boat choice, and expect the edgy feeling to be less noticeable as we get more confident. Does pretty much what we wanted for it, ie open or gentle moving water, solo or with young kids.

    For river trips with white water I will probably still look to use a club Prospector, but once I am more capable/confident will give this one a go - and expect to get wet

    Lots of people have commented on the pretty looks too, which is nice - she has nice dainty, feminine look that Prospectors just dont . . .
    Last edited by Adrian; 16th-November-2009 at 12:31 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default huh??

    "The Ontario is inspired by the classic light and fast touring and hunting canoes of the Peterborough & Lakefield area in western Canada."




    These guys REALLY need a map......... last time I drove thru there (last weekend), Lakefield was right here, about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto.

    'Western Canada'...?????? don't think so.....

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    "The Ontario is inspired by the classic light and fast touring and hunting canoes of the Peterborough & Lakefield area in western Canada."




    These guys REALLY need a map......... last time I drove thru there (last weekend), Lakefield was right here, about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto.

    'Western Canada'...?????? don't think so.....
    to come to their defence they have corrected the website even though the info on SotP is now out of date:
    http://www.venturecanoes.com/page.php?Page=55

    also in defence of Venture, they are British so I guess, like me, they potentially have no idea what bits of Canada are where without a map or prior knowlege - eg I know where Vancouver is now as my wife's best friend moved there, was dissapointed when I looked at the map it is so far from Maine/Vermont as I like that bit of the US . . . brits eh, what do we know !?

  28. #28
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    Yeah, well, you are actually closer to Maine than Vancouver is......

  29. #29
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    Default Could be "Western Canada"

    It all depends on what you compare it with.
    If you're here, for instance...



    Dave

  30. #30
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    Default Venture Ontario

    Canoe reviews

  31. #31
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    Having had a fair few trips out in mine now my only grumble is the fact that the bow seat is too small.To sit on it and get the canoe to heel over means that the woodwork of the seat ends up wedged in ..............well you get the picture.So a wider seat is going to be the next step or I may even put a thwart there instead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    2. had to lift the seats 25mm in the end to be sure of hasty exit while kneeling (size 8 feet) , also the seat edge is quite a sharp corner so becomes uncomfortable after a couple of hours. Seat locations seem ok but a kneeling thwart is now planned for solo use, probably put it 4" closer to centre then the bow seat
    In mine, I fitted a curved seat from 'endless river' for the front seat.
    Fitted right up to the gunnels to allow for the drop in the curve( size 9's). Solo with the boat healed over it sort of levels out and is nice and comfy, not the same pain in the it used to be. I use the perfect rock to ballast out the front, which improves the handling.
    knock it off with them negative waves, Moriarty
    why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?

  32. #32
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    Smile Ontario review 20 aug 2010

    I bought my Ontario 4 months ago. Careful study of the song of the paddle forums and a couple of trial paddles convinced me that this was exactly what I needed - namely a light, tough, cheap canoe for coaching from and for me to paddle in up to G3. I have fitted a kneeling thwart but had to bin the carry thwart because the 2 would be too close together so I added another thwart just aft of the front seat for structural stability. I have a little C-trug for long portages but but for short distances i can (just) carry it on my shoulder. 28" airbags front and rear; swimmer tails also added and I intend to add kevlar keel pads fore and aft now that the hull is "worn in". I am absolutely delighted with it. I weigh 85kg and my bag of safety junk usually is at least another 10kg so on G2 there is the occasional baling required but otherwise it's great. X rescues no problem; me plus 2 children or me plus 1 adult for short distances is fine. Poling is a delight and it sails without difficulty. 2ndary stability is good and the gunnel will go under before it capsizes. Lack of rocker and gripey ends mean you have to be quite positive with it in moving water but I paddle it like I paddle my kayak in terms of edging and I am constantly surprised at it's agiltiy. When flat water cruising it is effortless. However going backwards in the 3* figure of 8 test requires practice and much effort! Build quality seems fine. This boat does not have the style or image of an expensive RX equivalent but as a jack of all trades at very good value for money it gets 10 out of 10 from me.

  33. #33
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    During a discussion elsewhere, Colin Broadway (founder of Mobile Adventure) recently contributed this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Broadway
    The Hou 14 started life as the Rhapsody by Mobile Adventure, I described it thus:

    The Rhapsody is a modernised traditional 'Canadian' design, re curved bow and stern, plenty of tumblehome in the sides with an added sharp bow entry for ease of forward paddling. More at home on flat to light whitewater or crossing lakes, this shallow canoe at only 15ft long has a surprising carrying capacity and its low gunnels makes this an efficient canoe on windy days.

    When I produced it it was 35" wide at the Yoke and 12.5" deep at the yoke. Saying all that I still have an original, set up as a solo boat and I use it running Grade 3 rivers and mostly stay dry.

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