For most of its length the broad Slave River plods over the boreal plains, sliding listlessly toward Great Slave Lake. But at the point where it hits the Northwest Territories border, it is suddenly stirred by the Canadian Shield and detonates into a maelstrom. Beginning at Fort Fitzgerald and ending 10 kilometres downstream at Fort Smith are four furious sets of rapids rapids. The house-high waves, dizzying whirlpools, and gushing channels provide a playground for world-class kayakers, while also protecting the world’s northernmost white pelicans, which nest on midstream islands. Visitors can witness the rapids from various lookouts along the bank, or, to get a feel for the river’s might, can attend Paddlefest – a celebration of whitewater fun.