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This blog post was inspired by this funny little image that our General Manager, John Summers, emailed to me the other day. I’ve often stumbled upon the same image while lurking around on the internet, usually while doing strange combination-searches for things canoe-related and things knitting-related. Here it is:
This crafty pattern made me think. A ‘Crocheted Barbie Canoe’ might not be very practical – but, there’s definitely something fun about it. So what happens when you combine canoeing stuff and DIY stuff? Well, keep reading and you’ll see some unique examples! (by the way, you might still have time to purchase the Crochet Canoe pattern on Ebay!) Read the rest of this entry »
Every so often, we come across a canoe here at the Museum that raises more questions than it answers. Last summer, a donor brought this interesting boat to our attention.
Here’s what stood out for us when we first looked at it:
- It is very lightly built, almost more like a rowing shell than a canoe, with a 1/8″ veneer hull and sawn frame/batten seam construction;
- It once had fabric decks, and there are still scraps of varnished linen attached to some of the deckbeams;
- The cockpit area has a very wide, flaring coaming that adds several inches to the boat’s beam; and
- It was probably used for flatwater sprint racing.
What we didn’t know was what class or type of canoe it was.
My name is Cookie, and I’m a Golden Retriever who really likes canoeing. Here are the top 10 reasons I enjoy it so much.
#1: There’s water everywhere. Water to drink, water to swim in, water to smell, water to bring into the car with you on your fur!
#2: I get a biscuit when I put my lifejacket on!
#3: I get a biscuit when I take my lifejacket off!
#4: Sometimes, there are squirrels where we put the canoe in the water!
#5: Sometimes, there are ducks in the water, and I dream of being fast enough to catch up with one, though to be honest I am not sure what to do with it when I catch it, so I should think about that some more.
#6: Once, I found a dead fish on the beach and I brought it into the car with me on my fur. The car smelled good for several weeks afterwards!
#7: Sometimes, there are squirrels!
#8: I have never met any cats that like to go canoeing!
#9: Sometimes, there are squirrels!
#10: You can meet new friends on the water, like my buddy Booker:
If your owner takes you out on the water in a canoe, why not post a photo or two of one of your trips on our Facebook page, or Tweet with the hashtag #dogsincanoes. You can put the photos up on the museum’s Pinterest page too, where there are already some dogs in canoes.
See you on the water!
Many of the thousands of visitors who come through the museum each year have seen this artifact in the museum’s “It Wasn’t All Work” gallery, and at least some of them have probably gone away thinking, “That’s a canoe? Doesn’t look like any canoe I’ve ever seen before.”
It is indeed a canoe, but it needs a little explanation, so here’s some background. This is a canoe called “Widgeon,” built by the William English Canoe Company in the early 20th century. She’s a sailing canoe, of a particular type known as a 16-30, which I’ll talk about in a minute. The reason she might not look like any canoe you’ve ever seen before is that she has about as much to do with the canoe hanging in your garage as the Toyota in your driveway has to do with a Formula 1 race car: that is, not very much. Read the rest of this entry »
Every year at this time we move into high gear developing a new temporary exhibit for our McLean-Matthews Gallery. This year’s show is playfully called “Canoes to Go: The Search for a Truly Portable Boat”.
Foldable, collapsible, sectional or inflatable: these are some of the principals used in making a full-sized canoe or kayak small enough to fit into a baggage compartment or a bushplane or a backpack. While researching for this exhibit, we’ve encountered all sorts of fascinating and unexpected characters and events. I’m intending to share one or two more stories over the coming weeks and certainly hope that you are able to join us for the exhibit’s opening on the night of our Annual General Meeting, April 25th, 2012 or thereafter.
Several years ago our general manager John Summers acquired a reprint for a 1840s manuscript that described in illustrated detail the invention of an extraordinary, if ridiculous, waterproof raincoat. This marvelous garment could be removed from the shoulders of an adventurous spirit and inflated by bellows conveniently located in one pocket. This quickly transformed it into a vessel ready to carry him away. How to propel you ask? Imagine then, our intrepid explorer removing from his cloak’s other pocket the blade of a paddle that could be threaded onto the tip of his walking stick. If lucky and the wind was right, a modified Englishman’s umbrella could also be used as a sail and the once-thwarted adventurer could continue in his adventuresome way. Read the rest of this entry »
Now I’ll be the first to admit that the delightful word “Canoodling” doesn’t strictly speaking have anything to do with canoes. Of obscure origin, possibly an english dialect word meaning “foolish lover,” the first recorded use was in 1859. But Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, so putting etymology aside for the moment, it’s an evocative way to introduce all of the romantic associations of canoes. In the latter years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, a canoe offered sweethearts a pleasant and chaperone-free means to be alone for a time. Almost any waterfront park had a canoe livery where couples could get on the water and escape prying eyes and ears.
As well as being a vehicle for lovers, the canoe is also a theme for romance, and you don’t have to look very far, or spend much time at all on ebay, to come up with images like this Valentine’s postcard, mailed in 1911 to one Miss Ermina Evertts of Wellsburg, NY. Our young lady has just burst through a large paper heart in her birchbark canoe, heavily loaded with a cargo of flowers. Perhaps she ran into the heart because she was too busy reading the book on her lap instead of looking where she was paddling? She also appears to have put on her makeup in the dark, or at least her lipstick. Best of all though is the heart pierced by cupid’s arrow that hangs from a dainty ribbon on the right side of the card.
It’s still a little cold for real canoeing, at least here in Peterborough where there’s ice on the river, but this February 14th we can at least go for a paddle in our hearts. Happy Valentine’s Day from the Canadian Canoe Museum.