It was very early on the morning of September 26th 2013, when 26 intrepid explorers, (volunteers and staff), boarded a bus that was to take us on the road to our roots, to visit Camp Kandalore, where Kirk Wipper obtained and displayed his first canoe, the embryo of what eventually was birthed as The Canadian Canoe Museum.
Brock, Director of Kandalore Outdoor Education Centre, certainly a big title for a very knowledgeable, dedicated and charming young man, who was our guide for the day. He took us to the docks to see young campers setting out on their own adventures in the many canoes available, and he told us of all the different programs that the campers can be involved in, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, log rolling, white water trips, sailing and pretty much everything else water.
We walked the floating jetty to the island used for the quiet times and many a story from Kirk whilst meeting at the campfire, there was evidence of Kirk everywhere including his mantra carved on a rock as you first step on the island.
From this vantage point you can see Ghost Island the subject of a beautiful painting that Neil Broadfoot did as a fundraiser for Kirks Legacy Fund, (a limited number of prints are still available at the Museum Store).
We visited the original museum, the oldest building at the camp, where the first canoes were originally on display, and saw the dining room where as many as 450 campers sit down for three meals a day all year long.
The newest addition to the camp is the High Ropes Course, which has over 20 different elements, and is an enormous success and a great confidence builder. We of course were all eager to try this, but unfortunately, time did not allow as we had to rush off to our next stop.
There were many alumni with us, including our own Stacey Reynolds and Neil Broadfoot, who both had the opportunity to spend many Summers in this kids and teens paradise.
After a stop for sustenance and to mourn the fact that we all missed the chance to walk those high wires, we received an incredibly warm welcome from the docents at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst, they literally treated us like family, as we share many of our canoes with them and a number of the volunteers there are also members of the Canoe Museum, and proud of it.
At this point the press caught up with our fearless leader, Stacey, who carried off the interview with her usual, calm professional aplomb.
The Boat Museum’s current exhibits are featuring antique racing canoes, in pristine condition, in fully working order, including Miss Canada III and Miss Canada IV, just magnificent.
We reluctantly boarded our bus for the return to Peterborough, arriving back at the Museum around 5:30pm, having experienced a wonderful, informative and thoroughly enjoyable day, thanks and kudos to Stacey for arranging this truly lovely day. The weather was beautiful, perfect venues, a perfect day, a perfect adventure!