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What do Varcroft & Bianco Wooden Creations, Bear Mountain Boats, Rapid Media, Camp Ponacka, FOCA (Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations), Camp Wanapitei, and Elmhirst’s Resort all have in common?

canoe bow

Answer: they represent the first Corporate Members of The Canadian Canoe Museum. What could a Corporate Membership do for your business? What’s in it for you…


Did you know that 63% of Canadians say they prefer to conduct business with companies that support not-for-profits and worthy causes? With your Museum Corporate Membership, you demonstrate to your customers, employees, and friends that you support the preservation and celebration of the rich traditions of Canadian and paddling history, character, and spirit. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks to your support, 2012 is shaping up to be another successful year for The Canadian Canoe Museum.  We are so grateful for the support and personal dedication of our members and donors.  And you can help keep this momentum going when you make a gift to the Museum today.

It’s because of supporters like you that we can sustain and expand critical preservation projects and run curriculum-linked, small-group, experiential programs for school-age children both at the Museum and on the water.  Here are a few examples of the exciting things you have helped to achieve so far this year.

Canada One at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant on the Thames River.

  • Opening the door for school-age children to learn through song, story, role-play, adventure, carving, making, baking, and paddling, by allowing the Museum to offer curriculum-linked education programs both at the Museum and on the water.  And in French!

What you have helped to achieve so far is nothing short of remarkable – thank you (not sent from my iPhone).  Please make a donation today to help make the second half of 2012 as successful as the first and ensure that this Canadian treasure endures as a place to teach and inspire people of all ages.

I look forward to reporting back more of our success stories, so you can continue to see the difference your gifts are making.  Thanks for stepping up.

Passion, fun, thankful, interesting … all of these words have been floating around the Museum lately. Perhaps not typical words you would associate with a Museum, but then again The Canadian Canoe Museum is not your typical museum.

This past Saturday, September 22nd, the Museum hosted its first members-only event. Members were given the special opportunity to explore the Museum’s collection’s storage facility (not currently on display to the general public) and enjoy a passionate talk on the Wabakimi Project as part of the Wipper Lecture Series.

Kicking off the afternoon surrounded by the world’s largest collection of canoes and kayaks, members were able to get up close and personal with the artifacts.

Jeremy Ward, Curator, for The Canadian Canoe Museum guided the members through the stories of a number of the artifacts and shared the interesting story of how the Enys canoe recently made its way home to the Museum. The canoe, which dates back to the late 1700s, is one of the oldest known birch bark canoes and is a significant piece of Canadian history. To find out more on the Enys canoe, please click here.

Hands-on. The Canadian Canoe Museum is not just a series of artifacts and associated plaques, but offers visitors the opportunity to engage with the collection, its stories, and history, in fun and unexpected ways. For example, this member got to try her hand on the Canoe Drum, made by David Hynes.

Following the tour of the collection’s storage facility, members were invited to the Museum’s Education Centre to enjoy refreshments and hear from this year’s Wipper Lecturer, “Uncle” Phil Cotton. Museum Executive Director, James Raffan, greeted the members and thanked them for their invaluable support of The Canadian Canoe Museum. Members are the backbone of this institution, and without their kind support we would not be able to preserve and celebrate the canoe, or offer educational programs to people of all ages.

The grand finale of the afternoon, was guest speaker, “Uncle” Phil Cotton, or as some call the “rogue prophet of Wabakimi”. Accompanied by an interesting mix of breathtaking photos, Phil shared his passion for Wabakimi Provincial Park, information on canoeing opportunities in the Park, and the volunteer conservancy initiative he founded that is known internationally as The Wabakimi Project. Wabakimi Provincial Park lies some 240 km north of Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Twice the size of either Quetico or Woodland Caribou, it is Ontario’s 2nd largest provincial park and features some of the best canoe camping opportunities the province has to offer.

In the first eight years of operation, 144 different volunteers from across North America and Europe collectively spent a total of 718 days on 82 reconnaissance expeditions exploring, rehabilitating and mapping the canoe routes of the Wabakimi area. Together, they travelled over 3,960km, identified and cleaned more than 751 traditional campsites and located, cleared and measured 758 portages whose total lengths exceed 187,900m. In return for route planning assistance, contributors and partners organize their own self-directed trips to monitor these routes and report on their condition and usage.

A retired high school teacher, avid canoe historian and active environmentalist, “Uncle” Phil Cotton lives in Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario from where he has guided canoe trips professionally for over 55 years. Keenly interested in aquatic and outdoor safety, Phil has taught canoe and water safety courses and actively participated in the operations of local volunteer search and rescue organizations. A prolific author in his own right, he contributed a chapter for Kevin Callan’s popular paddler’s guidebook, Quetico and Beyond.

Since 2004, Phil has devoted himself full-time to the preservation and protection of the canoe routes that lie within Wabakimi Provincial Park and on the adjacent Crown lands. His interest in these historic waterways grew out of a concern that they were falling into disrepair due to lack of maintenance and, without intervention, would be lost forever. His determination to complete the monumental task of rehabilitating and documenting this important cultural and historical value has earned him the reputation as the “rogue prophet of Wabakimi” and the nickname of “Wabakimi recon man”.

Stay tuned for more details on the next members’ event. Are you a member yet?

The Canoe Museum is pretty awesome! Here are 5 reasons why you should become a member and help us reach 1,000 members by the end of 2013…

1. It’s cheap! A family membership pays for itself in only a couple of visits . It allows you unlimited FREE admission for a full year to all exhibits, including the new exhibit Canoes to Go: The Search for a Truly Portable Boat.

Members trying out the folding canoe in the Canoes to Go exhibit

2. Fun! You receive invitations to exclusive member events held both at the Museum and online (because we know you can’t always make it into the Museum – especially if you live in places like BC, Florida, or London).  You will enjoy behind-the-scenes tours, talks, receptions, renowned family activities, exhibit previews, and VIP priority access and news including many pre-registration opportunities to the Museum’s public events and activities.

Never a dull moment at the Museum! Pack basket workshop participants show off their projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m not a shopper, so I love it when I can find a gift idea that is both unique and easy (especially for that person who has everything or is hard to buy for). If the gift is also environmentally friendly – Bonus!

Meet Dr. Peter Fritz

Recently I heard the story of a perfect gift received by Dr. Peter Fritz. Dr. Fritz is a certified specialist in Periodontics and is in full-time private practice in Fonthill, Ontario. One look at his practice waiting room or website and you’ll see that Dr. Fritz has a passion for canoeing and is an avid paddler.

The reception area features a 16 foot cedar strip canoe suspended from the 12 foot ceiling and a canoe coffee table.

A stained glass window depicting the office logo: a canoeist gliding along a calm lake, welcomes patients.

Given his paddling passion, a friend of Dr. Fritz’s, Dr. Ralph West, found the perfect gift for Dr. Fritz – Adopt a Canoe.

Adopt a what? Adopt-a-canoe. It’s this cool program offered by The Canadian Canoe Museum. For just $15/month you can adopt one of the canoes in the Museum’s collection in honour of a friend or loved one (or yourself).

The adopter then has their name displayed with their canoe for all Museum visitors to see both in the Museum’s gallery and online. Plus, they receive a certificate of adoption and a one year membership to the Museum.

So what was Dr. Fritz’s response to this unique and cool gift idea: “I was delighted to have a canoe adopted in my name by a dear friend.  The adoption certificate is proudly displayed in my waiting room.  The canoeing theme resonates with my patients and helps us break the ice through this common connection.”

Find out more about Dr. Peter C. Fritz at

Now that’s something I would love to hear from someone I had given a gift to!

To find out more on this fun and unique gift idea click here. Or find out more about The Canadian Canoe Museum and Dr. Peter Fritz.

There is never a dull moment at The Canadian Canoe Museum.  In fact, a little known Museum secret is the unofficial mascot that frequents the offices of the Museum – the Boar.

Unveiling the unofficial Museum mascot.

The Boar can often be seen “hanging around” the development and volunteer offices, using the staff computers, and making an annual appearance at the popular Beaver Club Gala. Read the rest of this entry »