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The Canadian Canoe Museum has more that 100 canoes and kayaks on display – from the great dugouts of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to Adam van Koeverden’s Olympic kayak – you are sure to find a favourite!  But did you know that we also have some re-purposed canoes?  Our visitors have a great time using their percussion skills on our Canoe Kettle Drum  or meditating in the “Sukkanoe” – read more about these great displays here.

Our latest re-purposed canoe was donated by Nova Craft Canoes and is an exquisite “Canoe Couch”.  Visitors, volunteers and staff have all taken a turn resting their weary bones on its leather cushions.Couch Canoe - Bev Bradbury


Through out history people have had some great ideas that are canoe related.  The canoe sidecar is very popular and was very prominent in our Canoes To Go exhibit. Below is a photo from the Birmingham Motorcycle Club from 1925 with their rendition.

canoesidecarBirmingham Motorcycle club1925Small Size - Fade Top Title Panel

The IE Weldon Secondary School’s canoe building class displayed a “canoe car” at the 2013 Small Craft Rendezvous that was a hit with all the visitors.

IE Weldon SS Canoe program


All you have to do is use your imagination and the canoe become an unique art form.   The Strathcona Park Lodge has this canoe planter on display while a home owner in northern BC had the same idea but the local wild life found another use for the canoe!


Strathcona Park Lodge canoe planterdeer in canoe CBC north by northwest's photo


But I think my favourite is the canoe pond – might be great at the entrance of our Museum!


Have you re-purposed a canoe?  We would love to see your creation!  Email pictures to or post on our Facebook page here.

Russ Parker and kayak

Russ Parker and kayak

A weekend visit to The Canadian Canoe Museum will often lead to an encounter with a very talented woodworker on our team named Russ Parker. Retired from a long career with the Toronto Fire Services and an avid guitar maker, Russ has also been producing some very fine skin-on-frame kayaks in our Living Traditions Workshop as a Canadian Canoe Museum volunteer.

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Fall is becoming a busy time of year here at the Canoe Museum- from lectures, school programs and the annual Beaver Club Gala just on the horizon, all hands are on deck to provide a welcoming and memorable experience for our guests.

I love interacting with the public. Greeting visitors at the door, working with children and answering questions as guests peruse the galleries are some of the highlights of a museum setting- but sometimes it’s just nice to bask in the solace of our artifact storage facilities.

View of the Museum's storage facilities.  Look at the rainbow! I wonder if there is a bucket of gold hidden behind an old dugout?

View of the Museum’s storage facilities.
Look at the rainbow, I wonder if there is a bucket of gold hidden behind an old dugout!

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Courting Canoe

The opening of our new exhibition  “Can I Canoe You Up the River? – The Story of Paddling and Romance” has given our Museum’s Shop the opportunity to create our own unique merchandise. Designed to give our visitors a chance to take home a piece of their experience, you have many options. From miniature courting canoes to large canvas totes, our Shop has numerous items available.  Visit the Shop after you enjoy the exhibition (opening today – April 23) and find the perfect memento! tote bagbookmark_summer-canoe_largePoker Size (2)





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It’s springtime here in Peterborough, Ontario and although this may seem hard to believe right now with most of the ground still covered in large snowbanks – it’s here. Pretty soon we’ll be enjoying watching the flowers bloom, the relief of ditching the extra winter layers, and for many the joys of dipping our paddles again. Because the snow (hopefully) will be melted sooner rather than later, it’s a great time to start planning for your spring.


Here are 5 cool things to do this spring:

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Birch bark opened, looking up (CCM/JW)

Birch bark opened, looking up (CCM/JW)

From time to time, The Canadian Canoe Museum uses one of its gallery workshops to explore or recreate the various canoe and kayak-building traditions reflected within its collection.  These opportunities always make for engaging interactive experiences for our guests and have also led to very rewarding collaborations with colleagues. In the end, these projects also aspire to deepen our shared understanding of the many different traditions, techniques and stories reflected within the Museum’s own remarkable collection.

91-year old Walter Walker and helpers with wideboard (photo:CCM/DR)

91-year old Walter Walker (right) and helpers with wide-board raised batten canoe (photo:CCM/DR)

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Like the rest of this community also involved with The Canadian Canoe Museum, I share a peculiar affection for the little human-powered boats that are so celebrated in our country’s heritage. It is certainly my privilege as the Museum’s Curator to spend quite a bit of time with its collection of over 600 of these little boats.

Canadian Canoe Museum onsite Collections Storage Facility (CCM photo)

Canadian Canoe Museum onsite Collections Storage Facility (CCM photo)

If pressed, I do not have a favourite canoe– at least today’s choice would not be the same as yesterday’s favourite. I will however make a small confession: I’ve long had a soft spot for one unusual branch in the canoe’s family tree and it usually has an outboard motor hanging off the end.  Now I’m not really a motorboat person, not at all, but there’s something about the shape and workboat finish of the great freighter canoes found across the Canadian north that gives me a thrill. Read the rest of this entry »

Peterborough Canoe Company 1904 skiff half model

Peterborough Canoe Company 1904 skiff half model

In the world of boat building, the classical method of developing a new hull design (i.e. no software) begins with the designer precisely carving a scale model of one-half of the intended shape. The sculpted results can then be studied, evaluated and easily adjusted until the discerning eye is pleased in every possible way with the model’s shape and anticipated performance.

This half model is then sawn into pieces or, more typically, was carved out of an assembled stack of planks. Disassembled, the shape of each horizontal plank (or waterline) is transferred onto another surface to be scaled up full size to develop the patterns or forms for the boat proper. I cannot think of a cleverer or more elegant method of facilitating the dialogue between designer and builder as they come to an understanding about something as complex and curvy as a boat.

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What a year! Thanks to the support of members, donors, and volunteers, this 15th year of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s operation in Peterborough, Ontario, has been one of the most intense and rewarding periods in its history so far.

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With the onset of actual snow this morning in Peterborough and the Kawarthas, I think its time that we start focusing our attention on the most Canadian of winter sports. No its not hockey, and its not curling either. For those of you new to the sport I present: Canoe Sledding! A great way to put your canoe to use over the winter so that it can earn its keep.


Canoe Sledding is fun for the whole family AND the dogs!
Image copyright of Rowell Photography.

canoe sledding 2

These two are really getting some air time.

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