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The Beaver Club Gala is truly one of a kind! A fine catered dine and wine affair with 165 guests dressed to impressed in black tie, buckskin, voyageur flair, and period attire. Laughter and smiles for miles! Recreating the original fur traders’ supper club in Montreal, Saturday, October 18th marked the 7th annul event in support of experiential education and public programs at The Canadian Canoe Museum. The evening was a tremendous success and raised in excess of $65,000 (net) thanks to many generous sponsors, donors, guests, and volunteers. Check out photo highlights here courtesy of photographer Myke Healy of Fusionriver Photography.

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Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining 35 members of our volunteer team on a road trip to the beautiful town of Kingston, ON. The bus trip is an annual outing for us and each fall we head to a new destination to explore different cities, museums and attractions. The number one goal of the trip is to provide our volunteers with a chance to meet new people, see new places and have a blast experiencing new things. While we’re at it, we also try to take advantage of opportunities for professional development and to see how other institutions run their show.

Our day began at the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum participating in a Curator’s Tour. Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t know about you but I have one child who likes to make what she calls ‘mixes’.  Often these mixes involve an array of disconnected ingredients that clump together, are then microwaved, then frozen and often found buried or leaking in the freezer months later! Despite the appearance of said mix, the process and sometimes the product are rewarding and definitely worth celebrating.  We at the Museum recently made our own ‘mix’. We gathered up our stuff, our programming, our people and left 910 Monaghan Road Peterborough for the Direct Energy Center in Toronto for 10 days to be a Show Feature at the Toronto International Boat Show.  Since being back at 910 Monaghan for a few days now and am experiencing the sickness that often follows these outreach events, I am reflecting on what ingredients we used in our mix. And yes, I would say that we feel like we’ve been microwaved and frozen.  Here is a list of the items I see figuring heavily in our mix:

Ingredients:

  • one 300 lb 16′ canoe form for canoe building demonstrations
  • 1 steam box and associated equipment
  • 4 shavehorses for paddle carving demonstrations and workshops
  • 200-300 Paddle to the Sea wooden cut outs and associated equipment
  • 5 full size canoe paddle workshop participants, their paddles, and associated equipment
  • 100 Soapstone pendants and associated equipment
  • 500 paper folding canoes and associated equipment
  • 1 Oru Kayak and 1 borrowed Oru kayak (thanks Bill!) Read the rest of this entry »

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P.A. Days… or some call ’em P.D Days… aka to kids as a DAY OFF SCHOOL!  And what did a bunch of our Summer Paddling Campers choose to do with their DAY OFF SCHOOL this month? Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

You may not remember this, but on Thursday, September 12, in the middle of the afternoon, it was raining.  A lot. You could even call it torrential. I don’t have an impressive photo of the downpour, but let’s just say it was not the kind of weather to make even this life-long, hard-core canoeist think: golly, let’s head out for a picnic and paddle this evening.

So, a hundred cheers for the two dozen intrepid new Canadians who did just that, coming out on a chilly, still damp – but surprisingly precipitation-free! – evening to meet new friends and experience a Voyageur canoe ride along the Otonabee River.

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Now that we’ve got your attention and maybe have you wondering if we’re about to post a Canoe Museum Spring Break video, I’d like to tell you about a very interesting trip that some of us just went on. You’ve probably heard that the Museum is in the middle of a feasibility study?  A group of consultants, fundraisers and architects is helping us to explore what it would mean for the Museum to move to a new home on the waterfront somewhere in Peterborough. If you’ve visited the Museum in person, you’ll know that the water is a little hard to reach from our present site. You might also know that a number of years ago we tried to bring the water to the Museum. Turns out it’s easier to bring the Museum to the water.

An important part of a study like this is learning more about what other institutions are up to. Sometimes, you get some really good ideas to take back to your own shop. Other times, you realize that what you’re doing is actually pretty good. Either way, it’s well worth the effort. We began our road trip at The Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY. Located on a waterfront campus on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River, the ABM is known far and wide for its collection of more that 300 pleasure boats, ranging in size from 6′ long to over 100′ long.

ABM site guide page 1 Read the rest of this entry »

Last week myself, my co-guide Jeff, and 10 totally awesome and enthusiastic youth headed out for 3 days of paddling and camping in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. This is the second year that the Canoe Museum has offered a session of Tripping Camp amongst 5 weeks of Summer Paddling Camps and, if it’s truly time to wrap up a summer on the water, this is the best possible way to do it.

Tripping Camp began with a day of preparation and packing at the Canoe Museum. These kids were earning their ORCKA Canoe Tripping Level 1A certification, meaning they were super involved in the packing of all food, group gear and personal gear. One of the really cool things we did on this first day was make our own homemade hummus from scratch and dehydrate it so it would take up minimal space in our food barrel (let’s be serious, the more room in there for desserts the better). Click here for the simple and yummy recipe we used! We tripled the recipe for 12 hungry trippers and it was the perfect amount for lunch on the first day with pitas and veggies. We followed these guidelines from the Rapid Media (Museum Corporate Member) website for instructions on dehydrating and rehydrating hummus. The rest of the day was spent setting up and checking over our gear, loading up the wanigan and getting to know each other before we headed out on trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Each summer for the past 34 years, members of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association have gathered for their annual assembly. For many of those years, the Assembly has been held on the beautiful lakefront campus of Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack area of upstate New York.

Earlier this year, the WCHA and the Canoe Museum decided to work together to support canoeing heritage by offering the members of each organization a year of free membership in the other. To promote this new initiative and get to know the WCHA better, I spent three days at this year’s assembly, which was once again held at Paul Smith’s College.

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We are quite pleased when we have the opportunity to share our passion for canoeing history.  This passion can take the form of outreach programs, conferences, tradeshows and increasingly often, travelling exhibits.  Forming partnerships with other museums is very gratifying and an important part of what we do as a cultural institution.

Our most recent travelling exhibit is currently installed at Grace and Speed  in Gravenhurst Ontario.  The exhibit, featuring racing canoes, explores the evolution of racing shells and the athletes who propelled them to victory. The boats featured in this exhibit also serve as a little teaser for what is to come.

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