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The latest report from our London Correspondent, Canoe Museum Executive Director James Raffan.

The final step in the multilayered security clearances for pageant participants is to get “accredited” to be on the water.  This can happen on the day of the pageant but organizers are urging everyone to go through this process before, if possible.

Went down to the Strand Hotel, on the Strand … where else would it be? … to pick up the Canada One/Un boarding passes this morning by bus from Paddington. This town is getting totally electric … there are flags everywhere!  And, with seriously congested traffic, there was lots of time on the upper bunk of the double decker bus to check it all out.

Along the way, I looked out and there was Canada House—The Canadian High Commission—at 1 Grosvenor Square and my heart went all a flutter with the sight of a few Canadian flags amongst all the Union Jacks.

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Our intrepid free-range Executive Director James Raffan has been busy in London, assembling his crew of voyageurs and making final preparations for the big day on Sunday, June 3rd. The Canadian High Commission in London has mounted a splendid banner in honour of the occasion.

Here’s the next chapter of the Jubilee adventure in James’ own words.

To get to the Watermen’s and Lightermen’s Guild Hall to attend one of several briefings for coxswains and skippers of craft in what they’re calling the “Man-Powered Squadron,” the original plan was to take the tube or the bus.  But, at the last minute, the Canadian Tourism Commission phoned and asked if the museum would be interested in working with a contracted film crew to do a video clip about Canada One and the wonders of canoeing in Canada.  I assured them that someone could be found.  And, instead of heading downtown on public transit, the film crew turned up and we all went to the banks of the Thames at Tower Bridge in a private London cab.

The only problem was that the Thames and its banks (we were actually shooting right outside the new city hall so that didn’t help) were crawling with police and security personnel. Read the rest of this entry »

Remember Grade 6? Didn’t it suck? Looking out at the world from behind a mask of braces and zits.  Awkwardness, weird body stuff. And school. The only thing I recall from my grade 6 so-called education is that each and every month we had to make an elaborate new cover for our science workbooks, for a hefty part of our mark, while the Bunsen burners gathered dust. (It occurs to me now that Mrs. K  was a thwarted art teacher, but jeesh.)  Now I see grade 6s and 7s coming into the Museum for our Education Programs, and my heart goes out to them, so transparent is the coolness or, sadder still, apathy, that so many try to hide behind. It is a testimony to our wonderful Education Animators here at the Museum that they can inspire kids of all ages and stages to engage in our programs. And once the students start getting their hands on soapstone, or tying tumps, or baking bannock, or building kayaks, the coolness always starts to crack and the tenacious spirits of these kids get a chance to emerge. I love that about this place and its people. Read the rest of this entry »

The theme for this year’s Peterborough Santa Claus Parade was “Christmas movies,” which presented us with a problem: most Christmas films don’t really feature canoes.  So we stretched it a little bit and decided that the definition could include shorts about New Year’s Eve.  Thus our Chasse-galerie float was born, based on the National Film Board short ‘The Legend of the Flying Canoe,” which you can watch here on the NFB website.

Here are a few photos from the museum’s entry in Peterborough’s 2011 Santa Claus Parade (please excuse any blurriness – our photographer was also in our float!).

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