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The leaves are changing, the weather is becoming more and more brisk, and the days of summer are begin to feel far away. From the entire Canoe Museum family I hope that everyone had a lovely long weekend and perhaps got in that one last paddle of the season. Personally, fall is my favourite season and I love those last few paddles before the weather turns cold. Fall is certainly in full swing here at the Canoe Museum and we have plenty to offer the canoe enthusiast or anyone else who is beginning to miss those days of summer.

Fall colours in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

Fall colours in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

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No, this isn’t an early Hallowe’en post.

THIS is The Beast:

karen kain paddling-1

Okay, so it’s a friendly Beast, aka our Voyageur Canoe, a 33-foot, 450+lb, fiberglass-and-wood canoe designed and painted to look like the birch-bark canoes used during the fur trade.  It earns its nickname not only for its weight but for the fact that any time we want to use it, we have to herd up a bunch of staff and volunteers to dismantle it into two (still beastly heavy) sections, load it onto two trailers, arrange for people with hitches to bring their cars, schlep the trailers and our staff/volunteers to the put-in, and then haul it off the trailers and reconstruct it in situ, which is always reminds why IKEA doesn’t make 500lb bookshelves.  You just have to laugh, really, at how unbirchbark-ish our Voyageur Canoe actually is.

But, don’t get me wrong: I love the beast, and I’m forever grateful that its builder, Jim Holman, generously donated his craft to us after its illustrious reenactment career with the Red House Brigade. Because THIS is also the beast, in action:

2.1.1.2.12 VOYAGEUR CANOE 2

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Paddles straight up in N.Canoe group shot

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Fun even on the grass

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karen kain paddling-36#1647What do you have planned for the kids in your life this summer holiday? The Canoe Museum provides an exceptional quality day camp experience kids ages 10-14. Spending the day on the water in a canoe, swimming when its hot, making new friends and learning the art of canoeing!  What could be better? We have a few spaces available so check out the camps page for more information.

 

Summer camps? What?! I can’t believe the ice is just out now and that I just planted my peas and spinach last night.  Everything is so late this spring and as such so is my planning for the summer. This is the first year for me that one of my kids can register for the fabulous (and affordable) Paddling Camps that we offer at the Canoe Museum.  Check out the Paddling camp scene on the video below for a taste of what kids are going to be up to this coming summer (and yes, summer is coming)!  Register soon, space is limited and there are others out there who also haven’t planned their summer yet!

Parks Canada and The Canadian Canoe Museum Consider Potential Relocation
of Museum to Peterborough Lift Lock

Collaboration would boost tourism and sustainability

artist rendition of the Canoe Museum at the Peterborough Lift Lock

April 9, 2014 – Parks Canada

Parks Canada and the Canadian Canoe Museum are exploring an innovative idea of relocating the museum to the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site on the Trent-Severn Waterway as a way to boost the tourism and revenue potential for both organizations.

The construction of a new museum at this location would consolidate two significant tourism and recreation destinations in the region and offer enhanced opportunities for Canadian families, including the opportunity to better explore the canoe’s history in Canada and enjoy the diverse water-related programming and associated activities that can be offered by the museum at this historic location.

Parks Canada and the Canoe Museum will now enter into detailed negotiations to determine the terms of the potential partnership. This joint project would aim to increase visitation and offer new opportunities that would support each organization’s mandate and their financial sustainability.

This project demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to work with partners and communities to help canals be a premier tourism destination, generate revenue, foster recreation and economic development, and ultimately build strong communities and support Canadian families. For the Canoe Museum, this initiative represents the potential fulfillment of a long-cherished aspiration – the relocation to a new water-based site that will enable wider and more extensive programming. Read the rest of this entry »

A gazillion times a day, this is how it goes:

“Education Coordinator, Karen Taylor speaking…”

“Yes, hello, I’m just wondering if I could bring my students (scouts, guides, youth group) for a tour.”

“No.”

Okay, I don’t really just say NO.  I do have some people skills.  But that is my answer in a nutshell, because I know that when we get your 28 grade 2s – or your 11 Guides or your 17 at-risk youth – into the Museum,  the worst move is to herd ’em up and lead the pack through our exhibits, even though there’s fascinating stuff to talk about and just about any one of us here could go on for hours about it all, passionately, adding the behind-the-scenes stories and more historical context to the wealth of information already in our displays.

Instead, when you call, I’m going to nudge you to toss that idea of a How-to-Visit-a-Museum out the window, and sign your kids up for an experience, for learning-by-doing, for one of our many education programs that aim to take kids to that the edge of their comfort zone where learning happens, and where learning lasts. “Experiential education” can take a lot of forms around here: role plays, a new hands-on skill, artistic expression, games,  but this is what it has looked like in the past couple of weeks. Doesn’t it look fun?! Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a snow day. Personally, that means my daughter made her first snow angel of the year on our walk to school, and that I finally made an appointment to get my winter tires on.  Here in the Education Department that means early morning surveillance of the school bus website, cell phone communications with today’s visiting teachers, and wake up calls to program staff to say, stay in bed — or go play in the snow — Albert College has to postpone their trip. And now the Galleries seem strangely empty and quiet with mere adults (!) exploring our exhibits: oh, I know they’re into it, but they don’t tend forget to use their “walking feet” and “indoor voices” quite as often as kids who are engaged in the scavenger hunts, discovery activities and games included in our school programs here.

Compare:

Yesterday’s kids from Queen Elizabeth PS, really into it:

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very small canoe with caption

When I walked through the door of the Canadian Canoe Museum in August of 2008, I had no idea what I was getting into. OK, maybe that’s not 100% true. I knew that the CCM had an amazing collection of canoes and kayaks and I knew about the Museum’s history at Kandalore and at Monaghan Road. I had even seen the canoes in the log building at Camp Kandalore back in the mid 1980s. Those were the facts of the story. I knew a little about what the Canoe Museum was, but I didn’t have any idea who the museum was. Now I do.

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title slide

Each year, the Ontario Museum Association puts on a conference where those of us in the business, and those who would like to be in the business, gather to talk about the professional issues of the day. The theme for 2013 is “Culture: Taking Charge.” I’ve been asked to be a panelist in a session called “Paradigm Shifts: The Challenge of Doing Things Differently.” The panelists have been asked to think about a major change, issue or crisis that has confronted their institution and reflect on how they dealt with it.

Two challenges came immediately to mind for the Canadian Canoe Museum, and the more I thought about them the more they seemed to be related.

Challenge #1: Our collection of more than 600 canoes, kayaks and watercraft is national in scope and includes watercraft from every province and territory. Our ambitions are also national in scope, and we want to be engaged with Canadians and visitors across the country. One typical way to do this is through membership. But, one of the benefits of membership in a museum is often free admission. How does that work if you live 1500km away from the institution? Is there a way to deliver enough value to members to make it worthwhile to join even if they never visit in person?

5-bay without pins

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Wow what a day! A new tradition at The Canadian Canoe Museum was born on Sunday, October 27, 2013 – the George Luste Lecture. This exciting inaugural event marked the kick off of the new partnership between The Canadian Canoe Museum and the Wilderness Canoe Association (WCA).

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