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There’s a great little day trip awaiting anyone who’s interested in finding a small bit of the wild in downtown Toronto.  It’s called the Humber River … who knew???  Put in at Étienne Brûlé Park, off Catharine Street just north of Bloor and paddle south to the lake.  Lots of cool stuff to see, including imagining what Brûlé, probably the first European to behold Lake Ontario, saw when he arrived at the exact same spot nearly 400 years ago. A crew from museum paddled this piece of the Humber on National Canoe Day  (it was actually an outing that was sold as a fundraiser at the Beaver Club Gala last fall) in bark canoes.  Helping to celebrate was CCM Piper-in-Residence, Helen Batten, who serenaded all and sundry with rousing renditions of the Paddling Piper’s Waltz and the Athol Highlander’s March. The National Canoe Day Humber Expedition was such a success that when a group of visitors from Siberia were in Toronto in September to celebrate Days of Sakha Yakutia Culture, their first outing in Canada was paddling the mighty Humber. Egor Makarov and his wife Marina had come to Toronto from their home in Yakutsk to launch a book and film about Siberian horses. 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 http://www.drpeterfritz.com

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.

If you’re planning on attending a screening of West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thompson, which takes place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto from Friday, April 20th to Thursday, April 26th at 7:00 pm each night, be sure to watch out for a pale green Chestnut canoe. On April 20th, the canoe will be portaged around the block by an actor portraying Thompson, and it will also be on display in the lobby for a time. The film will be available on DVD in the museum store shortly after the premiere.

Sounds of chatting, laughter and wood carving filled the air in the museum’s Preserving Skills Gallery last weekend.

March Paddle Carving Workshop instuctors and students showing off their beautiful paddles.

March 3rd and 4th was the first Black Cherry Paddle Workshop of the year here at the museum.  With a full class of paddle-carvers our volunteer instructors Don and Russ set out to lead the participants in making a canoe paddle in just two eight-hour days.  This was a fabulous class and at the end of the day on Sunday ten beautiful paddles left the museum with their new owners wondering how long they have to wait for the snow and ice to disappear so they can put them to use! Read the rest of this entry »

Every year at this time we move into high gear developing a new temporary exhibit for our McLean-Matthews Gallery. This year’s show is playfully called “Canoes to Go: The Search for a Truly Portable Boat”.

Foldable, collapsible, sectional or inflatable: these are some of the principals used in making a full-sized canoe or kayak small enough to fit into a baggage compartment or a bushplane or a backpack. While researching for this exhibit, we’ve encountered all sorts of fascinating and unexpected characters and events. I’m intending to share one or two more stories over the coming weeks and certainly hope that you are able to join us for the exhibit’s opening on the night of our Annual General Meeting, April 25th, 2012 or thereafter.

The Halkett Boat-Cloak

Several years ago our general manager John Summers acquired a reprint for a 1840s manuscript that described in illustrated detail the invention of an extraordinary, if ridiculous, waterproof raincoat.  This marvelous garment could be removed from the shoulders of an adventurous spirit and inflated by bellows conveniently located in one pocket. This quickly transformed it into a vessel ready to carry him away. How to propel you ask? Imagine then, our intrepid explorer removing from his cloak’s other pocket the blade of a paddle that could be threaded onto the tip of his walking stick. If lucky and the wind was right, a modified Englishman’s umbrella could also be used as a sail and the once-thwarted adventurer could continue in his adventuresome way. Read the rest of this entry »

Our itinerant Executive Director, James Raffan, is a man of distinct Canadiana fashion, and his collection would be the envy of any patriotic stylisto.  Check out his Hudson’s Bay Company hockey jersey , complete with a number that references the year that the Hudson’s Bay Company was founded.

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Do you have any Canadiana fashion you’d like to share? Post it in the comments – we may feature you in an upcoming post!