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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.

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father with kids in a canoe

 

Why not celebrate that incredible dad in your life with a visit to The Canadian Canoe Museum?! It is hard to find the right gift for that special guy so we have come up with 3 ways to celebrate him:

 

 

1. FREE admission to The Canadian Canoe Museum for DAD on Father’s Day.

2. Members’ Pricing (10% off) on ALL Adult Artisan Workshops

3. Members’ Pricing (10% off) in the Museum Shop Read the rest of this entry »

I’m dedicating this blog post to all of the amazing volunteers, past and present, who have committed their time and energy to the Canoe Museum! It’s National Volunteer Week and we’re celebrating all of our volunteers all week long. Volunteers are at the heart of this Museum. They oversee front line operations, assist with special events and serve on committees and on the Board of Directors. They also volunteer in the wood shop, in the office, and in the areas of collections and archives. Talented artisans and tour guides top off our diverse volunteer team.

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To give you an idea of the scope of work our volunteers take on, consider that in 2013 alone, 13,144 total hours were contributed by 124 volunteers including the Board of Directors and committees. We are incredibly lucky that this group of talented, passionate and generous people choose the Canoe Museum as one of the ways they give back to their community. THANK YOU to each and every one of our volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you!!

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)

  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.

  Read the rest of this entry »

ORU folding kayak

ORU folding kayak

Determining a useful boundary between what has historically been deemed a kayak rather than a decked, double-paddle canoe is something of a messy task and won’t be the goal of this short piece. Suffice it to say that, 150 years ago, the kayak was pretty much a boat made by and paddled almost exclusively by the Inuit. Meanwhile, the popularity of canoeing in the late nineteenth-century had caused the development of umpteen patented methods of shaping wood into the complex, curved forms required for a canoe (whether open or decked).  Outside of its original Arctic context, efforts at commercial kayak construction continued to experiment well within sight its Inuit root, relying upon a waterproof skin stretched tight by an internal frame even well into the 20th century. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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

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These two are really getting some air time.

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Clinching in the Old Town's new ribsIt is a real pleasure to lead a behind-the-scenes tour amongst our impressive collection of canoes, kayaks and other bits and pieces. Sometimes, as we are wrapping things up and turn to look back across a warehouse of over 500 boats from around the world, I’ve been asked the unexpected question, “how long will it take to restore them all?Collections storage

Now I’m not intending to know how often this question might be put to other museums at a similar moment but I suspect it is rather less common. The inference here might that many of our old boats look a little rough. Indeed, most do lack the shiny, over-glossed appeal of a restored classic boat and perhaps there is something about an old wooden canoe with alligatored varnish, missing some of its paint, canvas or planking that screams for our attention. Maybe it just looks like another chore needed doing at the cottage, but ramped up several hundred times. Read the rest of this entry »

Members of the Gordon family have been building canoes in and around Lakefield, ON since the mid 1800s.  Thomas Gordon started the Thomas Gordon Canoe Co. in the 1850s and he began a family tradition that continues to this day.

When we had two Gordon watercraft, one canoe and one skiff, donated to our collection a couple years ago by John Gordon (great grandson of Thomas Gordon) we knew it wouldn’t be long before we would put them on exhibit.

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Thomas Gordon (foreground) working on a canoe.
Photo courtesy of Kathy Hooke.

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Ever wonder what summer camp is like at The Canadian Canoe Museum? We’re almost through Week 1 of our Summer Paddling Camps – check out what we’ve been up to!

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We’ve been hanging out on the beautiful Otonabee River and, after only a few days of practice, we’re maneuvering our canoes in straight lines, pivots and from side to side. This week’s crew are working on achieving their ORCKA levels 1 and 2. The Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association is the governing body of all canoeing and kayaking certifications in this province. Our campers will be certified paddlers by week’s end! Read the rest of this entry »