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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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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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I have to admit it: it seems just the teensiest bit as if summer is… okay, I’ll just say it… over.  It’s not the back-to-school stuff in the stores (which has been up since July anyway) or the recent crisp nights, it’s that for me summer is all about the Museum’s Paddling Camps — and we’ve just said goodbye to our last campers for the year.

Our five weeks of camp saw over 50 paddlers learning new paddling skills and earning ORCKA certifications, with 23 new paddlers earning Level 1 badges, and our returning campers achieving 12 level 2s, five level 3s and seven Tripping 1A certifications. Plus five intrepid and very dedicated campers took us up on our new camp offering this year — the Level 4 ORCKA option, achieving their solo canoe certifications in just one week — no small achievement (can YOU paddle a canoe on your own in a straight line backwards?).  But badge stats aside, that’s a whole lot of kids with water safety and paddling skills they can use to enjoy the Canadian wilderness, or just a local river, their whole lives through. Read the rest of this entry »

BCG web photo cropped

When was the last time you dressed up like a character from the grand old days of the fur trade? Was it maybe October 2012 when you came to last year’s Beaver Club Gala?

If you’ve been troubled ever since then by a persistent urge to tie on a sash or wear a top hat, then help is at hand because Beaver Club Gala tickets are now on sale. If you’ve never dressed up like a voyageur, then what are you waiting for? 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.

wcha 2

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If you’ve raised children, looked after children or read to children, chances are you’ve encountered Richard Scarry’s immortal Busytown stories and met Huckle the Cat, his sister Sally, Mr. Frumble and of course, Lowly Worm. One of the stories begins something like this (it’s been a few years since I read this, so forgive me if the quotation is a little bit off!):

It’s early morning in Busytown. My, what a busy place!

That line went through my head all last week, as we were a very busy place indeed. The week began with Arts & Culture Week, part of Peterborough’s Seniors Month event, organized by indefatigable community organizer (and former Canoe Museum Board Member) Pat Hooper.

Seniors Month cropped

Monday it was photography and artisans and a wigwam drop-in. Tuesday brought the New Horizons band, square dancers and singers. Wednesday was painting, Thursday was theatre, artisans and a wigwam drop-in and Friday offered more music and journal and memoir writing. So far, so good and pretty busy. As the psalm says, there was definitely some “joyful noise,” especially when the kids from Spring Valley PS got together with members of the Fairhaven Choir.

IMG_5602 2013 June 14 Spring Valley and Fairhaven choir

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The Canoe Museum is pretty awesome! Here are 5 reasons why you should become a member and help us reach 1,000 members by the end of 2013…

1. It’s cheap! A family membership pays for itself in only a couple of visits . It allows you unlimited FREE admission for a full year to all exhibits, including the new exhibit Canoes to Go: The Search for a Truly Portable Boat.

Members trying out the folding canoe in the Canoes to Go exhibit

2. Fun! You receive invitations to exclusive member events held both at the Museum and online (because we know you can’t always make it into the Museum – especially if you live in places like BC, Florida, or London).  You will enjoy behind-the-scenes tours, talks, receptions, renowned family activities, exhibit previews, and VIP priority access and news including many pre-registration opportunities to the Museum’s public events and activities.

Never a dull moment at the Museum! Pack basket workshop participants show off their projects.

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For some March is about shamrocks, spring, or an escape to sand and sun. Even though I like green beer as much as the next person (?), here in the Education Department this month is all about CanoeKids March Break Camp.  In a good way. In a fantastic way, actually. We were sold out and into a waitlist situation as of two weeks before camp… which is like a choir of birdies in my ear singing that we should offer even more camp options next year – stay tuned.  But this year, we had a wonderful group of kids from the Tuesday to Thursday of March Break, led by the inimitable Jen Burnard, Kelly Pineault and Holly Poell.  Huge thanks go out to our dedicated volunteers:  Owen, Margaret, Lynzii, Stephanie, Jordan, Cara, Cole – you were indispensable. It’s only because of you that we could (for example) put so many 7-year-olds and hammers in the same room! Read the rest of this entry »