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Sitting at a small table at Starbucks, hoping a cappuccino will help illuminate the path, I wonder how in the world all of the stuff the Canoe Museum is working on is going to come together.  We are working on a full roster of fall adult artisan workshops, new education programs, new public events, new tour packages, fundraisers, a strategic planning retreat, a new exhibit for the spring, a fall appeal, the Beaver Club Gala and on top of it all, a project bigger than any of this–a partnership with Parks Canada and the full redevelopment and moving of the Museum to the water!  How do we do it?? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

The Canoe Museum was buzzing with excitement last night as over 100 people piled in to the Education Room for a very special evening! Our very own Executive Director, James Raffan, teamed up with CBC personality and Jack Matthews Fellow Shelagh Rogers for an intimate evening of conversation and film. The talk featured three of Shelagh’s favourite things: writers, writing and the North. The conversation led in to a screening of her recent documentary Northwords, which features her experience of travelling to Torngat Mountain National Park in northern Labrador with five Canadian writers (one of them being Canoe Museum Ambassador, Joseph Boyden!). The film reflects the adventures of their travels, as well as their quest for inspiration to create new works and add to the ongoing stories of the north. Read the rest of this entry »

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).

IMG_9257 Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

There’s a little village a couple of hours east of Peterborough that has a special affection for the Canadian Canoe Museum.  In fact, even though some of the residents of this village have not yet made the journey to visit the Museum, many of them have a wee sense of ‘ownership’ nonetheless.  That is because the residents of Seeley’s Bay proudly helped with the ‘sea trials’ of Canada One this year, before she went off to do us all proud on the Thames.

Well, more importantly, it is also because the Executive Director of the Museum (we call him Jim) lives here.  So when Raffan called upon his fellow local citizens to help fix up the canoe, test drive her, and christen her, we were all ‘ready aye ready’.  Heck, when we heard that CBC’s The National was sending a film crew to capture the test run, we even called out the local volunteer fire brigade, to make sure Raffan and crew could handle the fireboat sprays anticipated on the Thames.

Anyhow, all of you know about the wonderful journey of Canada One – the airlift from Trenton, the frustrated lorry driver, the lack of opportunity for the crew to practice, the pouring rain, but most of all, the immense pride of Canadians who watched that wonderful canoe in the Flotilla paddled by eight beautifully costumed voyageurs. But what you may not know is that the story did not end there for the people of Seeley’s Bay.

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From a field near Merrickville to a parking lot in Peterborough, on long-term loan from Paddle Canada, a handsome pair of canot du nord just arrived at The Canadian Canoe Museum, via Seeley’s Bay, Ontario and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in London, England!

Here’s what they looked like in mid-May.

It has been quite a transition!  (Even the trailer got a scrub down with wire brushes and a lick of new paint.)

They were welcomed to the museum with a thorough smudging and a toast from the Board of Directors (who had their June meeting in Five Bay) to make sure that all will be right as they move into service at the museum.

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After many air and river miles, Canada One/Un, the canoe that paddled for a Queen, has returned home. On her way to the Canadian Canoe Museum, where she will join the programming fleet in a new partnership between the museum and Paddle Canada, Canada One/Un made a stop in Seeley’s Bay, Ontario.

As well as being the home base of the CCM’s peripatetic Executive Director James Raffan, Seeley’s Bay is home to a number of good-spirited citizens who pitched in to help ready the canoe for her royal engagement. It seemed only fitting, therefore, that she and James would return the favour by helping them celebrate Canada Day which they did in fine style, if these pictures are anything to go by.

Welcome back and well done!

Monday, after a bit of a sleep-in, we headed downtown on the #23 double decker bus to see what was happening, which took us along the parade route that Her Majesty would follow on the way to church later on in the day.  Flags and people everywhere.  And, having rained itself silly on Sunday, the it was actually quite warm and we saw the sun a few times.

Can’t come to London without a little retail therapy on Oxford Street.

By, by far the best thing that happened was running into our Maori brothers from the river.  It had been such a madhouse at the takeout that we had lost track of each other and didn’t really get a chance to say a proper goodbye.

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We made the paper!

What an experience!!!  Almost as soon as we were off the water, our phones and traveling computers literally lit up with well wishes after the broadcast, many people admitting they got a bit teary to see a canoe from Canada—crewed by The Canadian Canoe Museum—on the Thames.  Looking at a most excellent series of photos taken by my cousin Jennifer Pelly’s husband, Marco Venelaar (who live here in London), it’s a wonder we didn’t bump or crash into more boats than we did.  Here’s Marco’s shot shows the kind of river traffic we were in while I was chatting with Peter Mansbridge on the phone (we’re one of the two red blobs between the Blackfriar’s bridges just left of the center of the photo).

It was pretty busy on the river at times!

So … as promised, the story of what happened after Tower Bridge.

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