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

THIS is The Beast:

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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.

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 »

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 »

We all have our systems when on trip.   We have our dish system, our shelter system, our sleeping system, and of course, our kitchen system.  I am definitely a ‘nester’ and must say that my kitchen system reflects this pretty well:)  I like canoe tripping because I can carry things that make my back country ‘nest’ more comfortable, especially my kitchen nest.   This is a sampling of the kitchen gear I like to have on hand when I head out on canoe trip with the family or my friends.

all gear shot July 24 2013

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We have spent enough time blogging that we are starting to feel familiar with the various people and voices floating around out there in the blogosphere. The wonderful thing about the internet is being able to connect with so many paddling and outdoors enthusiasts from around the world (and some in our own backyard). We’re always learning something new.

So without further ado….drumroll please….we present:


The Canoe Museum’s Top Ten Must-Read Blogs of 2013
(…so far, and in no particular order)

1. Exploring Ontario by Canoe

exploring ontario by canoe

For those of you interested in paddling in Ontario this blog is a must-visit! Packed with a cornucopia of tips, tricks, advice, recipes, fun facts, trip planning resources and gear recommendations this blog is a great resource for people interested in exploring Ontario’s abundant waterways and parks.   Check out this latest entry: Top 10 Tips I Forget Not Everyone Knows for some helpful hints that might make your next adventure run a little more smoothly.

2. Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)

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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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Family Day 2013 artist smallWe’ve recently written about several interactive art pieces we were excited to be installing in our galleries. In wonderfully different ways, each of the three artists had found inspiration in the canoe for their creation and these installations also served as inspiration for the range of programming on offer to over a hundred families that joined us at the museum yesterday for Family Day. Read the rest of this entry »

Last month I began my VIP tour of our Education Programs with an up-close-and-personal account of The Perfect Machine, a grade K-3 science and social studies program that focuses on the First Nations canoe design, flotation, buoyancy & surface tension. Moving into Part Deux of this series, we’ll take a virtual run-through today of our Paddle Carving program for grades four+,  bearing in mind that this program gives kids an experience that is actually just about as far as it gets from virtual — an arguably much-needed balance to all that screen time!

DSC02326 2012 Feb 15 St. Catherine

Yes, that’s a rather small paddle.  I made one for my daughter when she was three (which, to be honest, didn’t see a lot of in-water action), but beyond that age, this size definitely serves as a souvenir or decorative paddle, or, in our household, as the official pinata-whacker and reacher-of-things-under-couches. Frankly, to make a full-size hardwood paddle from scratch takes adult focus and determination and a very full weekend (see our workshop info here); we also run a full-size, full-day paddle carving program for teens 15+ using prepped blanks (please contact me at education@canoemuseum.ca for info):

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The Museum is opening its doors to the public this Sunday, January 13th and offering FREE admission! Yes Free!  We are open from 12pm to 5pm and we are featuring our annual show of models and miniatures.  Our friends, the Peterborough Model Railroaders and the Lindsay & District Model Railroaders will be filling the Education Room with cool model trains for the kids and the young at heart!  The Maple Leaf Telegraph club will be here as well as Steve Guthrie and his military models. There will be kids’ crafts, a snack bar, live artisan demonstrations including paddle making, kayak building and birch bark canoe repair.  The Museum Store will be open and sales are to be expected (25% off selected apparel and 40% off select giftware and jewelry)!  It is going to be a fabulous day and one that you won’t want to miss.  See you Sunday. For more information check out www.canoemuseum.ca or call 705-748-9153.

 

 
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