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About a year ago now, on the 2nd floor of the Museum, a unused corner of space was transformed into an interactive educational puppet theatre.  This puppet theatre is one of the many kid-inspired and family-friendly components that makes this Museum a museum that I want to bring my own kids to (and often do, like today for strike day camp)!

Cute and cuddly Folkmanis hand and finger puppets of Canadian creatures that dwell in our forests, fields, lakes, rivers and air, are the backbone of this space and provide kids and adults with their inspiration for the many shows that erupt from behind the puppet theatre’s wall.  But these creatures really needed a tapestry to fly, swim and live in…and so we turned to volunteer and artisan, Ipie Van der Veen for help.  And take a look at the magic she created–

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She has a long history of helping create props for the School programs at the Museum; from creating faux seal skin hides to cover our kayaks in the Kayak Building program to sewing costumes for our Trappers and Traders program.  When we asked her to create a backdrop for the puppets in the puppet theatre she jumped on the opportunity!

A little background on Ipie; she is the uber creative force here for all things fabric and before fabric she worked in the woodshop and helped build the Museum’s 36′ birch bark canot du maitre!  Her Hudson Bay Company blanket mittens, gun cases and camp vests are on sale in the Museum Store and she co-teaches the HBC blanket coat workshop. To top this off, every Christmas she makes 100’s of HBC blanket coat tree ornaments.

You can find Ipie volunteering in the galleries at the Museum on Mondays and Thursdays

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Doesn’t this look like a group of happy, healthy, content youth doing what so many youth don’t do when they are in grade 7 or grade 8?  These superstars are on Crab Lake in the newly created Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park.  

The Canadian Canoe Museum was so fortunate to be able to take part in the Prince of Wales Public School’s Outers Club canoe trip back in June just before school finished for another year.  Thanks to some very generous donors, the Canoe Museum has been able to significantly increase our capacity to work with groups like POW Outers Club by allowing us to purchase necessary equipment for outfitting a group of youth with proper canoe tripping gear.  So in the end the Canoe Museum supplied with group with most of its  backpacks, tents, sleeping pads, kitchen equipment, tarps, canoes, paddles and PFDs.

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The Canoe Museum was also able to run the canoeing certification course for the students since we are Organizational Members with the Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association.

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The Canoe Museum’s CanoeKids camp programs are taking the gear out for another trip in a week and a half!  We are running our pilot of a new program called CanoeKids Tripping Camp.   This is an introducation to canoe tripping for youth ages 10-14 and it is running from Tuesday August 7th to Friday August 10th.  The campers will venture further into Kawartha Highlands and they will be going into my favourite lake, Serpentine.  These campers will work to get their ORCKA Canoe Tripping Level 1A certification, as well some may finish with their ORCKA Basic Canoeing Level 1 too!  Stay tuned for a Blog about that trip after the 10th!!

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Remember Grade 6? Didn’t it suck? Looking out at the world from behind a mask of braces and zits.  Awkwardness, weird body stuff. And school. The only thing I recall from my grade 6 so-called education is that each and every month we had to make an elaborate new cover for our science workbooks, for a hefty part of our mark, while the Bunsen burners gathered dust. (It occurs to me now that Mrs. K  was a thwarted art teacher, but jeesh.)  Now I see grade 6s and 7s coming into the Museum for our Education Programs, and my heart goes out to them, so transparent is the coolness or, sadder still, apathy, that so many try to hide behind. It is a testimony to our wonderful Education Animators here at the Museum that they can inspire kids of all ages and stages to engage in our programs. And once the students start getting their hands on soapstone, or tying tumps, or baking bannock, or building kayaks, the coolness always starts to crack and the tenacious spirits of these kids get a chance to emerge. I love that about this place and its people. Read the rest of this entry »


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 »

Well, Ipie van der Veen has done it again! She has crafted another handsome puppet.  Ipie is our resident ‘worker of magic with fabric and thread’;  she is a long-time volunteer with the CCM and if you are around the museum on a Monday or Thursday afternoon, drop in to the Artisan’s Gallery and tell her how fantastic she is!

Now for introductions: Everyone, meet Jacques or Claude or Pierre (he is not sure what he wants to be called yet)!  He is an experienced voyageur with lots of stories to tell.  He is true worker and likes the hard life of being a voyageur.  He has seen many trails, rivers and lakes.  He’s wintered over many times and is so well versed at his craft that he can be found around the Museum instilling wisdom to some of the new recruits.

As you can see Jen Burnard (foreground) is quite smitten with Jacques and if you would like to meet this fine fellow (and Jen), you can find him over March Break in our new Puppet Theatre on the 2nd floor in the mornings.  Or if you are visiting with a school group, perhaps he will come along to share a story or two!

Welcome Jacques to the Canoe Museum’s community!