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Four years ago, the Museum was thinking about how it could create an event that was relevant to our mission and collections and would also offer people a chance to support us in a relatively painless and enjoyable way (with fun being the sugar-coating on the fundraising pill). We knew what we didn’t want–we didn’t want another one of those events that you go to because you have to, and as soon as you know you’ve been seen, and before you’ve even finished your rubber chicken and long before the frozen cheescake with glutinous cherries on top arrives, you’re heading out the door to do something really important, like watching re-runs of Friends.

So if we weren’t going to do that, what were we going to do? One way to throw a party that’s relevant to a historical organization is to find a historical party, and that’s just what we went searching for. We didn’t have to look to far, because one of the biggest social events in 18th century Canada was right in front of us, almost. Enter the Beaver Club Gala, and the famous slightly off-the-wall CCM esprit de corps, and also a wild boar’s head with an apple in its mouth.

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Ever since our notable participation in the Thames Jubilee Pageant for Queen Elizabeth II, our followers have been expressing desire for the paddles and outfits worn by The Canadian Canoe Museum Voyageurs.

The attire included an authentic looking canvas shirt, colourful sash, knitted toque, and of course a hand painted paddle adorned with both the iconic museum logo and a maple leaf.Image

Get your own part of the Jubilee and let your inner voyageur free. These items are a Limited Addition so order soon! All parts of the ensemble are available for purchase on the Museum’s Online Store, in person at the Museum Store, and at the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival.

That’s right a large selection of the Museum’s Merchandise, and the actual Canada One/Un Canoe will be displayed at the Annual Art Festival in Buckhorn from August 17-19. Tickets to the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival are also available for purchase at the Museum. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!


Olympic fever has hit the Canoe Museum! With all the excitement of the Games, we thought it would be fun to revisit some of the Olympic memorabilia in our collection.

A research request recently brought this object front and centre, and we couldn’t be more pleased!  Not only is this paddle visually appealing, but like most objects in our collection it tells an interesting story that provides a glimpse into our paddling past.


In 1952 American C1 paddler Frank Havens travelled to Helsinki to compete in the Olympic Games. The son of Bill Havens, another outstanding American canoeist, Frank had previously competed at the 1948 Games, held in London.

Frank brought three paddles with him to Helsinki. During his first week of training on the Olympic course Frank found that two of his paddle blades had developed pressure cracks. Luckily the Finnish team had brought a wood worker with them, and Frank was able to deliver his damaged blades to the Finns for repair.  Unluckily, in the week before Frank’s event was about to take place his last paddle blade broke. More bad news came in the form of an ill Finnish wood worker who was unable to complete any paddle repairs.

The American tandem team had spare blades, but they were too short for Frank’s purposes. In the Canadian camp, Earl “Doc” Whittall had heard of Frank’s dilemma and loaned him a 72 inch blade that he used for steering “war” canoes. The blade was too long, and too heavy, but suitable for training purposes until Frank could find something better.


Doc Whittall. Circa 1945.


On the day before Frank’s race, the Finnish wood worker was still too ill to perform any repairs and Frank was stuck up the figurative creek…without the literal paddle. Desperate, Frank asked Doc if he had a 69 inch paddle that he could borrow for the race. Doc responded by loaning Frank his own personal blade from the Lachine Canoe Club in Quebec, a 69 inch Clement paddle with the name “DOC” in bold black letters, and red and white stripes on the blade.


Frank Havens on the day of the 10, 000 metre race.


Frank used the Canadian blade in the 10, 000 metre C1 race on July 27, 1952. Not only did Frank win, he also set the world and Olympic record of 57.41.4. After the event Frank took the paddle back to Doc to thank him. Doc was as pleased with the results as Frank was, and gifted him the paddle, telling him that he “had earned it”.

The Canoe Museum is lucky to hold this emblem of the Olympic spirit in its collection, and to be able to tell the story of the American canoeist with the Canadian blade who paddled for Gold.


Frank Havens setting a new world and Olympic record as he paddles to victory with Doc’s Canadian blade.




Photo of Earl “Doc” Whittall courtesy of

Black andWhite Photo of Frank Havens courtesy of Sports Illustrated:

All other photos copyright the Canadian Canoe Museum.


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.


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.


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!!




The past year has been very hard on my family with the illness and passing of my sister.  My sister’s grandson (my nephew) had an especially hard time with her illness taking a turn for the worse on his 13th birthday which resulted in a cancelled party and no birthday celebration.  To lift his spirits I decided to enrol him in our Canoe Kids Camp.  He was so excited!  I even earned the title “The World’s Most Awesome Aunty”.

Jordan’s flight originated from Cranbrook, BC and he landed in Toronto on the Saturday before camp – his first solo flight and he even managed to make the connecting flight in Calgary.  This gave him a day to relax and prep for the start of camp.  The first day was at the museum where the participants not only meet their fellow paddlers but also get to tour the museum and do various other activities.

I am hoping that the miniature wannigan Jordan made is too big for his luggage and I get to keep it as an “Awesome Aunty” gift!

Jordan’s excitement level raised on the way to the Otonabee River for his first day on the water!  He dressed the part in his “paddler” t-shirt from the Museum’s Store and a knapsack full of gear.  Jordan enjoyed being out in the canoe and all participants passed the swimming test so no PFD’s were required for swimming.  The weather has really been cooperating and I hope it lasts for the rest of the week.

Well today is the third day of camp and Jordan’s enthusiasm is still growing.  He’s already pumped for a return trip next year for the advanced camp.  It is a great experience for him and he can return home and put his newly-learned techniques to use on Wasa Lake where he lives.  It’s unfortunate (or fortunate for me) that no one offers a similar opportunity in this region of BC – perhaps we should have a Canoe Museum branch in the area!

My only fear now is that he will be adding a canoe to his Christmas Wish List!  I guess I should buy one of our raffle tickets for the 16’ Cedar/Canvas Canoe that will be drawn October 13th – just in time for Christmas if he wins!

Everyone that has a young child in their life – son, daughter, nephew, niece, etc – should think about enrolling them in this program.  Jordan is having a great time and, although I am not supposed to tell his mother, “it’s even better than Hockey School”!

I’m not a shopper, so I love it when I can find a gift idea that is both unique and easy (especially for that person who has everything or is hard to buy for). If the gift is also environmentally friendly – Bonus!

Meet Dr. Peter Fritz

Recently I heard the story of a perfect gift received by Dr. Peter Fritz. Dr. Fritz is a certified specialist in Periodontics and is in full-time private practice in Fonthill, Ontario. One look at his practice waiting room or website and you’ll see that Dr. Fritz has a passion for canoeing and is an avid paddler.

The reception area features a 16 foot cedar strip canoe suspended from the 12 foot ceiling and a canoe coffee table.

A stained glass window depicting the office logo: a canoeist gliding along a calm lake, welcomes patients.

Given his paddling passion, a friend of Dr. Fritz’s, Dr. Ralph West, found the perfect gift for Dr. Fritz – Adopt a Canoe.

Adopt a what? Adopt-a-canoe. It’s this cool program offered by The Canadian Canoe Museum. For just $15/month you can adopt one of the canoes in the Museum’s collection in honour of a friend or loved one (or yourself).

The adopter then has their name displayed with their canoe for all Museum visitors to see both in the Museum’s gallery and online. Plus, they receive a certificate of adoption and a one year membership to the Museum.

So what was Dr. Fritz’s response to this unique and cool gift idea: “I was delighted to have a canoe adopted in my name by a dear friend.  The adoption certificate is proudly displayed in my waiting room.  The canoeing theme resonates with my patients and helps us break the ice through this common connection.”

Find out more about Dr. Peter C. Fritz at

Now that’s something I would love to hear from someone I had given a gift to!

To find out more on this fun and unique gift idea click here. Or find out more about The Canadian Canoe Museum and Dr. Peter Fritz.

25% off Summer Sun Hats

With a UPF of 40-50plus they will certainly keep you cool on your next outdoor adventure.  The hats are made of 100% Supplex Nylon making you better protected from harsh UV rays. Come in today to The Canadian Canoe Museum before they’re all gone!

lightweight, quick drying and protective wet or dry

There is never a dull moment at The Canadian Canoe Museum.  In fact, a little known Museum secret is the unofficial mascot that frequents the offices of the Museum – the Boar.

Unveiling the unofficial Museum mascot.

The Boar can often be seen “hanging around” the development and volunteer offices, using the staff computers, and making an annual appearance at the popular Beaver Club Gala. Read the rest of this entry »