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Some days, it’s too windy to go out on the water. Some days, the water is just plain frozen. Some days, it’s too hot and some days, you just plain don’t feel like it. When this happens, it can be almost as much fun to read about paddling as it is to do it. Here are three things to read that I think you will enjoy.

The history of the canoe building companies that were a significant part of the economic life of Peterborough, Ontario, for more than one hundred years is as rich and tangled a story as you’re likely to find in Canadian business history. Invention, entrepreurship, patents, lawsuits, rivalries, mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and catastrophic fires: it’s a tale that has all this and more. It is also a complicated story, and those who are interested in canoeing history, Canadian history, Canadian business history and the story of how the city of Peterborough, Ontario came to be synonymous around the world with the canoe will have a much easier time figuring it out after they have read Peterborough author Ken Brown’s 2011 book: The Canadian Canoe Company & the early Peterborough Canoe Factories.

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A volunteer I work with at the Museum shared some interesting trivia with me last week. Money, pecuniary, chattel, capital & fee are all derived from the word cattle. Cattle served as a form of money in ancient societies. Coins today still have “heads & tails”. The word “salary” is related to salt – Roman soldiers were given their pay in salt – hence the expression “worth their weight in salt”.

1 Made Beaver

These tidbits prompted me to investigate the meaning of the letters MB that are engraved on the trade tokens we replicated for our upcoming Annual Beaver Club Gala. During the early years of the fur trade, money was not used in exchange for furs and trade goods. Trade tokens, made of wood, ivory or shell, were the earliest used currency.  The unit of value was based on the value of beaver pelts as they were the most sought after fur used in the hat-making industry.  A large beaver skin would be cleaned and stretched and was known as a Made Beaver or 1 MB. Trappers would use the Made Beaver to trade for items at the Trading Post.  The tokens evolved and metal tokens were issued by the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1800’s.  They were stamped with the HBC crest on one side and with the letters HB (Hudson’s Bay Co.) EM (East Main District) and MB (Made Beaver) and the denomination of 1 MB, 1/2 MB, 1/4 MB or 1/8MB. The first tokens were actually stamped with an NB due to an error by the die cutter.

HBC Trade Token

The beaver was close to extinction by the mid-19th century –  luckily the demand for beaver pelts all but disappeared after hat-makers found silk fabric to be more economical and just as stylish.  The beaver has established its place in history and certainly deserves to be one of our National Symbols.  If you are a fan of the beaver we have many items available in our Museum Store – from pendants to puppets!

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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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!

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