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Last night I joined a small group of Canadian Canoe Museum volunteers at the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards ceremony here in Peterborough. Pat Varty, Gloria Gibson, Arlene Ketchum, Don Duncan, and Nan Sidler were recognized for a combined total of over 35 years of volunteer service at the Museum! Thank you all for your strong commitment to volunteerism both here at the Museum and in our community at large.

From left to right: Nan Sidler, Jeff Leal, Gloria Gibson, Pat Varty, Don Duncan. Absent: Arlene Ketchum.

From left to right: Nan Sidler, Jeff Leal, Gloria Gibson, Pat Varty, Don Duncan. Absent: Arlene Ketchum.

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stacey copyHi there! My name is Stacey Reynolds and I am thrilled to introduce myself to all of you as the new Volunteer and Events Coordinator here at the Museum. I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight a little bit about what I do and how I can help you with all of your event, room rental and volunteer needs.

I’m your go-to gal if you are looking to host your next meeting, conference, or private function here at the Canoe Museum. With unlimited access to our fully equipped kitchen and large rental space, the Museum is a unique venue for all sorts of gatherings, big and small. We even offer wedding packages and play host to large parties for Jack n’ Jills, anniversaries, engagements and birthdays.

One of my favourite aspects of my new role is interacting with all of the amazing Museum volunteers. These folks are dedicated and talented individuals who bring so much to the table. From the customer service volunteers at reception and in the gift shop, to event volunteers and the crews in the wood and metal shops, we’re lucky to attract an eclectic mix of volunteers that add to the vibrancy and culture of the Canoe Museum.

If you would like to become part of the terrific volunteer team, or if you have inquires about room rentals and events, please email me at or give me a call at 705.748.9153 x210. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. Thank you for welcoming me wholeheartedly to The Canadian Canoe Museum; I am excited to be here!

IMG_4360I’ve been volunteering at the Canoe Museum since the start of the year, helping update contact lists and keeping the computer database current. But last week I got to volunteer in a different capacity when my class came here on assignment to help with exhibit maintenance. Studying Conservation and Collections Management at Fleming College, we learn the nuts and bolts of what happens behind the scenes at a museum; from creating optimal environmental conditions, to artefact cleaning. The majority of our time is spent in the Fleming Conservation lab. Having the Canoe Museum open its doors to us, and allow us to work in situ was an amazing way for us to put our lab skills to work. It was a great reminder of why we do the work we do, seeing patrons of the Museum enjoying the collection brought the importance of our work into sharp focus.

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A post by Museum volunteer, Megan Meloche …

This is my first time. I am inside a dugout canoe. It rocks back and forth dancing with the Pacific Coast waves. A fog has settled over us making the shoreline impossible to see, but I know it still must be there. It is cooler than normal for spring and a chill has crept its way into my bones. They begin to ache. I must not move. I must be still, quiet, invisible like the shoreline. Deep in the fog I hear the blowhole spray of a Grey Whale. Goosebumps have found a home on my arms, my heart quickens. The sound is haunting the first time you hear it so close.

As I look around the other the men are calm, patient, ready and alert. Then it comes. My eyes widen as I gasp in the wet cool fog around us. The whale’s size is startling, as nearly 35,000 pounds of mammal comes hurdling out of the water near our canoe. It seems to hover in mid air before crashing back down into its ocean home; waves send our canoe rocking from side to side. We settle our vessel and I realize my heart feels like it may leap from my chest. I can hear it pounding in my ears. A strong hand finds my shoulder, squeezing it, reaffirming that we will be fine.  I must relax. We must wait for the next whale. I am a whaler. This is my first time.

This may have been the experience of a young boy on his first whale hunt off British Columbia’s coast. The Nuu-chah-nulth of Vancouver Island’s West coast are traditional whale hunters. Historically whaling served important social, spiritual and ritual functions within the communities. One oral tradition, passed down through generations, noted that the grey whale saved the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples from starvation. This illustrates how central the grey whale is to the community’s culture and identity.

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