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Sitting at a small table at Starbucks, hoping a cappuccino will help illuminate the path, I wonder how in the world all of the stuff the Canoe Museum is working on is going to come together.  We are working on a full roster of fall adult artisan workshops, new education programs, new public events, new tour packages, fundraisers, a strategic planning retreat, a new exhibit for the spring, a fall appeal, the Beaver Club Gala and on top of it all, a project bigger than any of this–a partnership with Parks Canada and the full redevelopment and moving of the Museum to the water!  How do we do it?? Read the rest of this entry »

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Poster - Men Legal SizedYou are a bit of DIY’er and you like the idea of small boats, boat building, canoe building and maybe kayak building but you aren’t sure where to begin? You like looking at different kinds of boats and seeing how they are made, how they fit together and what tools are needed to make it all work.  You are keen to learn directly from the actual woodworkers, builders and artisans? Maybe you aren’t ready to build something yourself yet but you want to know more about the different companies, meet them, talk to them and find out more about the options available to you.  You might already have a boat you are proud of and are looking to connect with other people who have a boat like yours or maybe you are keen to make a paddle for your canoe or kayak? The place for you on Saturday June 22nd is the Small Craft Rendezvous at The Canadian Canoe Museum! Read the rest of this entry »

americanCraftPress01Join us SATURDAY JUNE 22nd at The Canadian Canoe Museum for the Small Craft Rendezvous, a day devoted to all things watercraft.  Take in live demonstrations of canoe canvassing (Carlisle Canoes), back-country cooking (ORCKA), tool sharpening (Lee Valley Tools) and wood bending (Michael Fortune) to name just a few.  There will be family-friendly crafts, activities and a special presentation by Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre.  A BBQ lunch will be available on-site as well as Kawartha Dairy ice cream!  See the Rendezvous‘ webpage for a more thorough listing.  It’s still not too late to register. Registration for exhibitors, vendors and participants is still open, so if you would like to bring something to display or demonstrate, please click here to register.

To make the day even better, NICK OFFERMAN will be at the Museum to take in the various demonstrations and exhibits.  Joan Barrett and Ted Moores’ of Bear Mountain Boats‘ invited Nick, their colleague, friend and Bear Mountain boat builder, to attend the day and he said YES!!  Nick Offerman currently stars as Ron Swanson on NBC’s wildly popular show, Parks and Recreation.  Nick will be hosting a special dinner at the Canoe Museum for Bear Mountain Boats and Ted Moores’ 40th anniversary. Tickets are sold out for this.

Nick Offerman Q&A posterIf you are a fan of Nick Offerman, then this is the event for you.  An informal, intimate and likely hilarious Q&A with Nick Offerman will be from 2:30pm-4:00pm in the Education Room at the Canoe Museum on Saturday June 22nd.  Appetizers and 2 drinks are provided with your ticket. Tickets are $30 and seating is limited.  To purchase a ticket, click here.

This Saturday (Oct 20th) is our annual Fundamentals of Fléchée: The Basics of Finger Weaving workshop here at the Canadian Canoe Museum!

Colourful finger woven sashes (photo from the Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America)

Finger weaving has a long and interesting history.  You may recognize the pattern of the sashes above as the ‘Assomption Sash’ pattern.  This was typically the style of finger woven sash worn by voyageurs and labourers during the peak of the Fur Trade era.

Student learning the ‘arrowhead pattern’

Workshop participants spend the day in the Museum’s beautiful Preserving Skills Gallery starting small and working our way up to more difficult designs.

A selection of woven samples

Want to give finger weaving a try?  Sign up for the workshop this weekend, check out the finger weaving kit in our Gift Store, or buy Fingerweaving Untangled!

There are many talented finger weavers practicing their art today.  Two artists with fabulous websites are Michelle Beauvais and Carol James.

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 »

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Day 4 Feb 19th, 2012

Planing the hump out of the gunwales near the bow of the kayak

Before proceeding to building the flat deck beams, Russ and I had another look at the sheer of the gunwales and determined that a slight hump was still noticeable near the bow of the kayak. A few quick passes with the plane removed the hump and we were ready to move on. 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 »

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Day 3: Feb 4th, 2012

Kerf cutting the gunwales

Our first task of the day was to continue working on shaping the gunwales – the foundation of the kayak. We now needed to have the tips of the gunwales meet flat together, and one way of accomplishing this task is by using a technique known as kerf cutting. Kerf cutting is accomplished by standing at the end of the kayak and resting a saw on the line where the two gunwales come together. Cutting carefully at the point where the gunwales meet removes an equal amount of wood with each pass of the saw; enabling the gunwales to eventually meet flat together. Read the rest of this entry »

Sounds of chatting, laughter and wood carving filled the air in the museum’s Preserving Skills Gallery last weekend.

March Paddle Carving Workshop instuctors and students showing off their beautiful paddles.

March 3rd and 4th was the first Black Cherry Paddle Workshop of the year here at the museum.  With a full class of paddle-carvers our volunteer instructors Don and Russ set out to lead the participants in making a canoe paddle in just two eight-hour days.  This was a fabulous class and at the end of the day on Sunday ten beautiful paddles left the museum with their new owners wondering how long they have to wait for the snow and ice to disappear so they can put them to use! Read the rest of this entry »