Customary, Custom Gear

If you're planning on being outside for several days in a Canadian winter you're definitely going to want the best of the best gear to keep you warm, happy and comfortable! There is no shortage of shiny new products and materials to tempt us – but are all these new synthetic fabrics and streamlined designs really more functional, warmer or durable than natural materials and crafting traditions of the earliest travellers of our northern landscapes?

Winter tripping guides and traditional crafters Dave and Kai of the Sudbury based business Lure of the North have been leading winter camping excursions since 2011, and have this to say about how they like to outfit themselves for a winter camping trip:

Equipment choices and clothing materials are heavily influenced by the earliest European travellers of this great land, who themselves borrowed heavily from and adapted the practices of indigenous travellers. Just as Europeans developed certain adaptations to indigenous methodologies (eg, steel tools and certain woven fabrics) while maintaining the same basic principles, so too does the modern traveller make material updates while striving to uphold the best time-tested traditions (for example, plastic toboggans have largely replaced wooden ones, but the shape and functionality remains nearly unchanged). Thus, while some (but not all!) materials may have been updated over the ensuing centuries, the form and function of our tools are the same as those developed and perfected over thousands of years spent living on this land.

Check out this video from Lure of the North comparing a traditional and modern snow show in action

If you are interested in taking a guided outdoor camping trip with Lure of the North check out their website here.

Interested in hand crafting a beautiful pair of winter moccasins or snowshoes of your own? The museum is fortunate enough to have Dave and Kai teach a series of workshops right here at the museum! The following is a list of what we have up-coming.

Trent Severn Symphonic Canoe

The Canadian Canoe Museum and the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra are teaming up to celebrate their respective 50th and 20th birthdays in 2017 (in the same year Canada is turning 150) with a gala concert that will take people on a musical journey around the northern hemisphere.

Christine Donkin, is writing a work inspired by the famous Quebecois folktale, La Chasse Galerie, the Flying Canoe. The word premier of this work will be happening at the gala concert on February 4th

Christine Donkin, is writing a work inspired by the famous Quebecois folktale, La Chasse Galerie, the Flying Canoe. The word premier of this work will be happening at the gala concert on February 4th

The music by Norwegian Edvard Grieg, Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius and a specially commissioned work, inspired by the Quebecois folktale La Chasse Galerie (The Flying Canoe), by Ottawa-based Composer, Christine Donkin. With the members of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra Maestro Michael Newnham will sweep us around the northern world from Norway to Sweden, Finland, Russia and back to Canada. Narrating the concert with words and images from his bestselling book, Circling the Midnight Sun, will be author and paddler, James Raffan. It promises to be a one-of-a-kind gala concert happening on Saturday, February 4th, 2017. Tickets are on sale - click here to purchase!


You just never know what's going to be happening in canoes at the Peterborough Lift Lock! To announce the PSO/ CCM partnership, volunteers from the Canadian Canoe Museum paddle while, under the direction of Peterborough Symphony Orchestra Musical Director Michael Newnham, members of the PSO French horn section play the Hunter's Chorus from the opera “Der Freischütz” by Carl Maria von Weber. 

It’s from an opera called “Der Freischütz”, and usually sung by a men’s chorus. In parka and beaver hat, looking ahead through binoculars, is James Raffan, .

Having negotiated a lease with Parks Canada, the Canadian Canoe Museum is hoping to relocate to this site in the future but, in the meantime, we've been doing a variety of programs in and around the Lift Lock. Visit Museum on the Move on our website for more information.

Nothing would ever happen at the Canadian Canoe Museum without our dedicated volunteers, like Russ Musgrove, who stepped away from his duties on the front desk to be the avant for this musical canoe caper at the Lift Lock.

Enjoy some more photos from the partnership launch, and we'll hope to see you at the symphony in February!

On the Water for National Canoe Day!

National Canoe Day falls on June 26th every year, and for 2016 we celebrated on-the-water!

The museum collaborated with Parks Canada and The Land Canadian Adventures on a great event called Lock n' Paddle. The Trent Severn Waterway waived the lockage fees from Lock 20 to lock 24 for all paddlers. There was also a "Learn to Lock" program delivered in lock 20.

The main part of the event happened at 1:00PM when we had all the paddlers meet at lock 21 (the Peterborough Lift Lock) to try and see how many canoes and kayaks would fit into the tubs! Our goal was to beat the previous record of 101 canoes and kayaks in the Lift Lock tub.

The event was a great success! We had a total of 154 canoes and kayaks join us for the event and we were able to beat the record by fitting 138 canoes and kayaks in one of the Peterborough Lift Lock tubs!

Enjoy the below photos and video, and be sure to stay tuned for 2017 National Canoe Day events and celebrations!

A beautiful sight! The Trent Severn Waterway at the base of The Peterborough LIft Lock filled with paddlers!

A beautiful sight! The Trent Severn Waterway at the base of The Peterborough LIft Lock filled with paddlers!

Peterborough Kawarthas MP Maryam Monsef announces 270 Million in funding for infrastructure on the Trent Severn Waterway over the next 5 years prior to joining the festivities in the Canadian Canoe Museum's Voyageur Canoe!

Peterborough Kawarthas MP Maryam Monsef announces 270 Million in funding for infrastructure on the Trent Severn Waterway over the next 5 years prior to joining the festivities in the Canadian Canoe Museum's Voyageur Canoe!

#paddlesup ! Loading the west tub of the Peterborough Lift Lock

#paddlesup ! Loading the west tub of the Peterborough Lift Lock

138 canoes and kayaks in the Peterborough Lift Lock! A new record to beat!

138 canoes and kayaks in the Peterborough Lift Lock! A new record to beat!

"Canoeguy" Mike Elliott Launches Much Needed Canoe Restoration Book

Mike Elliot, a long time friend of the museum,  began restoring canoes as a hobby in 1995. His passion eventually turned into a full time career when Mike decided to open Kettle River Canoes in Grand Forks, B.C. 

Throughout the years Mike has also provided a plethora of tips and tricks for canoe restoration on his blog which has been a valuable resource to many people looking to work on their own canoe restoration projects. Since 2003, Mike has completed over 170 canoe restoration projects!

Author and canoe restorer Mike Elliott.

Author and canoe restorer Mike Elliott.

Mike Elliot demonstrating techniques at the museum's National Canoe Day event. 

Mike Elliot demonstrating techniques at the museum's National Canoe Day event. 

Mike has compiled his experiences, knowledge and stories into a fantastic, one-of-a-kind book and resource called This Old Canoe: How to Restore Your Wood Canvas Canoe. A concise, enjoyable and informative read, This Old Canoe lets you in on the trade secrets of how to successfully return your canoe to it's former glory. Designed to simplify the challenging tasks of canoe restoration, the over 300 photos and 70+ plans and illustrations in the book guide readers through techniques for canvassing, weaving rattan seats, bending wood and much more.

Along with all of the technical information, Mike includes great stories about old wooden canoes, their people, and the stories that brought them back together again. These stories connect the reader with the people behind the boats, and inspire the realization that almost any canoe restoration can be achieved by following the books directions.

"This Old Canoe gathers a wealth of experience and technique into an inspiring manual for living with this iconic little wooden boat – whether we choose to work on them ourself or just enjoy the romance of this tradition." Jeremy Ward, Curator, The Canadian Canoe Museum

Mike Elliott will be joining us at the museum for a presentation and book signing on Thursday June the 16th 6PM to 8PM. Come by for this free public event, hear Mike talk about wooden canoes, their people and the ties that bind them back together again. Pick up your copy of This Old Canoe from the Tumblehome Shop or bring your own copy to be signed! 



Looking back and celebrating; looking ahead and preparing


The Board of Directors was joined by the staff at the Museum, members and donors for its Annual General Meeting last month on April the 27th. The formal part of the program focused on the organization's accomplishments in 2015, as well as how the Board is working to ready the organization for the next steps in its redevelopment project.

Bill Morris, Chair, Canadian Canoe Museum Board of Directors

Bill Morris, Chair, Canadian Canoe Museum Board of Directors

"On behalf of the citizens of our country, The Canadian Canoe Museum stewards the world's largest and most significant collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. These craft — more than 600 in number — and their stories of national and international significance have an important role to play in our collective future. That's why, in 2015, we furthered our reinvention and relocation agendas — the two pillars of our organization's 10-year strategic plan," said Bill Morris, Chair, Board of Directors. "Now, we are at a pivotal point in the evolution of our organization, poised to realize fully our role as a national Museum. With an organization-wide focus on our redevelopment project, we are ramping up and retooling for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities before us."

The Museum is pleased to share key highlights from the AGM:

• Two new Board members were welcomed — Deborah Jacobs and John Ronson.

o Deborah is currently a Councillor with Curve Lake First Nation and an active member of her community. She has lived in Curve Lake all her life. Deborah has been married for 46 years and has three sons and 10 grandchildren, which she calls her "pride and joy." Deborah worked for many years at the Curve Lake Day Care Centre and also taught early childhood education classes for the Anishinabek Education Institute in North Bay. She has always enjoyed the water; and fishing, boating and canoeing at her family cabin on Dead Horse Island, have played a significant part in her life.

o John is an executive with TELUS, as well as an avid canoeist and camper. A Peterborough resident, he is a former member of the national and Ontario boards of the Canadian Cancer Society and a number of other not-for-profit boards including the board of Waterfront Toronto. A lawyer by training, he previously served as Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

• Michael Davies, a longtime Board member, donor, and friend of the Museum, who passed away in 2015, was remembered at the AGM. Michael's association with the Museum began in 2007, when he spearheaded the initiative to acquire and repatriate to Canada an exquisite canoe made of sterling silver that belonged to the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, Sir George Simpson. Michael will be missed, but his legacy will continue to effervesce into the lives of anyone who beholds the silver canoe at The Canadian Canoe Museum.

• Departing Board members Tom Reburn and Donald Ross and were acknowledged and thanked for their service to the organization.

• Some additions and some changes at the staff level of the organization were introduced.

o J-C D'Amours, the organization's new Director of Philanthropy, was introduced to the membership. He will oversee the creation and management of the organization's annual development plan and associated initiatives.

o The role of Project Director has been created to oversee the planning of the new Museum. Richard Tucker, the organization's executive director since 2014, has assumed this role. This is a key area of expertise for Richard. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been instrumental in a number of building projects including SkyDome in Toronto and Canary Wharf in London, England.

o The new role of General Manager has been filled by Carolyn Hyslop, the organization's Director of Operations since 2014. This role has been created to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Museum, including its national outreach strategies. Carolyn has a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree from McMaster University along with a Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s University Outdoor and Experiential Education program. She has been with the Museum for more than 15 years, having held positions including Education Co-ordinator and Public Programs Manager.

o The Board has hired The Dennis Group Inc., headquartered in Peterborough, to ensure the organization's readiness for an ambitious capital campaign. Chonee Dennis, President & CEO, and her team are working behind-the-scenes and in close co-operation with the Museum Board and staff members to lay the groundwork for the campaign.

• The Board thanked and acknowledged the Museum's members, and its donors, highlighting the Founders' Circle — a group of visionaries and philanthropists helping to create the next chapter in the Museum's story.

• The Board also acknowledged the City of Peterborough and Parks Canada — the Museum's key partners in the redevelopment of the Lift Lock Site.

• The Museum announced that it is planning for further information sessions with the architects heneghan peng and Kearns Mancini that were chosen for the new Museum facility.

• It was celebrated that the Museum is the first in the country to offer the Microsoft Skype Educators Network for schools and groups to take part in award winning education programs from anywhere in Canada and the World. By the end of May the Museum will have delivered programs to schools in Alberta, Ontario, Iowa, Kansas, BC, Texas, Michigan and Alaska!

• Curatorial highlights were discussed including an update on the MacGregor collection, which will become the “heart” of an upcoming exhibit this fall all about canoe manufacturing in the industrial age. Also mentioned was the acquisition of over 14,000 books from the Luste family that are mission related to the Museum and include rare titles dating from the early 1700’s to contemporary. Another exciting acquisition to the collection was announced, a canoe owned by Robert Bateman.

• A new milestone in the Museum’s membership was announced, welcoming the 1000th member to the Museum family!

View the museum's 2015 Annual Report here