Coming to a town near you! (If you live in Gravenhurst)

We are quite pleased when we have the opportunity to share our passion for canoeing history.  This passion can take the form of outreach programs, conferences, tradeshows and increasingly often, travelling exhibits.  Forming partnerships with other museums is very gratifying and an important part of what we do as a cultural institution. Our most recent travelling exhibit is currently installed at Grace and Speed  in Gravenhurst Ontario.  The exhibit, featuring racing canoes, explores the evolution of racing shells and the athletes who propelled them to victory. The boats featured in this exhibit also serve as a little teaser for what is to come.

grace and speedAs many of you who have visited our Museum will know, our temporary McLean Matthews Gallery hosts a new exhibit each spring.  In 2014 the Canoe Museum will be exploring  "Romance and the Canoe". In 2015, our temporary exhibit will coincide with the PanAm and PanPara Games and we will be exploring canoes in sport. In order to give you a little taste of our 2015 exhibit we thought we would take this opportunity to explore our Racing Canoes travelling exhibit right here. As with all exhibit themes, the deeper we dig into a topic the more amazing content we find, and we want to tell everyone about it!

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FRED HALL'S PEANUT C-1

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In 1926, Fred Hall purchased a used racing canoe in the style affectionately referred to as a Peanut in order to race the solo and tandem events for the Stanley Canoe Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. At the time, the American Canoeing Association (ACA) hosted the National canoeing competitions and Hall finished 2nd at the 1927 meet.  During the race, Hall’s Peanut still bore the name of its previous owner “D.L. Lockwood” on the forward deck.

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In 1926, Fred Hall purchased a used racing canoe in the style affectionately referred to as a Peanut in order to race the solo and tandem events for the Stanley Canoe Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. At the time, the American Canoeing Association (ACA) hosted the National canoeing competitions and Hall finished 2nd at the 1927 meet.  During the race, Hall’s Peanut still bore the name of its previous owner “D.L. Lockwood” on the forward deck.

The early standards in canoe racing showed a greater degree of flexibility than today. The same 16-foot canoe might have been used in the single-blade and double-blade events for both solo and tandem paddlers. Although this canoe originally came with a single-blade paddle, Hall preferred the double-blade events. To accommodate the athlete’s seated posture (rather than the kneeling position) he fashioned a small seat box (now missing) that was positioned over the protective aluminum plates.

This canoe is thought to be a 16-foot Single and Tandem Racer made by The Peterborough Canoe Company (Model No. 70). It was made using the ingenious “metallic joint” construction. This unique construction method incorporates metal battens shaped like long canoe-length staples that are set into the planking, clinching them together edge to edge.  This technique secures the seams in the planking and seals out leaks.

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LARRY CAIN'S DELTA-C1

Cain, Larry

This Delta model C-1 belonged to celebrated Canadian canoeist Larry Cain. He used this canoe at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where he won two Olympic Medals: Gold in 500m C-1 and Silver in 1000m C-1. After the Games Cain continued to compete with this canoe until 1998 - a fourteen year period during which he earned thirteen National Championships.

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The internal kneeling platform provides a flat surface within the hull. A  contoured foam block, shaped to grip the back knee, sits upon the flat surface. The foot of the other leg is positioned over and ahead of the front thwart and is planted on the hard, abrasive surface glued to the hull.  The curious rough pieces of metal attached to the platform ensured that the canoe complied with minimum weight requirements for competition.

Manufactured by a Danish company, Kirk and Storgaard, the highly successful Delta model C-1 was introduced for the 1965 competitive season. It was clearly a departure design whose radical changes intended to take advantage of the new C-1 weight restrictions imposed by the International Canoe Federation. The effects of moving the widest section from the middle of the canoe to a point behind the paddler are numerous and complex. One principal achievement was the reduction in drag on the hull. More importantly the new design allowed for an unencumbered paddling stroke closer to the keel line of the canoe. The result was a faster and more efficiently steerable C-1.

Top image of Larry Cain courtesy of: olympic.ca/photos/larry-cain ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

BEEDELL AND DEROCHIE'S REGATTA C-2

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John Beedell and Joseph Derochie, a team from the Sudbury Canoe Club, used this canoe to train, qualify for and to compete in the tandem/C-2 event at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Despite a strong effort at the Rome Olympics, the pair did not make the podium.

Beedell was introduced to competitive canoeing in his off-hours while working a summer job with the International Nickel Company in Sudbury. His paddling partner, Derochie, was introduced to the sport by his brother who was also competing at the canoe club on Sudbury’s Ramsay Lake. In 1957, Beedell and Derochie were named National Champions in C-2 and became the first Canadians to compete at a World Canoe Championship, held that year in Czechoslovakia.

To compete at international meets, Beedell and Derochie adapted to the European tandem paddling style, using the lengthened 17’ canoe with the two interlocked athletes positioned, almost side-by-side, amidships.

The Regatta model C-1/C-2 was designed by Jorgen Samson and introduced by the Danish manufacturer Kajakbyggeriet Struer in 1958. The hull is made of four layers of mahogany veneer glued together at right angles. The layers are stretched, pressed and molded over a form and cured with heat, steam and pressure. While it strongly resembles the conventional racing hulls that were still being made in Canada using a traditional rib and plank method, it allowed for a more pronounced V-form below the waterline.

It certainly requires some study and imagination to visualize the configuration of the two interlocked athletes’ feet and knees positioned onto the removable kneeling platform which was custom made by a cabinetmaker in Sudbury. A close examination of Beedell’s laminated Czechoslovakian paddle reveals the branding of the 1960 Rome Olympics.