Treasures In The Muck

Frontenac Provincial Park (located 30 minutes north of Kingston, Ontario) has a great network of trails and lakes that I highly recommend exploring via canoe.

On a recent trip I did a double-take when I noticed a dugout canoe hanging in the visitor's centre. This is a fantastic example of days-gone-by when the park used to contain 15 homesteads within the border and mining was the mainstay. Workers would mine a gruelling 10 hour work day in order to collect Mica (Phlogopite). While there still are a few remnants from the beginning of the 1900's still visible in the park, this canoe is pretty neat to behold.

Created from a single log, this dugout would have been hollowed out using steel tools and due to its weight, would not have been transported far from where it was being used. To prevent the wood from drying and splitting in the sun and air it would have been sunk in the water using stones. Like most dugouts, this one was forgotten about, sunk into the muck until it was accidentally discovered in the early 1980's. It was probably used to assist with trapping as a supplement to the owner's farming income. This particular canoe had one special detail in that it was covered in a copper sheeting for durability (the nail holes are still visible).

The Canadian Canoe Museum is interested in documenting and studying dugout canoes. If you know of examples, either on land or submerged, please let us know. If submerged, please do not attempt to raise the canoe or disturb it in any way as this could damage it or its associated archaeological sediments. Museum staff will be happy to consult with you and with licensed archaeologists to ensure that your find is properly evaluated, documented, and cared for.