National Outreach: Silver Canoe Dinners in Winnipeg and Calgary

As you may know, The Canadian Canoe Museum has, with great success, hosted the first two events in our Silver Canoe Dinner Series for 2016! The first dinner took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 19th and the second in Calgary, Alberta on February 27th.

The idea of the Silver Canoe Dinner Series is to gather around with good food and company in venues across the nation to engage Canadians from all walks of life with the future of the museum, explore the role of the canoe to history and culture, and imagine what role it could and should play in the future. The Museum was very fortunate to have some wonderful experiences, make some great new friends, and receive some very generous support in both Winnipeg and Calgary!

Operations Manager Carolyn Hyslop and Jeremy Ward packing up the Silver Canoe for it's trip to Calgary and Winnipeg!

Operations Manager Carolyn Hyslop and Jeremy Ward packing up the Silver Canoe for it's trip to Calgary and Winnipeg!

Jeremy carefully and skillfully packing the artifact for travel.

Jeremy carefully and skillfully packing the artifact for travel.

In partnership with Festival du Voyageur, the Winnipeg Silver Canoe Dinner was held at Fort Gibraltar with a stunning 138 people in attendance. Barbara Huck of Heartland Publishing and our own James Raffan were the hosts.

The venue! Fort Gibralter in Winnipeg, Manitoba

The venue! Fort Gibralter in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Some of our fabulous team members! (from left to right) Curator Jeremy Ward, Director of Operations, Carolyn Hyslop and Executive Director Richard Tucker.

Some of our fabulous team members! (from left to right) Curator Jeremy Ward, Director of Operations, Carolyn Hyslop and Executive Director Richard Tucker.

The highlight of the dinner was the nine aboriginal youth from Lockport Junior High School who had participated in the Tillikum Lens and Paddles Across Canada project that preceded the dinner. Workshop participant William Miller addressed the room with a wonderful speech;

“Children are the future.  They are the ones we pass our knowledge to.  If that knowledge does not get passed down, where does it go?  That is why I believe that programs that teach aboriginal youth about their culture and history are very much needed, not just in Manitoba but all over Canada...”  
“...This was a great experience for us.  Making these character paddles got us more in touch with ourselves.  The paddles were made by our own personality.  Their flaws are our flaws.  And the beauty within these paddles is the beauty within us.”

William Miller, Workshop Participant and Silver Canoe Dinner presenter

The Canadian Canoe Museum looks forward to delivering many more of these programs across the nation with help from our partners SONY Canada and the International Sustainability Education Foundation (ISEF). Many thanks go out to the team that pulled the Winnipeg Paddles Across Canada-Tillikum Lens project together: Mark Blieske, Jonathon Reynolds, Steven Greyeyes, Daryl Loeppky.

For more information and to enjoy some great media coverage on the project visit our National Outreach or Media Room pages.

The workshop participants proudly displaying their finished paddles alongside their instructor Mark Bleiske from Sunset Paddles

The workshop participants proudly displaying their finished paddles alongside their instructor Mark Bleiske from Sunset Paddles

A close-up shot of some of the student's completed paddles.

A close-up shot of some of the student's completed paddles.

Thanks to the volunteers in Winnipeg that pulled this dinner together: Cameron White, Barbara Huck, Peter St. John, Kathy Taylor-Hallick, Ian Campbell, and Karl Gompf.

Cameron White and Barbara Huck enjoying breakfast at our pre- Silver Canoe Dinner meeting

Cameron White and Barbara Huck enjoying breakfast at our pre- Silver Canoe Dinner meeting

James Raffan and Cameron White enjoying activities at Festival du Voyageur!

James Raffan and Cameron White enjoying activities at Festival du Voyageur!

A week later on February 27th the Calgary Silver Canoe Dinner was held at beautiful Fort Calgary for a sold out crowd of 118 people. Alberta Order of Excellence winner Jim Gray was a fabulous host of the dinner.

Leading up to the Silver Canoe Dinner event in Calgary, Director Emeritus of the Museum James Raffan had the opportunity to engage and speak to Calgarians at many different locations. James delivered talks to Mount Royal University, Bearspaw School and Community Centre, and also was interviewed on CBC's The Homestretch radio show. Volunteer and dinner organizer David Finch also interviewed James for a wonderful piece that was featured in the Calgary Herald (click here to read). Upon the arrival of rest of the Museum team, the group headed to the Old Bow Waters Canoe Club clubhouse for a wonderful evening sharing canoe stories the night before the event.

James Raffan speaking at Bearspaw School and Community Center

James Raffan speaking at Bearspaw School and Community Center

The Museum team spending an evening at the Old Bow Waters Canoe Club

The Museum team spending an evening at the Old Bow Waters Canoe Club

Thanks to the volunteers in Calgary that pulled this dinner together: David Finch, Howard Heffler, Jim Gray and Barbara Surplus.

Fort Calgary, a wonderful venue!

Fort Calgary, a wonderful venue!

Event host Jim Gray at the podium

Event host Jim Gray at the podium

Guests gathered around the Silver Canoe

Guests gathered around the Silver Canoe

The beautiful table setting!

The beautiful table setting!

The next dinner in the 2016 Silver Canoe Dinner series is Vancouver on Friday May 13th at Creekside Community Recreation Center tickets are available through our website, click here for more details.