Valentine's Day

With over 1000 postcards in our archival collection, we couldn’t pick just one photo to share with you on Valentine’s Day! Whether you have someone to canoodle, you're hanging with your gal pals, or paddling solo, we hope you are feeling the love today. 

All images are from The Canadian Canoe Museum’s O’Connor Postcard Collection or Art Seidenberg Postcard Collection.



How are you spending Valentine's Day this year? Leave a comment and let us know!

New Museum’s Exhibit Design Committee to Be Led by Dianne Lister

Design and development of the new museum’s exhibition spaces to begin in earnest


The Canadian Canoe Museum is pleased to announce that Dianne Lister will lead the organization’s Exhibit Design Committee.

A community leader and member of the organization’s Board of Directors for four years, Lister will chair the committee that will oversee the design and development of the new museum’s close to 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces for the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft.

The committee, consisting of stakeholders and subject matter experts, will work alongside staff and world-class exhibition design firm GSM Project to create visitor experiences in two key areas of the new museum:

  • Exhibition Galleries - Approximately 21,000 square feet of Class A (curatorial standard) exhibit space expected to feature 10 to 12 galleries.
  • Collections Centre - Approximately 28,000 square feet of Class A (curatorial standard) open storage space, featuring more than 500 full-sized watercraft stored on individual mounts and arranged on racking systems, and artifacts.

For the first time, the museum’s entire collection will be on site and accessible as part of the visitor experience.

“The new museum project brings with it once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to examine and interpret this world-class collection and national cultural asset,” says Lister, who is also a Trustee of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Chair of the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council. “I am honoured to take on this new role. I look forward to working with experts, thought leaders and community members from coast to coast to coast to ensure that this extraordinary collection is experienced to its fullest in the new museum.”

Lister practiced law as a social justice lawyer and has held executive roles in Canada’s charitable sector since 1986, including immediate past CEO of ROM Governors, Vice-President External Relations at Trent University, and President and CEO of Sick Kids Foundation. She is the Principal of The Dianne Lister Group and a senior associate of the Hutchinson Group. Dianne is an author, a photographer and an amateur kayaker, as well as a sessional instructor at the University of Victoria.

“We are very fortunate as a museum and as an Exhibit Design Committee to be the beneficiaries of Dianne’s varied arts and culture experience,” says Jeremy Ward, Curator, The Canadian Canoe Museum. “She is building a dynamic team whose members are moved by their interest in working to interpret our world-class collection.”

About the new museum

As part of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s responsibility for its collection, a cultural asset of national significance, the organization is building it a new home that aspires to be as innovative as the canoe itself. The new museum will care for the collection the way it deserves to be cared for – preserving, protecting, and showcasing for generations to come. In the future, visitors will explore the canoe’s leading role in Canada’s past, present and future alongside the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock on one of the country’s most celebrated waterways.

The new museum is designed by an award-winning team of heneghan peng architects (Dublin, Ireland) with Kearns Mancini Architects (Toronto, Canada).


Looking Back at 2017

2017 was an incredible year for the museum! We hosted many events, launched a new exhibit and celebrated some significant milestones. 

We also made significant progress on our redevelopment project. A series of funding announcements related to our future home allowed us to be considered The Peterborough Examiner’s Newsmaker of the year!

Here are a few memories from 2017!

In February, we hosted our 3rd Annual Great Canadian Family Day.



We spent a lot of time preparing for Connected by Canoe, and many staff members were involved in the two-week journey from Kingston to Ottawa.



We held our 4th Annual Touch a Truck in the spring.



One busy week in June, we hosted the Miawpukek First Nation for a National Aboriginal Day celebration, celebrated our 20th anniversary, and celebrated National Canoe Day with Lock n’ Paddle.

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That same week, our newest exhibit, Artisan and Industry, opened! In celebration of this exhibit, we provided a free Canoe City Walking Tour throughout the summer.



This fall, Chuck Commanda and his team built a 16-foot birch bark canoe in our Preserving Skills Gallery.



We hosted our 10th Annual Beaver Club Gala, and, for the second time, it was held here in the museum.



Throughout the year, we hosted monthly family drop-in activities, and in the fall, a new homeschoolers program began.



We added a few new Artisan Workshops to the roster, bringing us to a total of 18!

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Our Summer Paddling Camps provided nine weeks of paddling fun!

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We’re looking forward to discovering what 2018 will hold as we continue making our way onto the national stage.

If you’re looking to get involved in 2018, you may want to view the 2018 Workshop schedule, 2018 Summer Camp schedule or consider membership opportunities!

James Raffan receives Meritorious Service Decoration

The Canadian Canoe Museum is proud to congratulate James on his Meritorious Service Medal.

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On December 12, 2017, James Raffan, our Director of External Relations, received a Meritorious Service Medal. This award is given to individuals who have, in a limited amount of time, performed acts bringing honour to Canada. The acts are often innovative, setting an example for others to follow. Recipients of this award can complete honourable acts in any field. 

This award, created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is one of the highest achievements an individual can receive. It was distributed by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, during a ceremony at Rideau Hall. This year, the Governor General presented 19 Meritorious Service Crosses and 23 Meritorious Service Medals. A list of 2017 recipients can be found in the Governor General's media advisory

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The museum is pleased to see James honoured with this award, as he has often brough honour to The Canadian Canoe Museum. Most recently, James spearheaded the Connected by Canoe journey, our sesquicentennial celebration. This two-week trip along the Rideau Canal served more as a floating conversation than a canoe trip. Over 20 individuals from various backgrounds joined together and engaged in a discussion about the future of Canada.

Years spent as a camper and staff member at Camp Kandalore from 1959 to 1973 inspired James’s lifelong interest in the museum’s collection. James’ passion led him to create the strategic plan that will allow the museum to move onto the national stage. He has been a key player in the museum’s planned move next to the Peterborough Lift Lock.

Before taking on his current role, Director of External Relations, James held many roles at the museum. In 1999, he worked to develop the museum's first Education program. He became the curator in 2007, and from 2008 to 2014, James served as our Executive Director, rescuing us from near bankruptcy and helping us transform into the vibrant national heritage site we are today.

James holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Education, Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science. He is an accomplished author and has written numerous books including Circling the Midnight Sun: Culture and Change in the invisible Arctic, and the national bestsellers Emperor of the North: Sir George Simpson and the Remarkable Story of the Hudson’s Bay Company and Deep Waters: Courage, Character and the Canoeing Tragedy of Lake Timiskaming.

For more information about James Raffan, visit his website, or his Kickass Canadian profile.

An update to our community

City of Peterborough propels us forward, providing $4M to the new museum project

From Carolyn Hyslop, General Manager &

John Ronson, Chair, Board of Directors

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We are very pleased to share that city council last night voted in favour of investing $4 million over eight years in the new museum project.

Over the last 20 years, the City of Peterborough has provided one-time, operational and transitional funding. Last night’s decision, however, signalled the beginning of an even more significant partnership – one that solidifies the synergies between a nationally-recognized museum and its hometown.

On behalf of The Canadian Canoe Museum family, we thank council for this complete commitment – it is indeed fundamental to the future of the new museum.

With the investment comes a demonstration of strong support and local leadership that will be a signal to potential funders and private donors across the country. It will also allow the museum to leverage funds from the federal government.

The museum recognizes the significance of the investment from council and the many priorities counsellors had to consider. We appreciate that city staff and council chose to see the new museum as part of a much bigger picture – and as a contributor to a vibrant, healthy community. We will lead, partner and make an impact through economic growth and development; arts and culture; education; and recreation.

Over the next five years, the overall estimated economic impact of the museum’s operations and its redevelopment project will be $86 million – $71.6 million of that will be related to the redevelopment project. That $86 million will support an estimated 820 jobs – 682 of those will be related to the redevelopment project.

Once complete, the new museum will be a tourist attraction like no other – a premier destination at the Lift Lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway and it is estimated that visitors will spend an estimated $5.6 million every year in the city.

The City of Peterborough joins the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, along with several early donors, who have demonstrated their leadership with investments in the new museum. The provincial government has contributed $9 million and the federal government $1.4 million. A second funding application for $13.6 million is before the federal government right now.

Thank you to Joanne Brown, Dale and Bernice Standen, and Bill Lockington for their delegations at last night’s meeting. Your presentations were compelling and your passion was contagious. Similarly, thank you to all those who joined us at City Hall – we had an incredible showing of support. Finally, our gratitude goes out to all those locally, and from across the country, who mobilized to tell the museum’s story over the last couple of weeks.

We often make reference to the incredible momentum of the new museum project. Today, this momentum continues to build. At this pivotal point in our journey, we thank the City of Peterborough for propelling us forward.

Carolyn Hyslop, General Manager

John Ronson, Chair, Board of Directors