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Our Canoe Story

Hey Canada, is there a canoe in your family? Maybe you have such history in it that it feels like part of the family. We want to know that story. Why does it have a special place in your heart? From June 5 to August 18, we're running a social media contest! Each story you submit will get you one chance to win the prize of the week.

The same story cannot be entered more than once, but each participant can enter as many stories as desired. The museum holds the right to use photos and story content on social media the website. 

To Enter:

1. Post your story on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #OurCanoeStory, and tag @cndncanoemuseum!

2. Post your story on our Facebook page and use the hashtag #OurCanoeStory!

3. Email your submission and photos to jessica.fleury@canoemuseum.ca!


Contest Submissions

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Cathy Tocher – Vancouver to Hawaii

Submitted June 7, 2017

My father Geordie Bryce Tocher dug out a 42 foot canoe and sailed it from Vancouver to Hawaii in 1972.

Myra Huber – Canoeing with Moose

Submitted June 6, 2017

Yes I still have it in my barn. a beautiful orange 18ft Tremblet. favorite story we took 5 canoe trips as a family of 5 in the 70's and early 80's, no gps, no cell phones, just maps, compass and our sense of adventure. Dad is in the stern of the canoe , Mom in front, me in the middle...he says (as we are paddling through a swampy/weedy bit in Northern Ontario) "be really quiet but look to your left Myra" so I do and swimming beside us is a Bull Moose with a full rack...the 4 of us moving in the same direction for about 10 mins...the moose changes direction so do we....30 mins later my Dad brings the cedar strip canoe covered in canvas to shore and starts to loose his mind...( I was 7 and had no idea the danger we were in) In seconds that moose could have destroyed the canoe, and really hurt if not killed us and we were 4 days into the bush with no way of getting help.... but I still remember how cool that moose was swimming beside us. and I am 52 this year!


Lee Hatcher - Battle Axe

Submitted June 20, 2017

    My husband's family canoe weathered so many adventures and storms that she became known as the "Battle Axe." She was so often referred to by that name that eventually her name Battle Axe was painted on her bow.
    She is now a relic, but my husband cannot part with her. She is strung to our rafter's in our garage. He claims that one day she will be lake worthy again.


Mike Ormsby

Submitted June 20, 2017

In the early morning light, just as the world seems to wake up and come alive, the canoe glides over the glass like lake. The beautiful wood canvas hull easily slices through the lake’s surface, water slipping aside almost as if willed, forming undulating wavelets in its wake. Above the ripples, the paddle hovers momentarily like a dragonfly, before dipping down to break the intricate pattern formed. The canoeist seems lost in the moment.

On the wing over the watery expanse an eagle soars, in synchronicity with the man’s journey; as the paddler shifts to miss a rock, the raptor slows to test the wind. The large bird lazily wheels across the horizon, almost touching the rays of the rising sun. Yet his flight seems to keep pace with the canoe below. The eagle rides the air currents while the canoe dances over those of the lake’s surface. As the paddle flashes in the early morning sunlight, dipping once again into the water, the eagle dives to capture his breakfast, a silvery trout. Then, only briefly, do both break the mirror reflecting their seemingly choreographed display. While they never quite meet except for that, it doesn’t stop the dance. One on water, the other in the air, they are partners, each moving rhythmically over a northern vista of rocks and trees and water.

Occasionally, such magical moments happen out on the water. For the canoeist, the lakes and rivers become more than mere passageways. Waterways become vantage points to observe all that is around,  carrying a message of life while still being the very lifeblood of Mother Earth herself. All at once, the paddler is both vessel and prophet, both audience and actor, just by merely venturing out on the water. Paddling these liquid highways takes the canoeist and canoe on a wonderful magical mystery tour, blending into the surrounding natural world.

The paddler is blessed to be able to join in the dance around him for a while. While he watched, the large bird of prey flew off, likely to share his meal of fresh fish with his young brood nesting in a nearby lofty pine. Eventually the canoe glides on. A new dance may soon begin anew



Andre Cloutier – Group of Seven Canoe

June 19, 2017

As a lifelong Group of Seven and Tom Thomson fan, finding and identifying this boat made possible a connection to the artists and their travels that could not be obtained, as none of these boats are known; their survival as a more utilitarian boat made in smaller numbers makes the likelihood of finding one 100+ years later remote. While there are many photos of early travels in which they can be seen, they are almost certainly long gone, rotten away or tossed on the burn pile. For this reason, this boat has become a part of our family as we've begun to replicate it in order to use one in search of the routes taken by the artists and travellers that once did.

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Andre Cloutier – Family Canoe Building

June 21, 2017

The contest mentions canoes that are a part of the family, but I'll bet no one tells of a building form. My kids have watched and helped while this has come together over the last four years , including helping with the first boat pulled from it. In the process they have come to know canoe construction, the group of seven and the canoes place in Canadian culture and history. The form will be theirs if they want to continue to pull a boat from it now and again, for themselves or to help pay for university! They will be able to recount its origins and design, eventually working towards closed gunwale boats as produced in chestnuts earliest days.