Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough – the world’s largest canoe collection
After visiting Viamede Resort, we made our way to Peterborough in Canada, there was no doubt we had to visit the world’s largest canoe collection which is situated in the Canadian Canoe Museum.
The Canadian Canoe Museum first opened in 1995. Although the museum looks like a very simple building from outside, it holds a lot of treasure. It’s based on the private collection of Kirk Wipper, a professor from Toronto who owns more than 600 canoe pieces out of which more than 130 canoes are displayed in the museum nowadays.
Our guide Dale Standen knew a lot about the canoes and its history in Canada.
Canoe is a boat that’s paddled and powered by people.
We could see the transition from the aboriginal canoes into the modern ones. I was amazed at so many different types of canoes. Awesome!
When Mr. Kirk retired, Peterborough got its attention because of the canoe manufactory there which became the centre of the modern canoes for pleasure.
A lot of funds come to the museum every year and many volunteers work here (our guide Dale is a volunteer too.) In 1999 in the Millenium Grant Program the Canadian Canoe Museum received the largest grant of over $1 million and what we see nowadays was established from this grant.
Many rivers across Canada were the basis for invention of water crafts, not just canoes, but also skin boats – kayaks. Seal skin without fur is used to cover the kayaks but you can only preserve it for a certain time so every year it has to be replaced in the Arctic. A lot of planning went into traveling by canoe, especially when transporting boxes with goods. There’s a map showing different kinds of canoes used across Canada depending on the kind of trees that grow in there.
Among lots of different canoes, we could also see:
- the so called ”canoes to go” – you can fold them to get them more transportable. Wow!
- A spoon-nose canoe – a specific wooden canoe with no paddles but poles to stick into the mud and catch fish.
- A birch bark canoe by William and Mary Commanda – they scratched everything else and just left animal figures on it. What a piece of art! Very beautiful, indeed!
- Silver canoe – they put candies into it for Christmas. There’s a story behind it. The CEO of the Canadian Canoe Museum wrote a biography about George Simpson and interviewed his descendants who showed him the silver canoe for Christmas and later on gave it to the museum.
- a beautiful ”girlie” canoe made of mahogany is a very uncommon one.
In remote areas of Canada the canoes are still used as working crafts.
Since the middle of the 18th century until now more and more people use leisure canoes, including women who have a female racing club. The canoes had to be of a certain length and width in the competitions, and now they all look the same.
PS: I loved the restroom signs with paddles :)
Afterwards, we also could enter the Canadian Canoe Museum warehouse where hundreds of canoes are stored from Thailand, Guatemala, Cornwall (one of the oldest canoes from the world comes from here but it is broken.) Many modern canoes used by world-known athletes are in the storage now too.
Many thanks to the Canadian Canoe Museum and also Peterborough and Kawarthas Tourism for my visit. All the opinions in this article are of my own. The group that was there with me was pretty awesome and the guides were very knowledgeable.
***It took me 4 hours to write this post.