A Trip through Time!

The Coppermine Canoe.

The Link, Winter 2017
| by Tina Rouse |

Already a national cultural treasure, the Canadian Canoe Museum (CCM) is propelling toward the future with an exciting sense of vibrancy. CCM was proud to celebrate 20 years in Peterborough during 2017. Attracting visitors from all over the world the museum exhibits the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks, paddled watercraft and thousands of related artifacts.

The Past

CCM journeys through the foundation of Canada, showing how the canoe was the main mode of transportation through a vast wilderness of waterways, from the First Nations to the Europeans who followed. The collection was started in 1957 by the late Kirk Wipper, who “…intended to create a point of inspiration and education for my campers and staff.” Wipper was an assistant professor of physical education at the University of Toronto. He founded Camp Kandalore in Ontario and co-founded the Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association. Wipper had a great respect for indigenous people and nature, and is considered a pioneer of Canadian outdoor education.

Museum exhibits include details of canoe construction, historic trade routes, stories of the fur trade, the growth of cottage and resort culture in the early 20th century, canoe racing and recreation. A new exhibit launched in June was Artisans in Industry, highlighting Peterborough’s heritage as a world leader in canoe manufacturing. CCM also offered the Canoe City Walking Tour during the summer, just one example of how the museum strives to move their learning experiences outside to the fresh air. Many exhibits feature interactive ‘Hands On’ family-friendly areas where items can be held and experienced in a more direct and personal manner.

The Present

Not just a beautiful and engaging museum, CCM hosts many creative and adventuresome events, “…initiatives using the canoe as a vessel for community building, environmental stewardship, reconciliation and conversations about Canada past, present and future.” From hosting Family Paddling Days to their Connected by Canoe journey, which was a two-part ‘floating conversation’ group canoe trip from Kingston to Ottawa, CCM encourages everyone to participate and explore. There are also canoeing lessons offered for adventurous souls of all ages.

Adult Artisan Workshops include instruction on traditional skills including beading, toboggan making, weaving snowshoes and making snowshoe bindings, pyrography and making items of clothing like winter moccasins, buckskin mittens and even an anorak! The most popular workshops include learning how to carve a canoe paddle and wood and canvas canoe restoration – these classes fill up fast! The 2018 workshop schedule can be found on the website at www.canoemuseum.ca

“…a national cultural treasure…”

CCM also offers youth educational programming for schools and groups, a yoga class, rental facilities, receptions, gala events and so much more.

The CCM Tumblehome Gift Shop features locally made artisanal products. “There’s no admission required to shop!”smiles Jessica Fleury, Marketing and Media Relations Manager. There’s a wide variety of high-quality Canadiana and canoe-inspired items.

The Future

In partnership with Parks Canada, the CCM will soon relocate alongside the Peterborough Lift Lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Essentially connecting the historic watercraft museum alongside the water, this 75,000 square foot facility will be the most significant cultural attraction between Toronto and Ottawa. The building has a breathtaking “21st century sustainable design” that will “meet curatorial and conservation standards” as a new home for the collection. Check out the website for more information on this exciting new facility. Completion is planned for 2021.

Peterborough resident T. K. Rouse is a University of Ryerson publishing graduate. Her work includes a novel, non-fiction articles, short fiction, poetry and cartoons. She is currently keeping a blog about historic architecture in Peterborough, http//:timewalkertk.blogspot.ca

The Canadian Canoe Museum is a private, not-for-profit organization with charitable status and is open throughout the year. Visit the Museum at 910 Monaghan Road, Peterborough. Phone (866) 342-2663 or email info@canoemuseum.ca.
Visit www.canoemuseum.ca