Canadian Canoe Museum
Address: 910 Monaghan Rd, Peterborough, ON K9J 5K4
What could be more Canadian then canoes? And what kind of museum is more “Canadian” than a museum that shows them.
The Peterborough Canoe Museum collection began modestly enough in the 1950’s as a private collection assembled by Professor Kirk Wipper at Camp Kandalore, near Minden. As the collection grew, a proper place to store it became necessary, and so appeared the Kanawa Canoe Museum.
But the fleet kept expanding and, by the 1990’s, a still larger facility was needed. In 1996 the canoes moved into today’s Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. Now housing Canada’s largest canoe collection, the museum contains more then six hundred canoes and kayak’s
The museum is laid out as walk through time. The self-guiding tour leads past examples of dugout canoes, some of them several metres long, and dozens of kayaks that hand from the walls. There’s also the freighter canoe, which the fur trade era ushered in, with room from twelve voyageurs and their enormous bundles of fur that could weight as much as 80 kilograms.
Although it is highly unlikely that royalty ever paddles a canoe (that is, until Prince William an his bridge, Catherine did so on their 2011 visit to Canada), three Royal canoes on display include those given to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip and Prince Charles and Princess Diana, both as wedding gifts. A third Royal canoe was given to Prince Andrew by Lakefield College School as a memento of his school day at the institution. Andrew is now the museum’s Royal patron.
But perhaps the most intriguing canoe in the collection is a real silver canoe. This was a gift given in the 1840’s to Govenor George Simpson by a soldier of the cold-stream guards out of sheer respect for Simpson’s inspirational leadership. Crafted by Garrard’s of London, it was acquired by the museum from descendants of Simpson’s family.
Visitors to the museum are also likely to see artisans at work carving canoe paddles, of making blankets and boots, or even building a genuine birch bark canoe itself. And don’t forget to check out the leather fringed jacket worn by Pierre Trudeau during his carefree paddles in his own canoe.
Information Source: From Author Ron Brown and his book the “Top 150 most unusual things to see in Ontario”