Canadian Canoe Museum Canada's history is a paddle-stroke away

On Saturday of Family Day weekend, we decided to visit the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. Little did we know just how much of an impact the canoe had on the growth and settlement of Canada.

I won't attempt to tell the history of Canada in this story, but suffice to say, your eyes will be opened after spending a couple hours at the museum.

One of the first exhibits we saw, included a canoe, complete with mast and sail! This was not something I'd ever even heard of!
The museum has over 100 canoes and kayaks on display, and may be the only place left where you can see a true sealskin kayak. The nearby warehouse stores another 400 canoes and kayaks that simply won't fit in the museum.
The museum is a great place to take the family; friendly, knowledgeable staff, interactive displays, video documentaries and the largest selection of paddle craft I've ever seen, all in one place.
There are lots of areas for the kids to do things; build their own museum, make a paper canoe, even pretend to be a voyageur camping by the shore!

Of the many things I learned, one was that Peterborough was once a huge centre for canoe manufacturing.

Yes, a real seal skin kayak!
Old and new, side by side.

The museum doesn't just display old vessels, they make new ones! I spoke with one of the staff members in the workshop, who was in the process of building 6 kayaks for a student expedition in Northern Canada.

I had never considered the vast array of paddle types, until I saw this display in the workshop.

The Royal Canoes - commissioned as gifts for the Royal Family by the government of Canada.
One of many full-sized tableaus, in this case, featuring a cargo canoe.
Scale models
Tools of the trade
Another play area for kids, in the shelter of a canoe frame.

Next time you're visiting Peterborough, or the Kawartha region, make sure to visit the Canadian Canoe Museum. I think you'll be glad you did.

Created By
Jim Babbage


Words and photography by Jim Babbage