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Sunday 10 December 2023

Canadians love their canoes like Aussies love their 'roos

Canoes have played a key role in Canada's indigenous history.

In fact, Canadians love canoes so much that a new museum dedicated to the traditional water craft will open early next year.

The Canadian Canoe Museum, located on the Traditional Territory of the Williams Treaties First Nations, in Peterborough, Ontario, has stewarded, for past 20 years, the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft.

More than 600 in number, the watercraft and their stories will have a bigger, more expansive, new home on the water’s edge that is set to open in May 2024.

The new museum and lakefront campus will be located on the Trent-Severn Waterway and will not only care for the watercraft and share their stories, but also enable visitors to "experience the transformative nature of the canoe and enjoy the outdoors first hand".

Visitors will be able to walk through the front doors and paddle out the back.

"The new facility will ensure that a fundamental part of Canadian heritage is not lost," says the facility's mission statement.

"The museum has a national role to play but is limited by its lack of suitable space and its inland location. The new museum and all that it encompasses and enables, is foundational to the realization of a strong, sustainable national organisation."

The museum’s artefacts range from dugouts of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to bark canoes of the Beothuk of Newfoundland; from the skin-on-frame kayaks of northern peoples from Baffin Island in the east to the Mackenzie River Delta in the north-west to all-wood and canvas-covered watercraft.

Over the years paddled watercraft from as far away as Paraguay and the Amazon have helped the museum expand its reach and scope to include international examples.

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