#33. Canadian Canoe Museum, Peterborough, Ont. 1999.
This was a big day. It's the day I portaged my Dad's beloved 16' Chestnut Prospector (Fort) into the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. John Jennings was holding the door open, wincing and flinching every time I bumped into something.
The Museum had recently been transferred from Kirk Wipper's stewardship and the whole collection moved into a big rambling old motorboat factory. It was a huge project with some really big plans, spearheaded by a group of incredibly dedicated folks. But it was still fledgling and needed any publicity it could get. Enter my Mom, Joyce. She agreed to donate my Dad's canoe. It was a natural and obvious gesture BUT it wasn't easy. Mason's just don't give away canoes...ever. Especially red Prospectors. Most especially the red Prospector that appeared in many of my Dad's films and that we still paddled.
Although we had taken it out for a poignant last paddle/ farewell tour of Meech Lake the day before, and then for a final spin on the canal in Peterborough, it was still a bittersweet moment when I carried it across the Museum threshold that day. It was hard to imagine this old girl as a museum piece. But once inside I realized my Dad's beloved canoe was indeed home. My Mom had made a wise decision and the canoe was now safe and preserved for all of Canada, and the world to see, in-perpetuity.
The wonderful Canadian Canoe Museum continues to grow, evolve and expand in many creative and unique ways. They have spectacular plans for a new location and building by the water in Peterborough. Please visit when you can! It's an awesome experience to see their beautifully displayed collection. But the Museum is much more than a building. It is people, and events, and workshops, and outreach, and stories. Especially stories. Everybody's canoe has a story. Even your canoe has a story. These stories, these histories, these memories are held in these vessels and when shared amongst us can ensure their safe journey into the future.
This is the last week for our daily Paddling Pic. Reid and I have enjoyed sharing our images and stories and hope you like our final few. Maybe it will inspire you to share your own paddling tales. They are all special. They can enlighten, educate, calm, inspire and even brighten one's day. And remember, your stories are just as important as the ones loaded into my Dad's red Prospector at the Canadian Canoe Museum. So let's talk canoes!