Have you ever purchased something that eventually turned into a collection?
Early on when I was growing up I went through a phase of collecting stamps, gemstones and sports cards. Nothing too serious and nothing that really lasted for a long period of time.
Nowadays I don’t really collect anything. Well, I would like to say passport stamps, but I’m not really looking to collect those, I just want to go everywhere. : )
Back to talking about collections. How about canoes?
Odd collection right?
Back in 1957, a man by the name of Kirk Wipper was given a canoe. This first canoe, which carried not only people, but also a history with it, began a movement of canoe collecting for Kirk Wipper.
In just over a decade his collection had far surpassed over 100 canoes! In 1997, 40 years and hundreds of canoes later, the Canadian Canoe Museum unveiled part of the collection to the public in its now current location in Peterborough, Canada, just north of Toronto.
The Canadian Canoe Museum currently houses over 600 canoes and assorted water craft with over 100 on display for the public making it the largest collection of canoes in the world!
Across from the museum itself is a large warehouse that stores the rest of the canoes that are not displayed. It was pretty cool to check them all out. Less than a week before I had ventured into my first canoe for a paddling adventure and now I was learning the ins and outs and history of it all.
The museum itself not only acts as a place to display the canoes but also as an adventure learning center. Along with wandering through the museum visitors can take guided tours, sign up for various classes and even go on guided trips.
It was evident that the goal is to get people involved, engaged and educated.
As the group that I was with passed from section of canoes to section of canoes our guide gave a detailed description and great history lesson about them. A giant map showing Canada and the multitude of waterways acted as backdrop and evidence to why Canada was one of the first locations that canoes came about. Peterborough in particular was a hub for producing various canoes.
The collection spanned from canoes that were made from hollowing out a log, to canoes used to transport materials, all the way to present day canoes that are used for the Olympics.
One of things that I remember being shocked about was the amount of weight that certain canoes can carry. I wish I could remember, but I want to say there were some canoes that could easily carry over a ton in various goods in addition to the several men it took to navigate and paddle.
Imagine a canoe transporting a small to average sized sedan. Crazy to think about right?
This place has a knowledgeable staff and an incredible amount of information and activities. It’s an awesome geek out spot for the adventurous and the curious. If you don’t know much about canoeing or the area of Peterborough and the Kawarthas, the Canadian Canoe Museum is a great place to not only visit, but to become involved with.
For more information on the museum, prices or the various activities they offer, check out their website here.
Also, check out their clever restroom signs. The wheelchair one cracks me up. : D
The awesome group that I was hanging out with during my time in Peterborough. : D
(My visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum was part of a press trip that I took part in with the tourism board for Peterborough and the Kawarthas. For more information on the area please check out their websites. All opinions are my own.)