This canoe is actually an old cedar canvas with panels of birchbark stapled to the hull. Certainly not meant to be paddled but it was a romantic entrance to event. The thing was a total wreck but luckily there was much more canoe related stuff inside the show.
The good folks from the Canadian Canoe Museum had their booth stocked with volunteers carving away. One of my paddle making instructors from the Artisan workshops at the museum, Don Duncan, was there and we got to catchup and say hello again.
Badger Paddles was well represented again as was Bruce Smith who had a booth showing off his lovely creations. It was there that I got to see friend, Mike Ormsby from the Reflections On The Outdoors Naturally blog. Mike was scheduled to give a solo paddling demo in his 16ft Cedar Canvas. The demo pool at the show is quite small and its miniature size would make it a challenge for any paddler in a larger boat. Always a good humoured jokester, Mike put on quite a show after an accidental dunking. He even wrote all about his (mis)adventure on his site in this great post. I've certainly dunked in front of spectators before so kudos to Mike for taking it all in stride and being willing to laugh at oneself.
For me the highlight of the show was getting a chance to meet the folks of Northern Sound Canoes who make traditional birchbark style craft with plywood-based hull. I've written about such alternative bark canoes before on this site, including those Hans-George Wagner of Germany, Tomas of Poland, and blog reader Johan of Belgium
Northern Sound Exhibit
16 foot Algonquin Model
Beautiful Edge-to-Edge planking
These canoes were well received I'm told and have generated some interest. While they are based in the UK, the builders are planning a means of making them more available here in North America. Seeing these craft up close got me excited to attempt a build of my own - it certainly solves the problem of limited bark available to builders today...and being birch based plywood, should be a fantastic medium for pyrography decoration as well. I'm giddy with the potential excitement of another build but am not sure the family is that happy with yet another canoe plan in the works.