Thursday, December 4, 2008

Heritage North Museum - Birchbark Canoe

In 2001 Heritage North Museum in Thompson, Manitoba commissioned a birch bark canoe as a public programming activity. The site no longer exists, but thanks to the WebArchived version parts of it, including the photo sequence has been preserved. It apparently was built according to the archival and oral research representative of Northern Manitoba. In Adney's Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, this area is encompassed by boats of belonging to the "Western Cree" and this canoe certainly seems to confirm it.

Western Cree canoe

A few things I noticed in this build were the stitching panels on the sides of the canoe. The builder had placed the side panels on top of the main hull sheet, with the seam effectively pointing down into the water. Most water-worthy boats I've seen have the main hull sheet overlap on top of the side panel, with the seam pointing up and away from the water surface. Don't know if this was simply a decision made by the builder or if authentic canoes from this region were built this way.

Bark foldup

Mike Camp sewing sides panels onto the outside of main hull sheet

In addition, this canoe has the continuous lashing and round gunwales reminiscient of East Coast Mi'kmaq canoes, in the style documented by Todd Labrador's build. This would certainly take a lot more root than I had gathered for my boat.

Continuous gunwhale lashing

It's an interesting style of canoe and is now on display in the museum's gallery, complete with a stuffed black bear for "ambience".

Canoe on Display at Heritage North Museum.

1 comment:

Mishomis said...

Good collection of paddles. Will drop by sometimes when I'm down that way.
Like to buy one or two but like to feel it in my hand first.

Duncan Michano ( Mishomis )

See my blog at:

Post a Comment

Newer Posts Older Posts Home Page