Sunday, July 28, 2019

2019 Temagami Canoe Festival

Wasn't able to attend the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association 40th anniversary Assembly in upstate New York. Turns out every year there is  small, 2 day canoe-themed festival held in Temagami on the same weekend. This year, I made the drive up on the Saturday to check out the waterside exhibits set up by the main town docks.

One of the neat features was a small brigade of voyageur canoes which made their way to shore and set up camp...

Got to meet Dave from Sewn Home, a new canvas tent maker based out of Timmins, Ontario. He had a variety of tents and tarps setup all with dried spruce poles.

I was there to check out the canoes and paddles of course. Here was a neat one in the booth of a Coureur du Bois trapper. Included alongside the display of  pelts was a hand-made paddle with an etching of the typical travel route in the region from Montreal to Fort Temiscamingue just northeast of here.

 Bob's Backcountry Paddles had a nice booth with wide array of hardwood paddles. Like myself, Bob decorates the blades with some pyrography, mostly maps of local Temagami waterways.

Really liked his portable display stand made from a half log and wire backing...

A solo paddling display was conducted right off the main dock for the audience. You'll also see some folks checking out a red canoe up on the dock in the background. I went over and took a couple of pics as well.

Turns out it was an older model from the Temagami Canoe Co, said to be Canada's 2nd oldest surviving canoe company. The short boat was particular wide, someone akin to a Chestnut Bob's Special. The bow seat was covered with a fuzzy sheepskin top for ultimate seating comfort.

Other wood canvas canoes were on display. Here is a restored 17 foot cruiser made by another local maker, Garden Island Canoe Company. The maker constructs seats with woven nylon cordage that get varnished forming a tough weave that is more ideal that cane for tripping canoes.

Another beauty on display was a 16footer built on the original Prospector form of Chestnut Canoe. The maker, Hugh Stewart from Headwater Canoe Co in Wakefield, Quebec was on hand. Hugh was one of the few individuals to acquire Chestnut canoe forms when the company folded in 1979. This one was being raffled off as a 2nd place prize for a local contest.

The highlight for me was seeing the various birchbark canoes on display. Very impressive was this canoe built by an impressive young lady from Bear Island First Nation with an elder last summer. The canoe made the the trip down the Lower Missinaibi River to Mattice as part of inaugural journey.

The cedar thwarts had etchings of a feather and the maker also implanted feathers in the stem deck weavings...

The main outfitter in town also had an impressive collection of modern canoes...

Inside was a rare treat...another bark canoe dated to be at least 80+ years old but needing substantial repair. With the broken lashings holding the thwarts, the canoe has widened quite a bit, but the woodwork was very neat revealing a skilled builder.

Next year I plan to attend the whole 2 day event with the WCHA and setup the historic paddle display.

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