Monday, June 13, 2022

National Canoe Day Celebrations - Gravenhurst, ON - June 26th

This year the Muskoka Discovery & Steamship Centre (Gravenhurst, Ontario) is collaborating with the Northern Lakes Chapter of the WCHA to host a day of celebration for National Canoe Day. The event takes place on Sunday June 26. I'll be there with multiple display of my historic paddle reproductions, a bark canoe model, and other carvings. Also providing a 30 min. presentation on 3 historic paddles from the 1850s (2 of which have yet to be featured on the site) that were carved as romantic betrothal gifts. Anyone in the area is more than welcome to swing by for plenty of displays, demos and paddling. Here is the promo flyer:


A full day of programming and activities has been organized with the planned schedule below:


10:00 am :
Official Event Start & Water Blessing Ceremony 

The day's festivities begin with a talk and Blessing of the Waters ceremony by Indigenous Elder and author, John C. Payette, member of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory (Manitoulin Island)
Presentation of restored Peterborough Courting Canoe (Ron Riddell)

This year's National Canoe Day at the Muskoka Discovery Centre celebrates the "Courting Canoe", a special class of wooden boat constructed for stylish leisure and affairs of the heart. These canoes were most often designed with seats facing each other and often were accessorized with pillows, picnicking supplies, lanterns, and parasols. Volunteers at Heritage Boatworks have been working to restore a 100+ year old, all-wood courting canoe, a Peterborough Comfort. Join us for the back story behind this fascinating watercraft and its restoration back to life.

11:00 am :
Seat Caning Demonstration (Ongoing through the day)
 
Volunteers from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association will be on-hand to demonstrate the techniques of restoring old canoe seats using natural cane. Learn about weaving patterns, techniques and get your questions answered with additional resources available for those who wish to try seat-caning at home.

Paddle Carving (Ongoing through the day) 
An ongoing demonstration of the basic skills and tools needed for making a canoe paddle. Volunteers from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association will be on hand to illustrate techniques and answer your questions. Resources regarding different paddle shapes and wood choice selections will be available for those interested in learning more. 

12:00 noon
Freestyle Canoeing Demonstration (Lee Benson)
Freestyle canoeing involves a combination of simple strokes, plus momentum, angle, and heel to control a canoe and make something even more artful than its parts. Watch from shore as paddler Lee Benson performs a 5 minute in-water musical performance followed by a visual demonstration and explanation of the concepts of freestyle paddling. 

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12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch Break 
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1:45 pm
Seminar Presentation - Romance of the Paddle (Murat Vardar)

Join us indoors for a presentation on the history of giving carved canoe paddles as romantic betrothal gifts. This 30 minute talk will discuss three surviving betrothal paddles dating from the mid-1800s that are highly ornamented and historically significant.

2:30 pm
Official water Launch of Restored Courting Canoe

Enjoy watching the launching of the Muskoka Discovery Centre's restored Peterborough Courting Canoe complete with volunteer paddlers in period dress. 

3:00 pm
Canoe Flotilla & Guided Tour of Gravenhurst Bay

The public is encouraged to join in the on-water fun as our flotilla of boats leave the Discovery Centre area and paddles along the waterfront of Muskoka Wharf. All types of watercraft are welcome. A further guided tour of Gravenhurst bay will highlight some of the features from Gravenhurst's past, including the spot of Camp 20, the WW2 Prisoner's of War Camp in operation from 1940-1946. 

4:00 pm Event End






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