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Gordon Lightfoot donates canoes to Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough

Gordon Lightfoot talks about donating several canoes to the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.
Gordon Lightfoot talks about donating several canoes to the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. Niki Anastasakis/CHEX News

Canadian folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot offered up his own watercraft to the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough on Thursday.

The singer-songwriter donated three of his canoes along with one belonging to his close friend Fred Gaskin.

Lightfoot said he often paddled in the Far North where he often found inspiration to write songs.

“Some of the hard trips we were doing were up in the Northwest Territories and Northern Quebec,” said Lightfoot. “We travelled in the Arctic regions — several trips took us in the Arctic Ocean where the rivers ran to the north.”

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One yellow canoe was the focus of Lightfoot’s Canary Yellow Canoe song released in 1981. It has damage from an excursion Lightfood and Gaskin made on the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories in the 1970s.

 

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“Needless to say, it’s been an incredible day,” said museum curator Jeremy Ward. “We are honoured to be adding to our collection three of Gordon’s canoes and one from his good friend and paddling companion.”

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“We know that for Gordon, canoeing was a critical diversion from a very demanding career,” said Ward.

“Many who know him, know how important his canoe trips were to him. And, all the while, he was building national and international recognition. These are remarkable stories and this museum is indeed the perfect setting for those stories to be told. We are grateful to have been entrusted with them.”

The museum houses more than 600 canoes including ones belonging to Farley Mowat, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Bill Mason and the Royal Family.

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