Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough prepares to move world’s largest canoe and kayak collection

Click to play video: 'Canoe Museum: Preparing hundreds of watercraft for move to new site'
Canoe Museum: Preparing hundreds of watercraft for move to new site
Construction has started at the future site of the Canadian Canoe Museum, but work behind the scenes is well underway. Caley Bedore takes a look at what it takes to prepare the museum's collection on this edition of Out & About. – Feb 17, 2022

Construction has officially started at the future site of the Canadian Canoe Museum on Ashburnham Drive in Peterborough, but museum curator, Jeremy Ward, said work is well underway behind the scenes to get the collection ready for the big move.

“This is the largest canoe and kayak collection in the world, over 600 vessels,” Ward said.

“Measured nose to tail, it’s a three-kilometre-long portage or sequence and we are preparing these now to be moved to their new home.”

Dane Allendorf is part of the team cleaning and preparing the watercraft for the move. He said it is all a careful and tedious process.

“We’re removing any dust or dirt that shouldn’t be on the canoe. We are doing it carefully with dry rags,” he said. “We want to handle the objects as little as possible so we will work on this side, flip it, and finish the inside and from there it also gets photographed.”

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Each piece is then catalogued and outfitted with a custom cradle to ensure it is safe while on its voyage through Peterborough.

Currently, the museum is only able to house and properly display less than 20 per cent of the collection, which is part of the reason for the new state-of-the-art facility.

Executive director, Carolyn Hyslop, said plans for a new museum have been in the works for a decade and she is excited construction is now underway.

“It’s a huge transformation. We are building an incredible facility on the water that is going to have a full outdoor campus, a full new suite of exhibitions, a café. It’s going to be quite a spot,” Hyslop said.

“Connecting to Roger’s Cove and Beavermead Park and the Lake itself is a really exciting opportunity.”

The build has a $40-million price tag and will boast 65 000 square feet of space.

She added that being on the water was essential for the new build as it will allow them to offer expanded programming and education.

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Plans for future exhibits are also taking shape.

“We have a great team that is working with people coast to coast to coast, across this country to help bring storied voice perspective and languages,” Ward said.

“We are working with many Indigenous, First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities to also support the exhibit development.”

You can still see the current exhibits, for now. The Canadian Canoe Museum on Monaghan Road is open to the public on weekends, but come September the plan is to close the doors at that facility for good so the team can make the final preparations.

The doors at the new museum are expected to open next summer.

For more information, or to donate to the build campaign, you can visit the Canadian Canoe Museum website.



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