The Canadian Canoe Museum, which recently reopened, has launched a new three-part video series, allowing the public to get up close and personal with three iconic canoes in the museum’s collection.
Featured in the video tours are the stories of William and Mary Commanda’s birchbark canoes, whose work in revitalizing the cultural practice of canoe building in Indigenous communities has been nationally and internationally recognized; the titular “Canary Yellow Canoe” belonging to Gordon Lightfoot that he memorialized in a song; and, the artistic interplay between May Minto, a female canoe builder, which was uncommon at the time, and wildlife painter and environmentalist Robert Bateman.
“We often are asked, “Why collect canoes?”, and the answer is that we don’t – or rather, that we believe the canoe to be more than the sum of its parts. The canoes in our collection carry rich, significant stories that collectively tell the history of Canada by canoe,” shares Jeremy Ward, the museum’s Curator. “Whether the stories they tell are of ancient connections to waterways, the latest high-tech innovations at the Olympics, or they are expressions of cultural reclamation, pride and endurance of Indigenous peoples today, canoes let us form new understandings of connections to our environment, other people and ourselves”.
Summer is typically the busiest season for visitors to the Canadian Canoe Museum, with regional and international tourists contributing significantly to the approximately 40,000 annual visitors to the museum. While the Canadian Canoe Museum reopened this past weekend, the museum recognizes that not everyone will be able or willing to return to indoor public spaces just yet, and in response, are continuing to find innovative ways to share this world-class collection virtually.
The virtual video tours were produced by Birchbark Media, with funding provided by Kawarthas Northumberland, and in collaboration with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, to showcase the vast opportunities there are to explore arts, culture, and heritage in the region – whether in-person or online.
The video tours can be viewed at canoemuseum.ca/CCM-from-Home