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Reuniting Old Friends

Sandy's Canoe is a 14' cedar strip canvas-covered canoe (maker unknown). I determined from the assessment that several cedar strips along the gunwales will need to be replaced and bow and stern stems either replaced or repaired. the Keel was fine but I did sand and refinish with a marine-grade varathane. The canvas skin will need replacing and outer gunwales refabricated and replaced.

Sally's 15' cherry red cedar-stripped Canoe dates back to the early 1930s.  This canoe has been well loved. I can see a few planks have been replaced over the years and certainly recanvased a couple of times. For Sally's canoe, I will replace the keel with ash wood, sand and revarnish gunwales, and recanvas.

This 15' red canoe was manufactured by the Tremblay Canoe Company and dates back to the early 1970s. It is unique in that the original skin was vinyl impregnated canvas (Verolite). For this canoe, I will be replacing the keel and re-canvassing. The gunwales are rotting in places so I will sand and use wood filler to fix the gaps. 

I picked up the Elgin in Eastern Ontario. There is not a lot known about this canoe but it did come with this cool little plastic label tacked into the bow. Hence why I am naming it the Elgin. At first look, everything seemed good in terms of the condition of the canoe but as I started to peel back the layers, I could see some of the water damage to the bow and stern decks. I really have to put on my CSI (Canoe Scene Investigation) skills to learn more about this beautiful craft. 


This Lanford Canoe was bought by Gary in 1976. The family canoe has been on a number of adventures all over Ontario. 


Michael contacted me in early spring to see about repairing his 16' Scott canoe. Although I generally stick to the wood canoes, Michael's kevlar canoe had an interesting story and guided me into the back eddies of my time working with Camp Awakening and our Kevlar canoes we used to trip with the campers in the '80's. 


Jeff has a beautiful Swift Kipawa canoe that needs some work on the starboard gunwale. It is a tricky project that I am eager to work on. 


Big Red is a great description for this gorgeous 16' Langford canoe that has paddled many miles over 50 years. Rebecca inherited Big Red from her parents and it has brought great pleasure to Rebecca and her family paddling around Petrie Island in Ottawa but an unfortunate winter accident has caused Big Red a bit of trauma. 


Normand and Janique have a Swift Kipawa that they have been paddling for the past 20 years with their children Quinn and Erika. This canoe has carried the family on many adventures but now that the kids have grown, it's time to pass "kip" along to Erika so she can continue her path of the paddle. 

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This vintage craft has been the focal point for many of Norm and his family's outdoor adventures. Now his children are looking to restore his canoe and keep the memory of those glorious days present for the next generation of adventure seekers.


Pamela is a 40 foot, 22 person Dragon Boat and the pride of the Ottawa Police Dragon Boat Club. Built in Germany and purchased by the OPDBC in 2005, this boat needs some TLC to gunwales, seats, and decks. Pamela has been inactive during the pandemic but will be raising some eyebrows when she is back on the water in 2022.

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Amy contacted me in late May to inquire about restoring a canoe that was passed down to her by her grandfather. Although she was not sure of the company that built this canoe, there are a couple of interesting features that may help identify who the builder was and the year it was built. One feature is the verolite skin (I think it's Verolite) that currently covers the hull. The other is a number plate tacked on the inside gunwale. Perhaps these two anomalies will provide me with some sense of who and when the canoe was manufactured. 

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I met Sheldon just outside of Prescot to pick up his canoe. Although this canoe has been recanvased once, it is still in great condition for a 50-year-old (I wish I were in the same condition). The goal is to recanvas it in order to be handed down in the family. I'm not sure if many of these older canoes built by Camp Nominingue are still in existence, but I am looking forward to pulling the canvas off to see the condition of the wood. 


Scott's 16' Kevlar Prospector by Scott Canoes will spend some time in the shop getting spruced up for the 2022 canoe season. After ten years of tripping with Scott, the hull is in need of some TLC and although the restoration is fairly straightforward, a few challenges have presented themselves with body scrapes and the handle mounts. 


Jim's 14' Woodland is one of those beautiful old canoes that have a great history. For this canoe, I will be replacing gunwales, patching fiberglass, and restoring some rib tips that have deteriorated over time. 


The Peterborough Canoe Company was founded in 1892. Liz's Peterborough was built in 1914 and remains a testament to the construction and versatility of this vessel.


I have to say, the Chestnut Canoe is my dream canoe. Having grown up with Bill Mason and his Chestnut canoe in the Path of the Paddle video series, the opportunity to restore one is a dream come true for me. the 2022-23 season, I am fortunate to have a couple of Chestnuts to work on. Doug's Chestnut will need some deck work, new outwales, and a recanvas. I am excited to get this project going!


Archie's beautiful 15' spring green Atelier requires a new canvas and attention to the gunwales. However, once the canvas and gunwales were removed, more damage was found in the bow stem area. It is one of those stories that reveal a deeper understanding of the relationship between water and wood.


 Although years and water have left their mark on this historically significant transportation vehicle, I am eager to reimagine this quintessential canoe whose thread has weaved its pattern into our Canadian identity. More importantly, restoring Bill's Chestnut canoe is an opportunity for me to reconnect with the waterways and portages of my own identity. 

I'm pretty sure this canoe is a Huron. It has the same decks, and time frame as when the Huron was built. For this project, we will be restoring the stern and bow ends and recanvasing. It looks to be a straightforward project but as past experiences have proved, there could be more going on once the old canvas is removed.


Carolyn and Marty have been active paddlers for many years and currently own 3 canoes but have always wanted a vintage Peterborough cedar strip. So when they came across this gorgeous 1941 model found at a cottage in rural Quebec,  Carolyn fell in love with it instantly and they bought it. 


46 50 359, thats the serial number stamped on the inside stern stem of George's Chestnut Canoe. It doesn't provide me with a lot of details about the year made but after chatting with George, and looking at the specs, I am confident that it is a Bob's Special model.

Over the years, the canvas has been pulling away from under the gunwales and so we will be removing the old canvas, checking the wood underneath, and putting on a new canvas. 


This old 14-6' Chestnut (circa. 1946-47) does not line up with other Chestnut canoes I have done in the past which intrigues me. First, the decks are heart shaped not rounded. That's not to say Chestnut made canoes with only rounded decks but is a unique feature. Were these replacement decks? So many questions as I start to peel back the history of this canoe.


There are so many stories to tell about other canoes, kayaks, and SUP's that come to the shop. Most are smaller repairs that offer a brief window of opportunity to view their travels. Each carries a memory impressed somewhere on their hull, deck, gunwales, fabric, or fiber. I am fortunate to be able and glimpse at these crafts and playfully wonder where their next adventure lays. 

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