The big excitement over at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough Ontario this past weekend was a celebration of National Canoe Day, small craft rendezvous and a visit and Q&A from Nick Offerman of the television show Parks and Recreation. It looks like it was a great day. Nick Offerman seems to be a sweet guy and there is no denying that he is a fine actor and carpenter. I saw him recently on a talk show and he was incredibly quick and witty and he told some really good stories. However, you’ve missed out on the best story teller at the museum if you didn’t get a chance to talk with long time employee and museum curator, Jeremy Ward.
My family had the distinct pleasure to spend some one on one time with Jeremy a couple of weeks ago on our visit to the museum. Warm and friendly and instantly disarming, Jeremy had us riveted with his stories of the boats and their provenance. We were allowed into the big warehouse located across the parking lot from the museum itself to visit with some of the vessels not currently on display. It was simply magical to canoe lovers like ourselves to see row upon row of ancient, modern, worldly, pristine, decimated and decorated specimens and Jeremy had a story for each and every one of them.
We later popped into the museum itself and visited with the canoes once belonging to legendary paddlers Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Bill Mason. With more than 100 canoes and kayaks on display, you need to give yourself time to enjoy this special place. It is super kid friendly with interactive displays and hands-on exhibits. I warn you though, it’s hard to leave without having developed a minor obsession with canoes and canoes are not an easy item to collect (believe me, I know). But don’t worry, the gift shop has smaller items that will keep you inspired. In the past I’ve brought home t-shirts, jewelery, stickers and a book on how to build my own canoe. Just as soon as I get Fraser to build me a garage big enough for that project, I’m totally gonna start my own fleet!
So help support this unique national heritage centre by visiting, donating or even “adopting” a canoe for a loved one (makes a great gift). Hang out and chat with the wonderful and dedicated volunteers (who were dressed in voyageur costume on our visit). And if you see Jeremy while you’re there, ask him for a story…I don’t think he’ll be at a loss for words.