Schools & Youth

Explore the current Ontario science, art, geography, history, social studies and environmental studies curriculum through the unique lens of the canoe and its cultures.

Choose from the links below to see descriptions of our award-winning programs for school and youth groups, families and children. Our programs and activities are rooted in the principles of experiential education: participants learn through song, story, role-play, adventure, carving, making, baking and imagining.

  • Fully bilingual program leaders (please ask when reserving your trip!)
  • Interactive, hands-on and inquiry-based learning
  • Cross-curricular First Nations emphasis
  • Accessible for students with special needs and different learning styles
  • School days, evenings and weekends

School/youth group bookings and birthday party inquiries:

To book a school program, or for more information contact Victoria:

Victoria Veenstra, Programs Registrar
[email protected]
705-748-9153 x218

For other education inquiries:

Karen Taylor, Education Manager
[email protected]
705-748-9153 x203

Fees and Planning

Fees & Visit Planning

  • School-day program cost is $8.50* per student for one 90-minute staff-led program.
  • Additional 90-minute staff-led programs are $5.50* per student.
  • We require a minimum fee for 15 participants.
  • Lunch space is included in your visit if scheduled.
  • Option for self-guided tour (recommended 30 minutes) at no additional cost.
  • Week-night program cost is $10* per student for one program
  • Chaperones are included at no extra cost at the following ratios:
    • K-3 1:5
    • 3-8 1:8
    • 9+ 1:10
  • Programs are approximately 90-minutes long unless otherwise noted.
  • You are welcome to plan arrival to have time for snack before programs begin (please advise).
  • Many programs are available in French or English please inquire when booking.
 *Fees are as listed above unless otherwise noted with the program. There are no additional taxes on education program fees.

Getting Started:

Contact Programs Registrar Victoria Veenstra ([email protected]) with the following information.

  • Your name
    • The names of any other teachers accompanying you.
  • Your School
  • Student Grade
  • Number of Students
  • Preferred Dates
  • Preferred Arrival Time
  • Program Choices if Known
  • Any special needs or considerations of your class

Read More on Overnight and On Water Experiences

Flyer for on water programming at the canoe museumFlyer for overnight programming at the canoe museum

Programs for JK - Grade 3

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Canoes Count

Puppets Jacques and Kathy need your students’ help! Students measure, count, sort and re-create patterns using colourful, large-format mats to choose the right canoe for paddling in different water environments. There’s music and movement too: Learn an action-based “how-to-paddle” song, and try out kindergartener-sized paddles and our rocking canoe! This is a very active, diverse program that focuses on counting, measurement and patterns while addressing many curriculum links.
Kindergarten
Frames: Belonging and Contributing, Self-Regulation and Well-Being, Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours, Problem Solving and Innovating
Expectations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31

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Help them Get Home

Discover Canada’s wildlife, habitats and the needs of living things! Students join us on an imaginary canoe journey through the woodlands, meeting animal puppets along the way. Up next: a guided scavenger hunt throughout the museum to explore and a
pply these big ideas, finding and gathering ‘lost’ creatures to return them to their appropriate ‘home’ or habitat. A program full of fun, imagination, sorting activities, environmental awareness and music!
Kindergarten BC, SRWB, PSI, Expectations: 1-5, 7,8,9, 13, 14, 21, 25, 28, 29
Grade 1 SCIENCE Understanding Life Systems: Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
Grade 1-3 Language – Oral Communication 1,2

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The Perfect Machine

What makes the canoe a “perfect machine”? Students explore the form, materials, art and function of this Indigenous invention by carrying out their own experiments w
ith canoe design, buoyancy, flotation and surface tension. Also included: handling traditional First Nations’ materials for birch-bark canoe building, a co-operative floor puzzle and canoe origami. Students have the option to take their origami canoe home or send it down the museum’s indoor waterfall!
Grade 1 Science Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
Grade 2 SCIENCE Properties of Liquids and Solids
Grade 1-3 Visual Arts
Grade 1-3 Language – Oral Communication 1,2

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Bark, Skin and Cedar

An active, hands-on exploration of traditional Indigenous watercraft, tied to the grade 3-4 curriculum. Students compare different First Nations and Inuit watercraft – materials, form, function – and work in pairs or groups of three to investigate the geographic regions of Canada connected to each specific craft and culture. Each student works on his or her own mapping activity during the program, which can be taken back to class for assessment or further exploration. This program starts with a short hands-on small-group interactive tour of the galleries’ aboriginal watercraft, and ends with a whole-group sharing and analysis of students’ findings.
Grade 3 Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada 1780-1850
(Grade 4 People and Environments: Pol
itical and Physical Regions of Canada)
 Grade 1-3 Language – Oral Communication 1,2 Reading 1

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Paddle to the Sea

An arts- and geography-focused introduction the museum, canoes and the Great Lakes Region with Holling C. Holling’s classic character, Paddle to the Sea, as host and guide. We play a cooperative game on a huge floor map of the Great Lakes to reinforce ideas from the story/film about water safety, currents, Ojibwa culture, and lakes, rivers and habitat and mapping. Students get to handle materials for birch-bark canoe building and paint a Paddle to the Sea wooden cutout to take home.
While not required, pre-visit experience of the book or movie will greatly deepen students’ learning experience. Before your visit, please share the book or 30-minute film in English or French for your class. The film is available to stream at no cost from the National Film Board here: Paddle to the Sea Voyage a la mer
Grade 1-3 Visual Arts
Grade 1-3 Language: Oral Communication 1, 2 Reading 1
Grade 1-3 Health and Physical Education Active Living/Living Skills

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Soapstone Carving

Carve a unique soapstone pendant using only stone, sandpaper, water and oil!
A guided exploration of our Arctic Gallery, including handling and discussion of artifacts, provides an introduction to the Inuit cultural context of this art form.

 

Grade 1-3 Visual Arts
Grade 1-3 Language – Oral Communication 1,2

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Canoe Senses

Interactive and fun activities exploring the five senses throughout the Museum’s Galleries! Program elements include bannock-tasting, cooperative storytelling using North American animal puppets, and learning a song! Students also create (and take home!) a cardstock canoe based on an Ojibwe watercraft in our collection.
Kindergarten BC, SRWB, DLMB, PSI, Expectations: 1-4, 7,8,9, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 29,30
Grade 1-3 Language: Oral Communication 1, 2
Grade 1-3 Visual Arts

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Watercolour Painting

A hands-on painting skills program that puts art in the context of expressing one’s culture and connection to the environment. Students spend the majority of this program painting. They first learn specific watercolour techniques with artist-quality paint and brushes. Then, it’s off into the Galleries, in pairs or groups of 3, to apply their newfound skills and create two paintings inspired by the exhibits of their choice. A ‘gallery exhibition’ of their work at the end of the program celebrates their creations, allowing each student to share and celebrate each other’s strengths and artistic expressions.
This program is available for grade 2+.
(For a painting program for Kindergarten and Grade 1, ask about our paddle-painting option)
Grade 2-3 Visual Arts
Grade 2-3 Language – Oral Communication 1,2

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Museum Sleepover!

Duration: 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Cost: $40*/student
*Food and drinks not included.
This is the ultimate museum experience! Arrive just before 6:00 p.m. for an adventurous evening of learning and play with the whole Museum to yourselves. It features one program from the list above, additional hands-on activities, snack time, and an indoor campfire full of songs and stories. ‘Camp’ in the museum’s Voyageur Encampment and/or Wigwam. Departure is in the morning at 8:30 a.m. Or, add a morning program to further enrich your students’ museum experience for an additional fee.
Programs for Grade 4-8

To book a middle school program, or for more information, email [email protected] or call 705.748.9153 ext. 218.

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Bark, Skin and Cedar (Grade 4)

An active, hands-on exploration of traditional Indigenous watercraft, tied to the grade 3-4 curriculum. Students compare different First Nations and Inuit watercraft – materials, form, function – and work in pairs or groups of 3 to investigate the geographic regions of Canada connected to each specific craft and culture. Each student works on his or her own mapping activity during the program, which can be taken back to class for assessment or further exploration. This program starts with a short hands-on small-group interactive tour of the galleries’ aboriginal watercraft, and culminates with the students’ sharing their findings using a Venn diagram created by the whole class.

A great program for 3/4 splits!
(Grade 3 Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada 1780-1850)
Grade 4 People and Environments: Political and Physical Regions of Canada, B3
Grade 4 Heritage and Identity: Early Societies, A2, A3
Grade 4 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 Reading 1.4, 1.8, 3.2 Writing 1.4, 1.5

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Trappers and Traders (Grade 5,6,7)

An immersion in fur trade history that students will always remember. Dress up in period costume, trade in the trading post, bake bannock, tie tumplines, handle Voyageur paddles, and visit the Encampment in this day-in-the-life of a Voyageur experience! Our staff, in character as “bourgeois”, facilitate first-hand, hands-on experiences of the stories, language, navigation, trade items, portaging practice, period food and fur-handling in the context of the First Nations’, Metis and European relationships at the core of the fur trade. In our debrief of the role-play experience, we facilitate discussion of women’s roles in the fur trade, and the legacy of the fur trade relationships between Indigenous and European newcomer populations. Classroom-follow-up will be provided during your visit: A copy of an authentic Voyageur contract in the original French, plus an English translation.

Grade 5 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 7 History, New France and British North America, 1713-1850
Grade 4 – 8 Drama B1
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

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Traditional Knowledge and Skills (Grade 4-8)

A cross-curricular program that explores First Nations’ oral culture, traditional knowledge and skills through storytelling, artifacts and creativity. Students gather knowledge from primary and secondary sources in our collection about the watercraft of the Indigenous peoples of different regions of Canada, and work in small groups to share their findings through drama and movement. A traditional Mi’kmaq tale told in the Voyageur encampment inspires an exploration of storytelling as a way to share knowledge. Students each create an artifact to help them carry the story home.

Grade 4-8 Drama B1, B2, B3, Visual Arts D1, D3
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2,
Reading 1.4, 3.2

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Path of the Paddle (Grade 4-8)

Please note: This program is NOT available for Overnight or Evening programs.
Explore environmental stewardship, traditional fire-making, and human interaction with the land. Students engage with exhibits throughout the Museum galleries via a scavenger hunt that inspires discussion about their role in environmental stewardship. Outdoors, students learn fire safety and try their hand using fire bows, char cloth, flint and steel, working cooperatively to create fire. A great trip to connect with Earth Day!
Please be sure that students are dressed appropriately for approximately 30 minutes outdoors, and wearing closed-toe shoes.
Grade 4 Social Studies People and Environments B2

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Fur Trade Game (Grade 5,6,7)

A knowledge-trading game that immerses students in early New France history! Working in small groups, students explore the Galleries to gather, analyze, record and communicate information about the Fur Trade and its significance for, and perspectives of, First Nations and European participants. They trade knowledge for goods and services with a “trading post clerk”, a “First Nations trapper” and with each other. This activity includes hands-on exploration, evaluation and analysis of reproduction trade goods (of both European and First Nations origins) as well as study of different primary sources – maps, text and images — in the Museum’s Galleries. Working in small groups, students will communicate their findings both orally to program leaders, and in writing activities that provide excellent assessment opportunities.

Grade 5 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada, A1, A2, A3
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present, A1, A2
Grade 7 History, New France and British North America, 1713-1800 (Continuity and Change, Historical Perspective). While this program addresses the early French period, much of the content is applicable to the 18th century Fur Trade as well. Our staff will modify delivery and emphasis according to your class grade level.
Grade 4-8 Drama B1
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 1.4, 1.8., 2.2., 2.3, 2.4, 2.6 Reading 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, 3.2
Writing 1.3

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Arctic Paths

What do you know about Arctic life today? Discover and dismantle common misconceptions about how Inuit people live their day-to-day lives and explore continuity and change in traditional Inuit cultures in this fun and collaborative program. Includes active traditional Inuit games, small group inquiry-based learning, and a scavenger hunt!

Add Soapstone Carving to make a full Arctic-themed day!

Grade 4: Social Studies, Early Societies 3000BCE-1500CE
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3 Reading 1.4
Grade 4-8 Health and Physical Education, Active Living A1, A3, Movement Competence B1, B2

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Decoding The Arctic (Grade 5+)

Want to know how to write your name in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit? Students explore the language, the people, and traditional and contemporary lifestyles of the Arctic. A map-based activity sends students throughout the museum’s galleries for clues to understanding and communicating in Inuktitut. Students also get a chance to play a variety of traditional Inuit games.

 

 

Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 5 – 8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

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Kayak Building

A stimulating hands-on initiative task. Students work together to build an eight-foot skin-on-frame kayak, from a kit based on an Inuit watercraft in the museum’s collection. Students learn about of kayak-building as a community task in traditional Inuit cultures where different members play distinct and crucial roles. Working collaboratively in small groups, students problem-solve to discover the best building method for their group and project. This is a challenging program that promotes team-building and an understanding of Inuit cultures.

Please note that the kayaks that the students build are not take-homes.

Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D3
Grade 4 – 8 Language – Oral Communication 3.1, 3.2 Reading 1.4, 3.2
Pre- or Post-Visit Activity: Download a Kayak template here.

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Paddle Carving 3 hours, $15/student

Carve a 24” paddle out of poplar! Using a traditional spoke shave tool, students learn the woodworking techniques to take their rough blank to a smoothly-sanded, finished paddle. Students have a beautiful souvenir to take home and treasure. as well as an introduction to all the skills necessary to make a full-size paddle in the future.

Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D1, D2, D3
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present A1.2 While the majority of this program is hands-on wood-working, we contextualize paddle-making with a brief tour of paddles in our collection, their origins and significance.

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Soapstone Carving

A hands-on experience of soapstone carving! The majority of the time of this program is hands-on carving (with sandpaper), starting from a 2×3 inch soapstone blank. As well, we introduce the students this art form in our Arctic Gallery to provide meaningful context, exploring the Inuit cultural tradition in the Arctic environment through our kayak collection and related hands-on artifacts.

Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D1, D2, D3
Grade 4 Science: A 30-minute Grade 4 Rocks & Minerals activity is an optional $1.50/student add-on. (We briefly touch on the properties of soapstone in the standard 90-minute program)
Grade 4 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Early Societies A3.1, A3.2
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present A1.2

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Watercolour Painting

Whether your students are new to watercolour painting or would like to further develop their skills with the inspiration of our Galleries and instructors, this program provides a unique and stimulating artistic setting that promotes close study of the Museum’s traditional indigenous watercraft, artifacts and shape and form.

Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D1, D2, D3
Depending on the interests of your students and/or the cross-curricular links desired, we can modify this program to emphasize art in the environment, First Nations arts, or environmental activism and canoeing.

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Overnight at the Museum!

6:00 p.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Cost: $40*per student
*Food and drinks not included.

This is the ultimate museum experience! Arrive just before 6 p.m. for an adventurous evening of learning. This features any two programs from the list above, plus an indoor campfire full of songs and stories and time for an evening snack before ‘camping’ in the Museum’s Voyageur Encampment and/or Wigwam. Departure in the morning by 8:30 a.m. *Add a 90-minute morning program to further enrich your students’ Museum visit experience

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Voyageur Canoe Paddling Program
(Victoria Day to Thanksgiving)

Four hours. Please inquire ([email protected]) about per-student cost. (includes soapstone carving, kayak-building or watercolour painting), up to 32 participants

Take part in two learning-packed, hands-on programs: Voyageur Canoeing and Soapstone Carving. Students have the unique experience of paddling a 36′ Montreal Canoe up the Peterborough Lift Lock. This stunning canoe is a replica of a canoe used in Canada’s Fur Trade era. Students learn about Voyageur history and First Nations’ roles in the Fur Trade through story, role play, and costume, as well as the history and engineering of the lift lock. Back on shore, students will explore the Inuit tradition of soapstone carving (which can be substituted with watercolour painting or our kayak-building programs, see above for descriptions).

On-water programming is staffed by ORCKA and Bronze Cross-certified instructors; PFDs are worn at all times. A copy of the Museum’s Risk Management Policy is available upon request.

A two-hour paddling-only program is available upon request for up to 16 participants.

Please note that our on-water programs are based at the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic site, which is a 10 minute drive from the Museum. Combination museum and Lift-lock programming is available depending on your travel flexibility.

Grade 5 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 7 History, New France and British North America, 1713-1800
Grade 4-8 Health and Physical Education, Active Living, Movement Competence

 

 

 

 

Programs for Grades 9 +

 

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Treaty Canoe

This program is currently unavailable while we revise it in consultation with First Nations advisors. Book this program now for the September 2018 school year.
An introduction to the historical treaty process in Canada. Students carry out a simulated treaty negotiation based on the 1923 Williams Treaties, playing the roles of First Nations and government representatives. This program is a great exercise in critical thinking and negotiation, and inspires passionate engagement with the frustrations, inequities and different cultural perspectives of the participants in the treaty process.
Grade 10: Canadian History since World War I CHC2D/P A,B,
Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, NAC2O (General Expectations)
Grade 11: Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada, NDA3M (General Expectations)
Grade 12: Aboriginal Governance: Emerging Directions NDG4M, Grade 12: Canada: History, Identity, and Culture CHI4U
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Kayak Discovery

A stimulating hands-on initiative task. Students work together to build an eight-foot skin-on-frame kayak, from a kit based on an Inuit watercraft in the Museum’s collection. Students learn about of kayak-building as a community task in traditional Inuit cultures where different members play distinct and crucial roles. Working collaboratively in small groups, the students problem-solve to discover the best building method for their group and project. This is a challenging program that promotes team-building and an understanding of Inuit cultures.
Please note: the kayaks the students build are not take-homes.
Grade 9-12 Visual Art AVI10,AV120,AVI3M,AVI4M and AVI4E General Expectations
Grade 9 Native Studies NAC10 Expressing Aboriginal Cultures
Grade 9-12 Canadian and World Studies
Grade 9-12 Business Studies (Problem Solving, Teamwork, Critical and Creative Thinking, Leadership, Strategic Planning)
Grade 12 Business Studies BOH4M, BOG4E
Grade 12 Health and Physical Education (Recreation and Fitness Leadership)
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Full-sized Paddle Carving

7.5 hrs, $80 (bass wood)
A one-day paddle-carving program for youth ages 15-18. Students carve a full-sized paddle to keep and use for years to come, using correct measurement techniques, spoke shaves, shave horses, calipers and palm sanders. Full-size paddle carving requires focus, perseverance and stamina — participants get a great deal of satisfaction from the tangible results of their hard work!
No time for full-size? We also have a 3-hour souvenir-size (24″) paddle-carving program for $15/student.
Grade 10-12 Arts (Developing Creativity, Communicating, Understanding Culture, Making Connections)
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Soapstone Carving

Hands-on experience of soapstone carving in the context of our Arctic Galleries and Inuit artifacts.
90-minute Soapstone Carving: carve from a 2×3″ block that is pre-shaped to most easily be worked into the mouse or bear sculptures, but which is very open to abstract and other ideas. $8.50 per participant
Three-hour Loon Carving: start with a “blank” made from a 4×6″ block and create a silky smooth sculpture in the iconic loon shape. $15/participant
Grade 9-12 Arts (Developing Creativity, Communicating, Understanding Culture, Making Connections)
Grade 9 Visual Arts AVI10 (A1, A3.1, C2.1)
Grade 9 Native Studies NAC10 Expressing Aboriginal Cultures
Grade 10 Visual Arts AVI20 (A1.2, A2.2.,A3.1,B2.1,B2.2,B2.3,C1.2)
Grade 10 Civics and Citizenship CHV20 (C2.1)
Grade 11 Visual Arts AVI3M (A3.1, A3.2, C2.1) AVI13O (A2.1, A3.1)
Grade 12 Visual Arts AVI14M (A3.2) AVI14E (A2.1)
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Watercolour Painting

An exploration of watercolour painting techniques. Our staff work with small groups of students to introduce watercolour techniques, and draw attention to the forms of artistic expression throughout the museum from different periods. Participants are then free to set up throughout the Museum’s galleries – wherever they find most inspiration – to complete one to two small paintings. At the end of the program, we gather to frame and celebrate the participants’ works.
Grade 9-12 (Developing Creativity, Communicating, Understanding Culture, Making Connections)
Grade 9 Visual Arts AVI10 (A1, A3.1, C2.1)
Grade 10 Visual Arts AVI20 (A1.2, A2.2,A3.1, B2.1, B2.2, B2.3, C1.2)
Grade 11 Visual Arts AV13M (A3.1,A3.2, C2.1), AVI13O (A2.1, A3.1
Grade 12 Visual Arts AVI14M (A3.2), AVI13E (A2.1)
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Voyageur Canoe

2 to 4 hours. Please inquire ([email protected]) about the cost for your class.
Take part in two learning-packed, hands-on programs: Voyageur Canoeing and Soapstone Carving. Students have the unique experience of paddling a 36-foot Montreal Canoe, a replica of a canoe used in Canada’s fur trade era. Through story, role play song and costume, students learn about Voyageur history and First Nations’ roles in the Fur Trade. Back on shore, students will explore the tradition of soapstone carving, carving their own soapstone pendant. On-water programming is staffed by ORCKA and NLS certified instructors. A copy of the Museum’s Risk Management Policy is available upon request. Optional: Watercolour painting or Kayak Discovery can be substituted for Soapstone Carving.
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Sleepover at the Museum!

6:00 p.m. – 8:30 a.m. Cost: $40*per student
*Food and drinks not included
This is the ultimate museum experience! Arrive just before 6 p.m. for an adventurous evening of learning, featuring any two programs from the list above. Option for an indoor campfire full of songs and stories, plus snack time. ‘Camping’ in the Museum’s Voyageur Encampment and/or Wigwam. Departure in the morning by 8:30 a.m. Or, add a morning program to further enrich your students’ Museum visit experience.