For weeks, the weekend Museum volunteers have had to suffer through my excited babbling about my weekend getaway and now they have many stories to look ‘forward to’ come Saturday…but till then I’ll bore our readers!Having been at the Museum non-stop for the last few months it was very odd not to be working last weekend, having over a week without walking throughout the galleries. I didn’t know what to do with my time, but thankfully I had a pretty fun distraction…


Friends and I had been planning our winter get away for months—finally the day was here…my car was cleaned out (for the first time in forever) and the bumper was dragging with all our gear.

I put aside my schoolbooks and strapped on my snowshoes! Both thoughts of the Museum and university were pushed out of my head as soon as we got out of the city. With perfect weather, amazing company and serene views, the four of us settled in for a relaxing stay at a homestead north of Minden.

View of the wee cabin from the bush, across the meadow.

First thing in the morning we headed for the trails. I was taken aback by my surroundings as we trekked up the ridge. The cool breeze, stands of pine and endless bush off in the distance left us speechless…well some of us anyway…due to the pure joy of being out in the wilderness Dylan was compelled to song and belted out ‘The Land of the Silver Birch’. We didn’t skip a beat and sang along…me just mumbling because I didn’t quite know the words. You see, the first time I had heard this little ditty was during an Education Program at the Museum a week prior…

In Canoe Senses students learn the song, but have to switch up some of the verses with words with the same syllables. I told my friends of the many silly versions we made up during the program and of course, being 7 year olds at heart, we proceeded to sing about, ‘the land of the silver prune and home of the kettle…’.

Up on the ridge...and op, there is even a few birch trees to our right I think?

Thoughts of the Museum didn’t end there as we headed back to the house for a much-needed snack and break by the fire. While my friends played cards, I lazily perused the book selection and was quite excited to find a copy of Susanna Moodie’s Roughing it in the Bush. I flipped through, reading some of my favourite passages and was taken back to last summer when I explored the history of the Strickland family and their connection to canoe history in Lakefield.

The 15 ft. Cedar Strip, Strickland and Co.

After flipping through Roughing It I really wanted to have a log cabin in the woods all of my day!!

That evening, exhausted from all the fresh air I pulled back the covers to find a hidden gem! Yet again the Museum came to mind as I searched for the label of the Hudson Bay blanket underneath the hand-made quilt…hoping that their wasn’t any French on the label to show that it was indeed an old blanket, made before language laws were put into place.

Ipe's beautiful handmade vest. Note the label!

The rest of the weekend was nothing less than a memorable experience. Building a colossal snow fort that looked a wee bit like an igloo, snowshoeing for hours and sipping coffee by the fire while having life chats are just some of the key moments. I was sad to leave the homestead. Our vacation came to a close Sunday evening and we were thrust back to the reality of school and work.

Our three foot tall snow block fort. From left to right: Myself (Jack), Madeline, Leah and Dylan.

So even out in the bush on a winter vacation, I can’t seem to shake the Museum and I have absolutely no complaints!! It just goes to show just how memorable and influential The Canadian Canoe Museum truly is.

We want to go back in the summer to canoe Mountain Lake and explore Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park. I have absolutely no doubt that volunteers/staff will hear of my new adventures…maybe I will finally have a chance to put my ‘canoe senses’ to good use in open water and not just playing around in the rocker canoe!

The good old rocker canoe in A Walk With Kirk