The 39′ Spirit Dancer made its way to us all the way from Clipper Canoes in Abbotsford, British Columbia. It had a stopover in Calgary and thanks to David Finch as well as McWilliams Moving & Storage here in Peterborough that helped portage it the rest of the way to the museum. Here, it will join our fleet of canoes used for tours and education events.
The original canoes would have been gouged out from an enormous cedar tree using tools such as adze, axes and carving knives which would have had blades of stone, bone, antler or mussel shells. Eventually iron versions of these tools would be used, and more recently power tools such as chainsaws. The Spirit Dancer, designed and lofted by Clipper’s canoe designer James van Nostrand uses far more traditional technologies and is made from fibreglass.
The Haida dugout would have served the function of travelling along the Northwest Coast and ours seats 16 to 18 paddlers. It is a meter and a half wide (very similar to traditional dugouts), and has a straight waterline that helps it weather waves and track smoothly.
Currently the Spirit Dancer is painted white, but it will be painted to resemble its roots as a dugout but stay tuned for an event this upcoming Spring where we will announce more!
Here are photos from Clipper Canoes of the original plug being made…