It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of long time Canadian Canoe Museum friend, board member and donor, Michael Davies.
Michael’s association with the museum began in 2007, when he spearheaded the initiative to acquire and repatriate to Canada an exquisite canoe made of pure silver that belonged to scurrilous Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Sir George Simpson. Michael learned about the existence of this prize artifact on a shooting holiday at The Glen in Scotland and, when he realized the beauty and significance of this piece, his enthusiasm for the project brought together a small team of donors together to purchase the silver canoe for the Canoe Museum. But, Michael being Michael, the consummate host, he then decided that the silver canoe should be welcomed to Canada with dinners in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Banff and, finally, in Peterborough. Michael’s belief in the canoe’s central place in the historiography of Canada and his resolute undertaking to treat the Canadian Canoe Museum as the keeper of an essential part of Canada’s evolving story, was an inspiration to everyone associated with the museum.
His decisive actions along with his written and spoken contributions to Canoe Museum projects and discussions always elevated the discourse, reminding everyone of the value in Canada’s rich and diverse canoe heritage but also in the value of time, energy and money spent in pursuit of big dreams in a small museum. He will be missed but his legacy will continue to effervesce into the lives of anyone who beholds the silver canoe in its special exhibit case at the museum. And we will all think of Michael as museum staff and friends across the country seek to organize a series of fund and friend-raising dinners across the country in 2016, planned around the silver canoe, which will again travel to each of these events.