Adventure Canada and Wilderness Canoe Association Extend Museum’s Reach

The 2015 Kirk Wipper Lecture by Chief Mi’sel Joe from Miawpukek First Nation in Newfoundland was stirring for those who were able to hear his address in person. 

The story of a canoe—an uplifting birch bark building project followed by an epic journey across the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia—as an integral part of a Mi’kmaq community reinventing itself was proof that the idea of canoe-as-inspiration is as relevant now as it ever was.  

You can pick up a copy of Chief Joe’s book Mi’sel Joe: An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey by visiting the Museum’s store.

As significant as Chief Joe’s story was, and is, within the national framework of First Nation renewal and reconciliation, the context of this year’s Wipper Lecture signals an equally important shift in the evolutionary arc of The Canadian Canoe Museum as well. That shift is toward partnership, as a mechanism for extending the reach of the Museum and exploring new ways to connect with people who might not otherwise find their way to the Museum or our website.  In this instance, Chief Joe’s visit was made possible through key partnerships with the Wilderness Canoe Association (WCA) and Adventure Canada:


Wilderness Canoe Association

Building on the creation of the George Luste Lecture and the membership exchange offer we negotiated with the WCA a couple of years ago, the Museum brought the idea of combining Chief Joe’s activities in Peterborough with an appearance at the 2015 Wilderness Canoe Symposium in Toronto in February.  So when Chief Joe arrived in Ontario, he went first to the Wilderness Canoe Symposium where he was one of the featured speakers on the Friday night program.  Funds from the Wilderness Canoe Association covered part of Chief Joe’s travel and accommodation in Toronto and allowed his message to be heard by a large and appreciative audience at Monarch Park High School Auditorium before being heard at the Museum later that week.


Adventure Canada

Chief Joe’s visit also saw the beginning of what we hope will be a long and productive partnership with our friends at Adventure Canada, a family-owned Canadian expedition company, based in Mississauga. Chief Joe’s story first came to the Museum through long-time members and supporters, Richard and Felicity Pope, who visited Miawpukek on Bay d’Espoir as part of a Newfoundland circumnavigation itinerary with Adventure Canada.


The Popes brought not only the remarkable story of Miawpukek to the attention of Museum staffers but they also made us aware of Adventure Canada’s Discovery Fund, which is dedicated to building ties between the northern peoples and the rest of Canada.  We applied to Adventure Canada’s Discovery Fund for funds to support a multi-stop Ontario itinerary for Chief Joe, along with resources from the Museum and the WCA brought the whole Chief Joe visit idea to life. 

As Chief Joe and the good people of Miawpukek plan for more bark canoe building and a possible canoe journey to Peterborough, perhaps in conjunction with Canada’s Sesquicentennial in 2017 (more on this in the months to come), we continue to talk with our friends at the WCA and Adventure Canada about future projects. 

“Adventure Canada is delighted to support the work of the Canadian Canoe Museum as a Corporate member. We are particularly thrilled to have launched our partnership by bringing Chief Mi’sel Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation to deliver the Museum’s annual Wipper Lecture in February 2015. 

Canoes and kayaks are of prime importance in the history and culture of Canada. Even today, our communities remain linked by essential waterways, while for First Peoples, these ancient watercraft are a link to living traditions.

Adventure Canada is dedicated to working with Inuit and First Nations communities to foster sustainable tourism and offer opportunities for cultural enrichment and exchange. 

We applaud the efforts of the Canadian Canoe Museum to preserve and protect iconic Canadian watercraft and the stories they carry. 

In our 26 years of travel to Canada’s remote wilderness regions, Adventure Canada has built relationships with individuals and communities in which canoes and kayaks have played a pivotal historic role. We are excited to be working with the Canadian Canoe Museum, to help bring their stories to a wider audience, just as we did with Chief Joe.

We are pleased to direct our $250 Discovery Fee from every Adventure Canada trip purchased through the Canadian Canoe Museum toward these worthy endeavours.” – Cedar Swan, CEO of Adventure Canada

We encourage those who support the Museum to also support those who support us. To learn more head to Adventure Canada and also sign up for their informative newsletter. To learn more about the Wilderness Canoe Association (WCA) and Wilderness Canoe Symposium visit Should you wish to contribute to the Kirk Wipper Legacy Fund or mark and remember the recent passing of the Founder of the Wilderness Canoe Symposium with a donation to the George Luste Lectureship, donations can be made through the Museum’s website or by calling the Museum at 705.748.9153 (toll free 866.342.2663).

Finally, with such resonance between adventuring spirit of the Museum supporters and the expedition options offered by Adventure Canada, just visiting and travelling vicariously through Adventure Canada’s interactive website will get the exploration juices flowing (along with Margaret Atwood; Culturalist Susie Evyagotailak; Historian Ken McGoogan and others; the Museum’s own James Raffan will be a resource person on the Out of the Northwest Passage expedition in September 2015). And, should you decide to book a trip, Adventure Canada will donate $250 back to the Museum in appreciation of business growing out of this new partnership.