This is one of the most exciting things to happen in quite a while. The Ontario Government has decided to promote the province as a tourist destination with their “Canadian Canoe Culture” campaign.

A group of paddlers and people involved in the tourism industry met at the Canadian Canoe Museum last spring and noodled that idea around, coming up with the idea of celebrating “ordinary heroes” and the various ways in which the canoe can and does promote a host of wonderful human values and outcomes.

We settled on five of those uses or outcomes around which to build the campaign. Steve Bruno from Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership commissioned filmmaker extraordinaire, Goh Iromoto to shoot five stories:

1) A couple chasing the Group of Seven in Algonquin Park

2) A young olympic hopeful training on the Madawaska River

3) A new Canadian exploring Canada through the canoe

4) A family keeping connected through shared paddling trips in Quetico

5) An amazing woman in the Lakehead who is teaching Ojibway youth about who they are through the building of bark canoes.

As this film trailer shows, the results are amazing. The hope is that all the full spectrum of tourism operators from wineries, to outfitters, accommodations, restaurants, lodges, boat rental facilities, etc. etc. will get behind the idea to join this campaign to promote their products and businesses under the Canadian Canoe Culture banner.

You’re going to hear a lot more about this in the weeks and months to come but I can tell you that the Canadian Canoe Museum is very excited about this, not only because it will get more people out canoeing but because we think more people getting into and/or involved with canoeing will make Ontario (and Canada) stronger, healthier, happier and more united as we head into this Sesquicentennial year.

Check out the trailer! You’ll recognize some of the people, perhaps, as well as some of the places, including the Museum’s collection storage! The full feature film will launch in February at the Reel Paddling Film Festival in Toronto.

The Canoe by Goh Iromoto on Vimeo