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2019 has been a busy year at The Canadian Canoe Museum.

Our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and our new museum project partners have been working hard to ensure that we are in the best possible position to share our one-of-a-kind collection and all that it inspires, well into the future.

Planning and fundraising for the new museum have continued with increasing momentum and we’re pleased to provide you with updates on a few fronts.

Building Collaborative Relations & Exhibit Design 

Some of our recent capital campaign advertising has featured the headline “Every canoe tells a story.” With more than 600 canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft in our collection, there are countless stories to be told – stories that have a pivotal role to play in understanding our past – and our collective future. But right now, our ability to care for the collection, showcase and share, is limited. We are continually pushing against the limitations of our 1960s-era factory buildings. As stewards of this cultural asset of national significance (Senate of Canada, 2013), we are building it a new home that aspires to be as innovative as the canoe itself. 
 
The new museum will be much more than an approximately 85,000 square-foot facility. The building is stunning – its architecture, award-winning. Its visionary design and 1.5-acre green roof will stand alone as a draw. And this past year, as we began to build the foundation for the development of a whole new suite of exhibits, we became even more aware of the opportunity – and the responsibility – before us. 
 
As we work to develop these exhibits and in essence, a whole new visitor experience, we will honour the cultural histories and stories within the collection. To do so in the best way possible, we have been working to broaden and deepen our collaborative relations with First Nations, Métis and Inuit close to home and from coast to coast to coast. 
 
 
“I look forward to helping facilitate a space where learning and collaborative expression can take place between the museum and Indigenous communities nationwide. An aspiration that sees communities as the experts, with people telling their stories in their own languages and voices.” 
 
ROBIN BINÈSI CAVANAGH, Director of Indigenous Peoples’ Collaborative Relations

During this summer’s trip to the east coast, Vernon Doucette, Collections Committee member; Todd Labrador, Mi’kmaq Master Canoe Builder; Todd’s granddaughter Nakuset and his grandson Tepkunaset; and Robin Binèsi Cavanagh, Director of Indigenous Peoples’ Collaborative Relations, in the Canoe-Building Shop at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.
This important work, even in its early stages, has informed the new museum project in the most meaningful ways. We are listening and learning more intensely than we once could have imagined, and the relationships that are being built and fostered are setting the stage for every facet of the future of the museum. As part of a cross-country tour that began this summer, we have already visited more than 20 communities on the east and west coasts, and in the far north. The canoes in the collection are guiding the journey, and we thank all those who have spent time with us. While we have much more work to do, it’s been an inspiring start. To read more about our journey, visit canoemuseum.ca/collaborative-relations
On the east coast this summer, Jeremy Ward, Curator, and Fred Metallic, Director of Natural Resources, Listuguj First Nation, in conversation along the shore of the Restigouche River.

Capital Campaign Update

Meanwhile, we have also been fund raising. We’ve made several significant announcements this year, and we are well on our way. On behalf of Capital Campaign Chair Bill Morris and the campaign cabinet, we’re thrilled to share that more than $45 million has been committed as part of our $65 million capital campaign. Leadership donors from across the country continue to demonstrate their support for the project and we are pleased to share that combined with municipal, provincial and federal investments, we are close to reaching 70 per cent of our goal.
 
On the horizon will be the public phase of the campaign, which will give all of our community members – locally, regionally and across the country – an opportunity to support the project.

Architectural Design & Construction

As a team of board and staff members, volunteers, architects, engineers, expert advisors and cost consultants, we’re working to ensure that every square foot of the building is designed for functionality, sustainability and collections care.
 
We are also in the final stages of planning for construction, and determining the timeline is an important part of that process. At this time, we are working toward ground breaking next fall. In the year ahead, we will ensure that we are in the best possible position to begin construction. For the remainder of 2019 and into 2020, we will be focusing on preparing for construction, continuing to build collaborative relations across the country, and furthering our capital campaign.

Thank You

Last but certainly not least, none of this work would be possible without our supporters. Countless individuals from across the country are working to bring this new museum to life one contribution at a time. To those near and far, we thank you. And if you would like to get involved in any way, please do let us know. We would be thrilled to hear from you.
 
Sincerely,
 
John Ronson, Chair, Board of Directors, [email protected] 
Carolyn Hyslop, Executive Director, [email protected]