Adopt an Artifact

Adopting a canoe or paddle from the museum’s collection is a unique opportunity. While you won’t be able to take the canoe to the cottage (it will remain as part of the museum’s collection), as part of this program, you can create a personal connection with an artifact that resonates with you.

Simply choose from one of five annual giving levels, starting at $50, for this symbolic adoption and you will be supporting the ongoing care and preservation of these extraordinary artifacts.

About the Program
When you adopt a canoe, your name will be showcased on a label on the artifact in the museum’s galleries for all to see. Prefer to remain anonymous? You can do that too. This meaningful initiative also makes a great gift or memorial tribute. Adoption rates are for one year at a time and based on the type of canoe or paddle you choose.

Please see the following list for giving levels and an example of what is available in each category or visit The Museum’s Store to view a wider selection. There’s much more to choose from, so please contact Kate Kennington for further information, 705-748-9153 ext. 220, or via [email protected].


Level I – $180 | $15 per month

Bark Canoe
Length: 4.45 metres (14 feet 7 inches)
Beam: 81 centimetres (2 feet 8 inches)
Accession No: 977.47
Builder and date unknown

The distinctive bow shape of this craft is sometimes described as a “sturgeon nose” canoe for its sloped, pointed ends. These canoes were used primarily by the Ktunaxa or Kootenay people on the rivers and lakes of southern British Columbia and western Montana. The hull is constructed of coniferous bark with narrow sections of birch bark running beneath the gunwales. Thin strips of alder bark have been used for the lashings. The Ktunaxa canoe also resembles bark canoes made in the Amur River region of Siberia and the unique shape of the end likely improves the dynamics of the craft and compensates for the limitations inherent with coniferous tree bark.

Level II – $350 | $29 per month

Dugout Canoe
Length: 11.13 metres (36 feet 6 inches)
Beam: 84 centimetres (2 feet 9 inches)
Accession No: 980.130
Builder and date unknown

This is a dugout cedar “spoon canoe” used by the Nuxalk who live primarily in villages along the rivers and tributaries of the Bella Coola River Valley, the South Bentinck Arm, the Dean Channel and Kwatna Inlet of Coastal British.

Nuxalk communities were located along rivers to gain access to the abundant resources there. An important staple is the Ooligan, a smelt-like fish caught by the thousands and processed into a grease through rendering. Ooligan grease was also a valuable trade item and coveted by traders from the interior.

The Nuxalk spoon canoe has a distinctive upturned bow and is bluntly rounded at the waterline. These canoes are also exceptionally sturdy and stable and suited for poling while standing or for work on the river.

Level III –  $700 | $58 per month

Birch Bark Canoe
Length: 4.06 metres (13 feet 4 inches)
Beam: 68.5 centimetres (2 feet 3 inches)
Accession No: 977.49
Builder unknown, ca. 1917

This is a Sahtú Dene-style hunting and trapping canoe built near Tulita (formerly Fort Norman), NWT, at the confluence of the Great Bear River and the Mackenzie River. A characteristic construction detail of these lightly-built canoes is its open framework of thin battens spaced longitudinally inside the canoe and held in place by the pressure of the ribs against the bark cover. Bark canoes of this northern type have often been described as kayak-form canoes by outsiders for a slight resemblance to Inuit kayaks.


Level IV – $1,500 | $125 per month

Longitudinal-Strip Freight Canoe – Klondike model
Length: 6.15 metres (20 feet 2 inches)
Beam: 1.23 metres (4 feet 1 inch)
Accession No: 999.40.1
Lakefield Canoe Company, ca. 1920

This canoe is from the collection of the late George M. Douglas of Lakefield, Ontario. Freight canoes of all-wood construction in this size are less common. Beneath the yellowed varnish, much of the planking on this canoe appears to be made from a soft hardwood, possibly Basswood. This unusual feature might have been a special request in anticipation of hard use.  Originally equipped with steel oarlocks, sailing rig, compass, rudder and brackets for a canvas cover, the canoe displays characteristics of a craft built and used for heavy work in explorations and surveys. Later the canoe was fitted with more modern equipment including additional chrome-plated oarlocks, an outboard motor bracket, and running lights. The large yellow floor-boards were also added to the craft. They are marked in contrast to the painted blue interior, which was originally varnished.

Level V – $3,000 | $250 per month

Dugout Canoe
Length: 11.99 metres (39 feet 4 inches)
Beam: 1.61 metres (5 feet 3.5 inches)
Accession No: 977.187
Builder unknown, ca. 1900

This style of canoe is Nuu-chah-nulth from the area of Fort Rupert, Vancouver Island, B.C. It is of Kwakwaka’wakw origin and of a style used by many cultures along the West Coast. The hull is hewn from a massive red cedar log with the bow and stern attached as separate pieces. The flared sides of a canoe of this size was achieved by steaming and spreading the carved canoe using water and heated rocks. This particular vessel is an example of a canoe used to hunt finback and grey whales in coastal waters. Typically it might have carried more 6 paddlers, a steersman and a harpooner. Often canoes of the West Coast were painted with intricate and expressive art. The faint image painted along the canoe’s bow is that of an Orca.

Paddles in collection storage.Adopt a Paddle

For an annual contribution of $50, you can symbolically adopt one of our many paddles that are currently on display throughout the museum galleries. Please contact Kate Kennington for further information, 705-748-9153 ext. 220, or via [email protected].