As the Canadian Canoe Museum’s role, and its reach, continue to expand locally as well as nationally, it’s made possible by members and volunteers, partners and financial supporters.

The contributions of many were highlighted as part of a 2018 year in review at the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 24. Two new board members, Meredith Brown, and Brian Groves, were welcomed to the organization.

“Our relationships are the foundation of everything we do; and The Canadian Canoe Museum continues to be built by its supporters,” says Carolyn Hyslop, Executive Director. “It’s in our DNA. Twenty-one years ago, the museum opened thanks to a corps of steadfast supporters to showcase the Kanawa International Museum Collection amassed by the late Professor Kirk Wipper. The way the organization began, has, over the course of two decades, become its lasting legacy. Ours is an organization propelled by people.”

Hyslop and John Ronson, Chair, Board of Directors, shared the museum’s work in support of its four strategic directions as the organization strives to lead locally; lead nationally; learn from Indigenous Peoples; and build a strong sustainable future.They also shared the 2018 Year In Review with attendees, which features the year’s highlights.

Ronson provided an update on the architectural design and the exhibit design for the new museum, while Robin Binèsi Cavanagh, Director of Indigenous Peoples Collaborative Relations, hired in 2018, provided an overview of how the organization is working to broaden and deepen reciprocal relations with First Peoples, Métis and Inuit.

“The museum’s move to the water’s edge, and all of the support this once-in-a-lifetime journey requires, sees us drawing upon past connections and creating new ones – all the while strengthening the organization today, and for the future,” says Ronson.

Ronson told the AGM that over the next six months, the museum will be working to complete components of the planning process.

“Between now and the fall, we will be working as a board, committees and staff, and with our partners and supporters, to ensure that these components come together and are aligned. After three years, we are at an incredibly exciting leg of the journey – on our way to the water’s edge. As always, we are grateful to all those who are propelling us forward,” says Ronson.

Welcoming new board members

Meredith Brown, a champion for freshwater protection, is widely known throughout the vast Ottawa River Watershed as the founding Riverkeeper and former leader of the charitable organization Ottawa Riverkeeper, a licensed member of Waterkeeper Alliance.

Meredith holds degrees in biology, environmental engineering and resource and environmental management. Meredith is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and was awarded the Nature Inspiration Award from the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Over 15 years as a Riverkeeper, Meredith significantly raised the profile of the Ottawa River and brought together community organizations, municipal, provincial, federal governments, First Nation leaders, industry and civil society to work collaboratively to protect and restore the ecological health and resilience of the watershed. Under Meredith’s leadership, Ottawa Riverkeeper brought annual paddling events back to the Ottawa River, created a large network of dedicated citizen scientists and was a founding affiliate of the Waterkeeper Swim Guide.

Connecting Canadians to their local lakes, rivers and oceans is Meredith’s passion and she is continuing her work in this field through several exciting projects, always with a focus on water protection and restoration.

Brian Groves is an avid paddler and outdoor enthusiast originally from Temagami, Ontario, who lives in Whitehorse, Yukon. He is a graduate of both Trent University and Fleming College and had his first job in the museum sector welcoming visitors to the Kanawa Canoe Museum – Temagami Collection. He has been working in the museum and heritage sector for close to 20 years.

Brian is currently the Manager, Museums and Heritage for the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon. He is responsible for managing a broad range of programs and technical services in support of Yukon museums, interpretive centres and First Nation cultural/heritage centres and oversees the management Yukon’s archaeology, palaeontology and place names programs.

Brian has served on the executive of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, including as President from 2014 to 2016. Brian has worked with other cultural heritage institutions, including the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre as Manager.