The Collection & Exhibits

Behind every canoe or kayak is a story waiting to be shared!

Discover their Stories

The Collection & Exhibits

Founded on the collection of the late Professor Kirk Wipper and established in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1997, The Canadian Canoe Museum’s one-of-a-kind collection has grown to more than 600 canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft that reflect the diversity of this country from coast to coast to coast.

Now housed in a facility with Class “A” Museum Environmental Control standards, the collection is the source of inspiration and stories that become incorporated into our exhibits, tours, and program!

The Collection

Rendering of the Collection Hall at the new museum

The World’s Largest Collection

The Canadian Canoe Museum stewards the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft, which includes:

  • 1000s of SMALL ARTIFACTS
  • 200+ linear feet of ARCHIVAL COLLECTION
  • 16,000+ TITLES
  • 450+ RARE BOOKS

In One New Building

Our new building with an integrated Collections Hall allows us to display the watercraft collection’s breadth to all our visitors!

The Collections Hall, featuring 20,000 square feet of integrated storage, offers an inspiring view through magnificent 23-foot high glass windows from the Atrium and Mezzanine. Be sure to stop and take in this expansive sight on your way up to the Exhibition Hall during your visit!

Learn more about this incredible collection, our curation process, and how donations support our ability to share diverse stories.

Trade bead, ornamented canoe from the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation (Yukon River).

The Collection

Explore the heart of the Museum – our collection! Learn how we care for and steward this world-class collection and honour its Indigenous origins and the cultural stories it holds.

Learn more
Canoes temporarily wrapped in protective plastic and of various sizes and colours line the racks of the Collection Hall in the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Donate an Artifact

Donate an artifact to The Canadian Canoe Museum and help us share the incredibly diverse stories and legacy of paddled watercraft.

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Cracked blue paint covers the stern of a wooden canoe in The Canadian Canoe Museum's collection.

Deaccessions & Repatriations

The collection is carefully curated to ensure alignment with our values and mission. Learn about the process for deaccessioning or repatriating artifacts.

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Rendering of Headwaters Exhibit aerial view

Stories of the Collection

Canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft can be linked to human, cultural, and historical experiences throughout all of time. These vessels serve as a lens to understand the world, reminding us that we are all connected by water.

The Canadian Canoe Museum is sharing these stories in new and engaging ways in our 20,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall with hands-on elements, immersive components, and collaborative content throughout.

Permanent Exhibits

The six permanent exhibits explore the following themes:

  1. Headwaters: Welcoming and orienting visitors to the Museum, this exhibit explores how the canoe connects us to the waters, land, each other, and ourselves.
  2. All My Relations: Paddled watercraft are found worldwide. From ancient traditions to contemporary perspectives, discover how canoes and kayaks foster strong and meaningful connections through shared experience, passion, and values.
  3. Connected By Canoe: Introduced to Europeans by Indigenous Peoples, the canoe has connected populations across this land for millennia. Learn how canoes have been central to trade, commerce, mapping North America, communication of ideas, and colonization.
  4. Living Traditions: Admire the diverse methods and traditions of canoe and kayak building while learning about different design and construction methods and how they reflect the culture, esthetics, and identity of builders.
  5. Pushing the Limits: Setting out on the water offers opportunities for adventure but also risk. Through stories of ambition, achievements, and difficult lessons, explore how these opportunities can push you to your full potential.
  6. Reflections: Leave inspired by how watercraft can be used as a tool for healing, linking knowledge across generations, and motivating us to take action to protect our communities and environments!

Temporary Exhibit: TBA!

The temporary exhibit space enables The Canadian Canoe Museum to develop and rotate exhibits, along with the opportunity to host travelling exhibits from other museums and cultural institutions.

Learn More about the Exhibits

Choose Your Adventure

Embark on a journey through The Canadian Canoe Museum’s galleries with our captivating Exhibition Tours! Whether you crave an in-depth exploration or a quick overview, our docents will guide you through the incredible stories and people behind the more than 100 watercraft on display!

Deep Dive Tours: Dive into the stories of the collection daily at 10:30 A.M. Book now for an immersive 1.5-hour experience at $20 per person.

Speedy Paddler Tours: Short on time? Join us daily at 1:00 P.M. for a complimentary 20-minute journey with the purchase of a general admissions ticket (first come, first served).

Learn More about Tours

An Algonquin birch bark canoe built by William and Mary Commanda of Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. (Photo Credit: Michael Cullen)

CCM Logo White

The Canadian Canoe Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on the Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory and the traditional territory covered by the Williams Treaties First Nations. The Canadian Canoe Museum also recognizes the contributions of Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, in shaping this community and country as a whole.

As an organization that stewards the world’s largest and most significant collection of canoes, kayaks & paddled watercraft, we will honour and share the cultural histories and stories within the collection in all that we do.

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2077 Ashburnham Dr
Peterborough, ON
K9L 1P8

Phone: 705-748-9153

Email: [email protected]


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Supported in part by:

Canadian Government logo
Weston Family Foundation logo
City of Peterborough logo
Peterborough County logo
Ontario Government logo