Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. (Photo by Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall © OSGG-BSGG, 2021)
The Canadian Canoe Museum (CCM) is honoured to announce that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, has granted Viceregal Patronage to the Museum. The granting of viceregal patronage is a long-standing tradition, with governors general granting support through patronage to recognize exceptional contributions to Canadian society. Her Excellency was sworn in on July 26, 2021, as Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General and has focused her efforts on reconciliation.
The Canadian Canoe Museum, located on the Traditional Territory of the Williams Treaties First Nations in Peterborough, Ontario, stewards the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft. The CCM is currently building the collection, declared a cultural asset of national significance by the Senate, a new home on the waterfront of Little Lake in Peterborough.
As part of the exhibit design and development process, the Museum has invited Indigenous peoples to share their stories in their own voices. The CCM is reconnecting the watercraft to their Indigenous communities of origin, and has developed a collaborative relations process to work together to care for the canoes and share the cultural histories and stories held within the collection.
Indigenous peoples around the world designed, built, and used the first canoes and kayaks. These vessels retain their enduring connection to Indigenous cultures across Canada and are powerful living embodiments of knowledge, languages, and beliefs. Through the collaborative relations process, we are working with communities to share these stories, perspectives, languages, and voices throughout the new exhibits and museum.
“We believe that as sites of cultural and historical preservation, museums play a key role in shaping our understanding of our past and collective future,” shares executive director Carolyn Hyslop. “Indigenous peoples around the world designed, built, and used the first canoes and kayaks. These vessels retain their enduring connection to Indigenous cultures across Canada and are powerful living embodiments of knowledge, languages, and beliefs. Through the collaborative relations process, we are working with communities to share these stories, perspectives, languages, and voices throughout the new exhibits and museum.”
An example of this commitment, exterior and interior signage in the new museum will be trilingual, featuring English, Michi Saagiig Anishnaabemowin (the local Anishnaabemowin dialect), and French. Additional Indigenous languages will also be featured in exhibits relating to specific watercraft.
The CCM has also commissioned new canoe and kayak builds from Inuit and First Nations communities and builders. These commissions will fill gaps in the Museum’s collection, allowing for a greater diversity of stories to be shared, and traditional knowledge to be preserved and passed down to younger generations.
The new museum, expected to open summer of 2023, will feature an accessible Collection Hall displaying 100 percent of the Museum’s collection; a 20,000 square-foot Exhibition Hall with brand-new exhibits; a Lakefront Events and Education Centre; an Artisan and Canoe-building Studio to facilitate hands-on learning and DIY workshops; a Library and Research Room that will allow for the recording of oral stories; a Lakefront Canoe House and dock for on-water and outdoor education programming, and more.
Victoria Grant, Teme-Augama Anishnabai Qway, and chair of the CCM’s Board of Directors reflects on the importance of the canoe to the reconciliation process, “At this time in Canada, we are beginning a process for Truth and Reconciliation. Together, we need to learn, understand and acknowledge our shared history. We can’t do that without first knowing and understanding the impact of the canoe in Canada’s story, from those very early times when the first visitors came to our shores. The Canadian Canoe Museum provides us with an opportunity to learn, to feel, to smell, and to see the canoe in its diversity and endurance.”
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About The Canadian Canoe Museum
With a world-class collection as a catalyst, The Canadian Canoe Museum inspires connection, curiosity and new understanding. In partnership with individuals, groups and communities – locally, provincially and nationally – we work to experience and explore all that our collection can inspire. This sees students opening their minds in our galleries; community members connecting through artisanry; people of all ages getting on the water and learning to paddle; and exhibitions and events that spark conversation and collaboration.
About the New Museum
The Canadian Canoe Museum is creating a new cultural destination that will inspire visitors to learn about Canada’s collective history and reinforce our connections to land, water and one another – all through the unique lens of the iconic canoe. Located on a five-acre site at the Little Lake waterfront in Peterborough, the Museum’s new home is expected to open in the summer of 2023. Learn more at canoemuseum.ca/new-museum.