About The Canadian Canoe Museum
The Canadian Canoe Museum, located on the Traditional Territory of the Williams Treaties First Nations, in Peterborough, Ontario, has stewarded, for the last 25 years, the world’s largest and most significant collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. More than 600 in number, these watercraft and their stories have a pivotal role to play in understanding our past and our collective future.
As part of the Museum’s responsibility for this cultural asset of national significance (Senate of Canada, 2013), it is building a new 65,000-square-foot home that aspires to be as innovative as the canoe itself.
The future home of The Canadian Canoe Museum, set to open this winter, will invite visitors to walk in the front door of the Museum and paddle out the back with an array of outdoor programming on its new Lakefront Campus. Render by Lett Architects Inc, courtesy of The Canadian Canoe Museum.
About the New Museum
The new 65,000-square-foot museum and lakefront campus located on the Trent-Severn Waterway will not only care for the watercraft and share their stories, it will enable visitors and youth to experience the transformative nature of the canoe and enjoy the outdoors firsthand. The new facility on Little Lake (at 2077 Ashburnham Drive) will inspire the community and visitors to learn about Canada’s collective history and build connections to land, water and one another – all through the unique lens of the iconic canoe. Visitors will be able to walk through the front doors and paddle out the back!
For more information, visit canoemuseum.ca/new-museum
The new museum is made possible, in part, by The Canadian Canoe Museum’s lead donor and government partners, including the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Weston Family Foundation, the City of Peterborough, Peterborough County, and the Province of Ontario.
Quick facts about the new museum:
- An inspiring two-storey, 65,000-square-foot, purpose-driven facility
- A dramatic 20,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall featuring a brand-new suite of exhibits
- An integrated Collection Hall allowing for the display of 100% of the Museum’s watercraft in a Class “A” controlled museum environment
- A Lakefront Events & Education Centre with a sweeping view of the lake
- An accessible Library & Research Room with Class “A” archival storage
- An authentic Artisan Studio and Canoe-Building Studio to facilitate hands-on learning for youth and adults alike
- The Museum has hired Indigenous Peoples from 6 different communities to support language-related projects that will create content for new exhibits
- Opening winter 2024. Grand opening celebrations will be held the weekend of May 11th, 2024.
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Recent News Releases
Local historian and avid canoeist Shelagh Grant remembered with a $250,000 gift to the new Canadian Canoe Museum
The Canadian Canoe Museum’s new museum capital campaign has received a significant boost with a $250,000 gift from a local family.
The gift celebrates and honours the legacy of local historian, avid canoeist, and long-time friend of the Museum, Shelagh Grant, and the Grant family’s involvement in the Museum since its inception.
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.
Canadian Canoe Museum receives $750,000 to develop exhibits for new 20,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall
Canadian Canoe Museum receives a $750,000 investment from FedDev Ontario towards developing exhibits for the new museum’s 20,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall.
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New Museum Renderings
Graphics Credit: Lett Architects Inc., courtesy of The Canadian Canoe Museum.
Aerial Exterior of New Museum & Lakefront Campus
A major cultural and recreational destination between Toronto and Ottawa, the new museum will be located on the waterfront of Little Lake, in the heart of Peterborough, Ontario (2077 Ashburnham Drive).
The five-acre site of the new museum will provide stunning west-facing views of Little Lake, a connection to the Trans Canada Trail and will be surrounded by public parks. It will become a vibrant community space for outdoor activities and the Museum’s canoeing and outdoor programs and events.
The Canadian Canoe Museum’s unique curved façade and use of weathered steel make for an impressive view from the street.
The Canadian Canoe Museum makes an impression from the streetside. Its curving façade gently lifts to reveal the mass timber elements through large expanses of glazing. The building is clad in weathered steel panels, giving a warm quality to the Museum that suits its natural lakefront setting. The building’s impressive scale and unique design reinforce its status as a nationally significant museum.
From the entrance of the Museum looking south, visitors experience the impressive, curved façade of the building and get a glimpse of the large fireplace in the café lounge.
The Museum’s interior is a thoughtful blend of contemporary design and refined cottage sensibilities. The curved façade provides ample daylight into the space, and the swooping veil element adds interest and dynamism to the public atrium. The Museum features a large indoor/outdoor fireplace directly off the public café – the perfect spot to relax with a mug of hot chocolate after touring the Museum’s impressive world-class collection.
The public atrium of the Canadian Canoe Museum features soaring double-high ceilings and beautiful exposed mass timber elements as well as views into the Museum’s Collection Centre.
The entrance of the Canadian Canoe Museum features a soaring double-height atrium space with exposed mass timber elements and a beautiful wood ceiling. The atrium is the heart of the public space and contains the Museum’s reception area, retail zone, elevator, and the feature stairs to the exhibition hall on the second floor. From the atrium, the public is also offered access to the Artisan workshop to witness the art of canoe-making and restoration first-hand, as well as into the Museum’s collection storage center, where hundreds of watercraft rest on racking awaiting future exhibition.
The Collection Hall will house the majority of the collection, 500 canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft, and will enable the display of 100 per cent of the Museum’s collection onsite.
The integrated Collection Hall will be one of the most striking and impressive features of the new purpose-built facility. It will allow for the display of 100 per cent of the Museum’s watercraft in a Class “A” controlled museum environment, an artifact conservation standard. The Collection Hall will offer a signature experience and provide resources to all areas of the Museum, including its award-winning education and virtual learning programs and its outreach and public engagement initiatives. It will also provide a wealth of material for researchers and artisans working to preserve the art of canoe building and serve as inspiration for future Museum exhibitions. Visitors will be able to see into the Collection Hall from the main staircase.
The Exhibition Hall will feature 20,000 square feet of brand-new exhibits, showcasing design and ingenuity, how watercraft connect us to water, to ourselves and to each other. Guided by the canoes in the collection, the Museum is working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and communities to honour the cultural histories and stories within the collection.
Every canoe has a story to tell. These vessels serve as a lens to understand the world, reminding us that we are all connected by water. The Canadian Canoe Museum aims to share these stories in new and engaging ways and is developing a full suite of new exhibits in six thematic zones in which visitors will engage with stories from across the country and around the world. Visitors will also see and hear Indigenous languages and voices from the moment they enter the Museum, with the local Michi Saagig dialect of Anishnaabemowin used throughout the building and within its exhibits alongside English and French, with additional Indigenous languages featured in relation to specific watercraft.
The public terrace directly off the Museum’s café offers scenic lakefront views and a large fireplace for the public to enjoy.
Directly off the Museum’s café is a covered outdoor terrace where visitors can enjoy a beverage and a snack while taking in lakefront views. The terrace is also accessible from the Trans-Canada Trail to the west of the building, allowing the public to stop by for refreshments as they walk the local network of trails. This space features a large fireplace and comfortable seating, making it the perfect spot to relax as the sun sets over Little Lake.
After learning about the enduring significance of the canoe, visitors to the new museum will have the opportunity to experience the magic of the canoe and outdoors firsthand on the Lakefront Campus.
The new 65,000 square-foot museum and 5.3-acre Lakefront Campus on the Trent-Severn Waterway will not only care for the watercraft and chronicle their history, but it will also enable visitors to experience the magic of the canoe and the outdoors firsthand. The Lakefront Campus will feature a Gathering Circle, an accessible boardwalk to the Trans Canada Trail and waterfront, a Canoe House, a dock for voyageur canoe tours, a large dock for teaching and canoe and kayak rentals, an accessible canoe and kayak launch, and a walk-in canoe launch.
New Museum & Lakefront Campus Sitemap
The future home of The Canadian Canoe Museum, set to open later this winter, will invite visitors to walk in the front door of the Museum and paddle out the back with an array of outdoor programming on its new Lakefront Campus. Illustration by Basterfield & Associates Ltd.
A conceptual illustration of the Lakefront Campus and Gathering Circle. The new 65,000 square-foot museum and 5.3-acre Lakefront Campus on the Trent-Severn Waterway will not only care for the watercraft and chronicle their history, but it will also enable visitors to experience the magic of the canoe and the outdoors firsthand. The Lakefront Campus will feature a Gathering Circle, an accessible boardwalk to the Trans Canada Trail and waterfront, a Canoe House, a dock for voyageur canoe tours, a large dock for teaching and canoe and kayak rentals, an accessible canoe and kayak launch, and a walk-in canoe launch. Illustration by Basterfield & Associates Ltd.