Neil Broadfoot painting a mural at The Canadian Canoe Museum
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing early Sunday morning, July 19th, 2020 of Neil Broadfoot, artist, musician, and long-time booster of the Canadian Canoe Museum. Born on Christmas Day in 1937, he was 82 years old. Neil built an affection for the museum’s collection and its founder as a staff member at Kirk Wipper’s Camp Kandalore in the 1950s and 60s and he brought that enthusiasm to the museum as it was being established at 910 Monaghan Road. With his wife, Marg, Neil gave freely of his time and artistic expertise to help in the building of the museum.
Neil’s work as Artist-in-Residence from 1998-2005 will perhaps be how he will be most fondly remembered at the museum. Neil had canoes in his soul. When it came time to help his friend author Richard Pope illustrate two books, particularly Pope’s fur trade narrative called Superior Illusions, Neil brought together his love of boreal landscape, northern rivers and canoes, and produced a memorable series of images, one of which ended up in mural form inside the museum. As well, Neil’s distinctive watercolour renderings of various permutations and combinations of ideas and architectural drawings over the years also helped many people with imagining what the new exhibits or the museum itself could look like – either on-site at Monaghan Road or at the proposed new site at the Peterborough Lift Lock.
Neil also kept the Camp Kandalore flame aflicker inside the museum, hosting many camp alumni through the years, proudly introducing them to the wonderful things that had happened to Kirk Wipper’s canoes after their move to Peterborough, but also using the museum as a focus and venue for a couple of Kandalore reunions, organized by Neil. Through these camp connections combined with 34 years of teaching at Crestwood High School, the Buckhorn School of Art and Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art and Design, and the substantial following of people who fell in love with his art at galleries throughout the Kawarthas, Neil had a network of friends and fans, near and far, to whom he unfailingly promoted the museum as an important cultural and educational institution in the city, county, province and country.
Neil’s work was recognized with his induction into the Peterborough’s Pathway of Fame in 2012. His contribution to the community in general and to the museum, in particular, will be sorely missed. A future celebration of life will be announced when conditions permit.
You can view Neil’s official obituary and leave condolences at https://www.highlandparkfuneralcentre.com/obituary/Neil-Broadfoot