Don Duncan canes a canoe seat while sitting in the galleries of The Canadian Canoe Museum. (2015).

It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of a member of our community, Don Duncan, who passed away on March 18, 2023. Don was a dedicated and passionate volunteer who selflessly devoted countless hours to the Museum’s woodshop, Artisan Workshops, and special events over the past 19 years.

Don’s love for woodworking first brought him to The Canadian Canoe Museum when he volunteered to build kitchen cabinets in the Education Centre in 2004. From there, he quickly became a valuable member of our tight-knit weekly woodshop team and contributed to numerous projects over the years. Don’s handiwork could be found throughout the entire Museum, from making workbenches and canoe slings to artifact mounts and display cases, cutting out small parts for educational programs, or re-wiring a phonograph for a temporary exhibit.

One of Don’s greatest contributions to the Museum was his work teaching paddle carving workshops. For years, he generously shared his knowledge and expertise with participants, helping them develop their skills and create beautiful paddles. His patient and approachable nature made him a great teacher, and he will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of learning from him.

Don’s warm and friendly personality also made him a natural ambassador for the Museum at special events and trade shows. He loved demonstrating paddle carving and talking to people about the Museum, always eager to help kids try their hand at carving and inspire a love for woodworking.

We are grateful for the many years Don spent volunteering at the Museum and his immense impact on our community. His dedication and passion will continue to inspire us, and we will always remember him fondly.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Don’s wife, Mary, and his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time. Rest in peace, Don, and thank you for everything you did for us.

A celebration of life for Don Duncan will be held at HIGHLAND PARK FUNERAL CENTRE, 2510 Bensfort Rd. Peterborough, on Friday, March 31, 2023, from 2:00–4:00 PM. Online condolences may be made at

Woodshop volunteers dressed as voyageurs standing together in the Living Traditions workshop at The Canadian Canoe Museum during the Beaver Club Gala. From left to right: Peter Knapp, Don Duncan, Barry Diceman, and Randy Crawford.