If you’ve driven or wandered by the Museum these past few days, you may have witnessed some of the damage we sustained during the severe thunderstorm that affected Peterborough and the surrounding areas last Saturday, May 21st – the large spruce trees on our front lawn, uprooted and leaning; our colourful, welcome signage ripped clear off the building or left dangling; and roof and fascia debris strewn all over the parking lot.

Unfortunately, what is visible from the road is just the surface of the damage. In addition to the loss of power, the Museum and Collections Centre was significantly affected by the storm. The roof of the main Museum building suffered the worst of it, with the wind tearing up large swaths of it, lifting some of it right off and blowing it into the parking lot below. Without a membrane and roof drains, rain and moisture entered the galleries, soaking and affecting a few different areas. In the Collection Centre, which houses the majority of our treasured collection, many windows were damaged or blown out by the strong winds, leaving a wake of glass and debris in and around our canoes and kayaks.

The good news is that no staff, visitors, volunteers, canoes, kayaks, or artifacts were injured or damaged during this event. And for that, we are incredibly grateful.

Thankfully, there wasn’t any serious damage to our new museum construction site on Ashburnham Drive, aside from a crumpled fence (which has since been restored). However, we lost many of our beloved trees to the winds, and there are many fallen trees and large branches on the property and along the Trans Canada Trail. Our team has done a preliminary sweep to take care of the trees that will impact the public’s use of the trail, and once more of the higher priority areas of the city and county are dealt with by our arborists, we will have our trees safely removed.

Sadly, at this time, we cannot offer a safe or positive visitor experience at the Museum. To ensure enough time for disaster response, emergency repairs, cleaning, and restoring the galleries, the Museum will temporarily remain closed until Saturday, June 4th, reopening at 10 a.m. with our summer operating hours in effect (Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Any pre-purchased tickets for May 22nd through to June 3rd will be refunded.

Just as we’ve done time and time again these past few years, we must pull together. We’ve been astonished at the incredible teamwork we’ve witnessed in our own museum’s first responders. And we’re sure that if you have experienced this storm or a similar event, you have your own stories of how your neighbours and community banded together to support one another.

We look forward to welcoming you back into the Museum very soon – especially as it is our last summer at our current location here at 910 Monaghan Road (your last chance to visit is Labour Day).

Lastly, if you would like to support The Canadian Canoe Museum during this challenging time, please consider donating to our Operating Fund – which funds the day-to-day operations of the Museum and necessary repairs.

We hope you are all safe and sound, and we will see you again on June 4th.

Carolyn Hyslop
Executive Director