The Exhibits

Exhibit Development

The new museum is vital to the care of this world-class collection and the realization of all that it can inspire. A collection of this calibre deserves the very best possible home – to preserve, promote and protect, and to foster skills and traditions for generations to come.

At the core of the new museum will be the Exhibition Galleries and Collection Centre – spaces totalling more than 40,000 square feet. For the first time, the entire collection will be on site and accessible as part of the visitor experience.


    • Exhibition Galleries – Approximately 21,000 square feet of Class A (curatorial standard) exhibit space expected to feature up to 10 exhibition zones, including a dedicated temporary exhibit zone.
    • Collection Centre – Approximately 20,000 square feet of Class A (curatorial standard) open storage space, featuring more than 500 full-sized watercraft stored on individual mounts and arranged on racking systems, as well as small artifacts storage.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Before us, is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design and develop exhibits for this collection of national scope and significance. This new suite of exhibits will determine how the stories the collection carries will be presented to all those who visit.


With this opportunity, we realize and accept our responsibility. We must, and we will honour the cultural histories and stories within the collection. Guided by the canoes in our collection, we will be reaching out across the country to consult, and to build relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and communities.


As we work to shape the exhibits for the new museum, we will create the conditions for collaboration, and the foundation for long-term relationships. These reciprocal relationships are the new beginnings that will chart the course for every facet of the museum’s future.


A critically important component of this work, we will be broadening and deepening our collaborative relations with Indigenous Peoples.


The museum’s curatorial staff team is working with experts, thought leaders and community members from coast to coast to coast to ensure that the collection is experienced to its fullest in the new exhibit spaces. An active Exhibit Design Committee, chaired by Dianne Lister, who is also a museum board member, includes volunteer experts and advisors who have come together to inform the exhibit design direction. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the decision-making process.

Exhibit Design Committee: Dianne Lister (Chair) • Victoria Grant (Vice Chair) • Jamie Benidickson • Robin Binèsi Cavanagh • Rob Clark • Darren Keith • Deb Scott • Dale Standen • Beth Stanley • Jeremy Ward

Ex-officio: John Ronson • Carolyn Hyslop • Alicia Doris • Karen Taylor • Richard Tucker

The museum has partnered with GSM Project, following a nationwide search process. The firm is working alongside staff and the Exhibit Design Committee to create truly unique visitor experiences. The museum has joined GSM Project’s repertoire of more than 1,000 exhibit designs in more than 120 cities worldwide. GSM Project was the lead designer of the new Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History – the largest exhibition about Canadian history ever developed.

Find out more about our exhibit design process, and our approach to collaborative relations, here.

Design & Build News

A New Museum Progress Update | Fall 2019

2019 has been a busy year at The Canadian Canoe Museum. Our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and our new museum project partners have been working hard to ensure that we are in the best possible position to share our one-of-a-kind...

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Reflections On Our Journey To The East Coast

Robin Cavanagh, Jeremy Ward, and Fred Metallic in Listuguj First Nation viewing where we were in relation to the Seven Traditional Districts of the Mi’gmaq By Robin Binèsi Cavanagh, Director of Indigenous Peoples Collaborative Relations A large part of my...

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New Museum Progress Update

This week The Canadian Canoe Museum was given the opportunity to provide Peterborough City Council, sitting as Finance Committee, with a progress update on the new museum. Just over one year ago, Council made a $4 million commitment to the new museum. This incredible...

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The new museum: A welcoming home for all our relations

The following is an introductory blog written by Robin Binèsi Cavanagh, who has recently joined the museum in the new role of Director of Indigenous Peoples’ Collaborative Relations.  I did not understand the significance of my birthplace until my late twenties. I was...

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