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

Building A Museum Upon Relationships

Building A Museum Upon Relationships

Nearly two decades ago, the fledgling Canadian Canoe Museum set out on a journey to develop 20,000 square feet of exhibits for nine, newly-created galleries within its renovated factory setting. Among the many remarkable people who were part of that team...

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Request for Expression of Interest Process

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REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST PROCESS The Canadian Canoe Museum stewards the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. This collection, with its more than 600 watercraft, inspires connection, curiosity and new understanding. We are...

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Looking Back at 2017

Looking Back at 2017

2017 was an incredible year for the museum! We hosted many events, launched a new exhibit and celebrated some significant milestones. We also made significant progress on our redevelopment project. A series of funding announcements related to our future home allowed...

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