Why a New Museum?

The new facility will ensure that a fundamental part of Canadian heritage is not lost. The museum has a national role to play but is limited by its lack of suitable space and its inland location. The new museum and all that it encompasses and enables, is foundational to the realization of a strong, sustainable national organization. The need for a new museum is rooted in three key areas:

Preservation, Promotion & Protection

Since 1997, the museum has been located in the former Outboard Marine Corporation buildings, a 1960s-era factory site in a highly concentrated commercial area. The museum and storage facility do not meet curatorial standards required for a collection of this significance. As such, the artifacts are at risk of accelerated deterioration and potential loss. This facility has always been considered interim due to its location and the limitations of the building.

Organizational Sustainability & Growth

Without the opportunity to increase attendance, grow programs and diversify revenue, the long-term strength and permanence of the organization is compromised.

Programmatic Capacity

Award-winning educational programming has reached capacity due to lack of space. The visitor experience is limited as only 20 per cent of the collection is accessible. On-water programming is restricted due to the museum’s inland location.

Our Commitments


We believe that a world-class collection and cultural asset of national significance deserves the best possible home – to preserve, protect, and foster skills and traditions for generations to come.

  • We will build a LEED designated facility that also meets Category A curatorial standards.
  • We will allow access to 100 per cent of the collection on site.
  • We will offer dedicated spaces and opportunities for artisans to teach students of all ages – preserving skills and perpetuating traditions.


We believe we have a unique opportunity, with the canoe as our lens, to share Canadians’ stories, aspiring to include voices and perspectives from across the country.

  • We will honour the cultural histories and stories within our collection by engaging with and learning from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
  • We will be guided by the recommendations from the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
  • We will provide opportunities for all visitors to find their place at the museum, and to connect with the collection in their own unique way.


We believe that the best way to learn is by doing – encouraging hands-on discovery for a deeper understanding.

  • We will provide experiential learning opportunities in the museum, outside the museum, on the water and virtually.
  • We will provide dedicated spaces that encourage and facilitate hands on learning, like classrooms, workshops and the green roof.
  • We will inspire adventure, spiritual connection, personal reflection and discovery.

“In 2017, we celebrated our 20th anniversary and looked back upon two decades of growth and accomplishment. The museum, with its world-class collection, has come a long way. The new facility will take us to a whole new level and ensure a strong, sustainable future.”

John Ronson

Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian Canoe Museum

Enabling More

Increased Attendance

Consolidating three of the most significant destinations in the region, community members and visitors alike will explore the museum along with one of Canada’s most spectacular waterways and the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock – both National Historic Sites. It is estimated the museum will welcome on average 87,000 visitors annually – more than three times the current admission.

First Nations, Métis & Inuit Engagement

First Peoples designed, built and used the first canoes and kayaks on this land. The museum believes in the importance of honouring these cultural histories and stories. In the Research and Knowledge Centre, for example, First Peoples, Indigenous Knowledge Holders, and academics will share cultural traditions and encourage understanding.

Whole New Visitor Experience

The exhibitions will be immersive, dynamic and experiential, thus allowing the visitor to engage in multiple ways through a variety of mediums. One hundred per cent of the collection will be accessible to the public. In addition, Category A standard of care will allow the display of artifacts from other museums and an evolving temporary exhibit will offer fresh experiences, attracting repeat visitors.

Educational Programming

The new museum’s location and spaces will dramatically change how educational programming is delivered. Almost three times the number of young people will be able to learn, play and explore. The on-water location will allow for outdoor activities, adding relevance to classroom discussions and firsthand experiential opportunities. The museum’s national outreach initiatives will take award-winning interactive programs across Canada and the world.

Artisan Programming

With dedicated, purpose-built spaces, the museum will double its offerings of artisan workshops. As well, an increase in the variety of heritage craft programs will make use of the outdoor spaces, gardens and the green roof. Partnerships with local organizations and Indigenous communities will grow.

Environmentally Sustainable Design

The museum consulted a global leader in 21st century sustainable design. With a 100 per cent intensive green roof, more than 60 per cent of the wall area below grade and extensive use of the latest lighting, mechanical systems and controls, the museum will be almost 40 per cent more energy efficient than a comparable design that only meets current standards and codes.

Financial Strength and Permanence

Financial sustainability is a key driver for the museum as evidenced by the ongoing revenue growth over the last four years. The new museum allows for greater diversification of revenue sources, making the museum less reliant on visitor attendance and fundraising.

Economic Impact

The museum’s operations and its redevelopment project will have an overall economic impact on Peterborough estimated to be $111.3M and the equivalent of 1,059 jobs between 2017 and the museum’s opening in 2022.


Be a part of history in-the-making