National Canoe Day logo design, March 2010
Shortly after the canoe was voted one of the seven wonders of Canada in a national poll on the CBC Radio show “Sounds Like Canada” back in 2007, The Canadian Canoe Museum hosted an impromptu party at the Peterborough Lift Lock to celebrate. Inviting anybody and everybody to come and just get in their canoe and ride the world's highest lift lock, we had a great turnout and marked the occasion with music, cake and Peterborough Mayor, Paul Ayotte, made an official declaration affirming the canoe as a wonder of Canada. What we didn't know, until later, was that when word spread about this celebration there were a number of paddlers elsewhere in the country who joined in with their own little canoe-as-wonder shindig.
The following year, on the same day—June 26th, 2008—having spread the message across the country through email and word of mouth, The Canadian Canoe Museum hosted another party at the Lift Lock with music and cake and lots of keen paddlers who had come from far and wide to join in. But this time, our friend and neighbour Keith Knott, Chief of the Curve Lake First Nation, just north of Peterborough, read a declaration in English and Ojibway that marked the occasion as the first National Canoe Day and called for the celebration to he held annually in as many places across the country as possible. In 2008, in addition to the celebration in Peterborough, there were National Canoe Day events in a dozen more more locations across the country. June 26th began with a group of paddlers on Frame Lake in Yellowknife, who rang in their celebration by the light of the midnight sun in the wee hours of the morning. Others, who registered their events at the National Canoe Day website (nationalcanoeday.org), hosted by The Canadian Canoe Museum, carried on the celebration at sites and cities from coast to coast. In 2009, National Canoe Day grew again, nearly doubling the number of events and participants and redoubling the interest and traffic on the website. In addition to all kinds of on the water celebrations, a stalwart group of paddlers in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut managed a National Canoe Day party in spite of the fact that most of the paddleable water was still frozen solid!
For 2010, the museum is hosting a fun and engaging public event at Rogers Cove park in Peterborough. As well as commemorating National Canoe Day, this will offer an opportunity to celebrate Peterborough’s rich canoeing heritage.