Iconic musician Gordon Lightfoot visits The Canadian Canoe Museum to donate three canoes

One of the donated canoes was the subject of his song 'Canary Yellow Canoe'

Gordon Lightfoot speaks at The Canadian Canoe Museum as museum curator Jeremy Ward (left) and Lightfoot's friend and fellow canoest Fred Gaskin looks on. The yellow canoe behind Lightfoot is one of three canoes he is donating to The Canadian Canoe Museum collection, along with one canoe donated by Gaskin. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW.com)
Gordon Lightfoot speaks at The Canadian Canoe Museum as museum curator Jeremy Ward (left) and Lightfoot's friend and fellow canoest Fred Gaskin looks on. The yellow canoe behind Lightfoot is one of three canoes he is donating to The Canadian Canoe Museum collection, along with one canoe donated by Gaskin. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW.com)

Iconic Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot was at The Canadian Canoe Museum today (December 7) to donate three of his canoes to become part of the museum’s collection, along with one from his friend and paddling companion Fred Gaskin.

One of the canoes Lightfoot has donated is a yellow canoe that was the subject of his 1981 song “Canary Yellow Canoe” (a previously unreleased track that was included on the 1999 career retrospective album Songbook).

“Needless to say, it’s been an incredible day,” said Jeremy Ward, the museum’s curator. “We are honoured to be adding to our collection three of Gordon’s canoes and one from Fred.”

One of Lightfoot's donated canoes. This canoe, which Lightfoot has paddled in Canada's far north, was the subject of his 1981 song "Canary Yellow Canoe". (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW.com)
One of Lightfoot’s donated canoes. This canoe, which Lightfoot has paddled in Canada’s far north, was the subject of his 1981 song “Canary Yellow Canoe”. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW.com)

The yellow canoe showcases the scars of an infamous mishap when Lightfoot and Gaskin paddled the Nahanni River in the 1970s.

An avid canoeist, Lightfoot often took canoe trips in Canada’s Far North.

VIDEO: “Shadows” – Gordon Lightfoot (written when he was on a paddling trip)

“I passed through Yellowknife on three or four different occasions when I would be leaving to go on canoe trip,” Lightfoot says in an interview with WestJet Magazine.

“Yellowknife would be the last civilization that you would see for about four or five weeks. I remember being up there during the equinox around the end of June and getting started around the start of July when it was never dark. The tent would be bathed in sunlight as it spun around the horizon.

“I wrote my song ‘Shadows’ while I was paddling. I can actually remember the moment I finished it — right where I was on the river. It was a very quiet, long stretch of river with very little current. We were paddling about 10 in the morning and there were trout leaping all around us.”

Lightfoot signing books in The Canadian Canoe Museum gift shop. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW.com)
Lightfoot signing books in The Canadian Canoe Museum gift shop. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW.com)

“Canary Yellow Canoe” (Gordon Lightfoot)

In my canary yellow canoe, my yellow canoe
I want to go tripping in my canary yellow canoe
The Eastmain, Coppermine, Back River too
In my canary yellow canoe

In my canary yellow canoe, yellow canoe
I want to run rivers in my canary yellow canoe
The Dumoine River, Rupert River, George River too
In my canary yellow canoe

In my canary yellow canoe, mellow yellow canoe
I want to go tripping in my canary yellow canoe
Chibougamau, Peace River, Resolute too
In my canary yellow canoe

In my canary yellow canoe, my elephant too
I want to go tripping in my canary yellow canoe
Churchill, Yellowknife, Ross River too
In my canary yellow canoe

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