The Canadian Canoe Museum has launched a new fundraising campaign as it prepares to move the world’s largest and most significant collection of paddled watercraft across the City of Peterborough, from the museum’s current landlocked location on Monaghan Road to its new waterfront home under construction on Ashburnham Drive by the shores of Little Lake.
To build excitement for the museum’s expected fall reopening at its new two-storey 65,000-square-foot facility and to invite public support for the extraordinary journey of the museum’s historic collection to take place over the summer, the “Move the Collection: The Final Portage” campaign is being led by avid paddling enthusiasts and local community leaders Mike Judson and Neil Morton.
As a symbolic gesture of the forthcoming move of the collection, during The Final Portage campaign Judson and Morton will portage an iconic red canvas canoe throughout the city starting from the museum’s Monaghan Road location. The two men will eventually carry the symbolic canoe all the way to the museum’s new home, where the entire collection of more than 600 canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft will be accessible to visitors for the first time in the museum’s history.
“Moving a collection of this size and scale in the span of months is no small feat for our team and supporters,” explains the museum’s executive director Carolyn Hyslop in a media release. “This move represents a pivotal moment in our museum’s history.”
“By relocating to the waterfront, we will not only enhance the accessibility and visibility of this extraordinary collection but also create a transformative experience for our visitors. We are inviting donors and sponsors to be a part of this monumental move and help us bring the legacy of paddled watercraft to a wider audience.”
Not only is it rare for a museum to build a new facility in a new location, but it’s also rare for a museum to move its entire collection to a new location. Moving The Canadian Canoe Museum’s collection, declared a cultural asset of national significance by the Senate in 2013, requires a significant amount of preparation and care. The collection includes paddled watercraft ranging up to 53 feet long and weighing up to 1,500 pounds, hundreds of small artifacts, and a library and archive.
While the actual physical relocation of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s collection is scheduled to take place over the summer, with McWilliams Moving and Storage partnering with the museum as the lead sponsor and official mover of the collection, the museum has already spent more than two years carefully preparing the collection by diligently cleaning and packing each artifact to ensure the utmost care during the move.
The museum’s Monaghan Road location has been closed since last September so that museum staff can remove the artifacts that have been on exhibit there for the past two decades.
During The Final Portage campaign, the museum will be releasing a series of videos and behind-the-scenes content this summer and fall featuring Judson and Morton portaging the canoe past recognizable landmarks in Peterborough, allowing the public to follow the fundraising campaign’s progress while building excitement for the museum’s fall reopening. The first video (included below) is available at canoemuseum.ca/final-portage.
VIDEO: Move the Collection: The Final Portage
“Canoeing is one of my great passions in life, and seeing this national treasure move to the water’s edge in this community I adore is a dream,” Morton says. “It’s fantastic to be a part of The Final Portage campaign and this historic moment with my fellow lead portager Mike Judson as we help carry this to the finish line.”
The Canadian Canoe Museum’s new purpose-built home at 2077 Ashburnham Drive is located on a five-acre site surrounded by public parks with stunning west-facing views of Little Lake and a connection to the Trans Canada Trail.
With an array of indoor and outdoor spaces and water access, the new location will allow the museum to deliver on its mission in inspiring new ways and become a vibrant community space for outdoor activities, including the museum’s canoeing and outdoor programs and events.
“Supporting initiatives like the museum’s historic move is an investment in preserving our shared heritage and cultural legacy,” Hyslop explains. “By contributing to this endeavour, we actively steward invaluable artifacts and ensure their accessibility to future generations.”
“Institutions like ours serve as gateways to knowledge, inspiration, and understanding, and it is through your support that we enable the continued celebration and exploration of our collective history. Together, we can make a lasting impact and shape a vibrant cultural landscape for years to come.”
McWilliams Moving and Storage, a full-service moving company in Peterborough, has joined The Final Portage campaign as the lead sponsor and official mover of the museum’s collection. With their extensive experience and commitment to excellence, they will ensure that each piece is moved safely and with care.
“McWilliams Moving and Storage has been part of The Canadian Canoe Museum family since its inception with the first portage of museum artifacts from Dorset, Ontario, to Peterborough over two decades ago,” says president Dan McWilliams.
“We are honoured to continue this tradition as the official movers of The Canadian Canoe Museum to complete the final portage to a new architectural and cultural landmark in the city of Peterborough. Having the opportunity to pack and transport these pieces of Canadian heritage allows us to be part of the journey and story of this national icon in our great city.”
“The McWilliams team’s dedication to preserving the integrity of each artifact aligns perfectly with our mission to steward and showcase the rich history of paddled watercraft,” Hyslop adds. “We are incredibly grateful for their support and expertise throughout this process. We are excited to see other sponsors and donors support the move similarly.”
Businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities for The Final Portage can email the museum’s philanthropy associate Rose Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadians from across the country and beyond who want to support the final portage of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s collection to its new home at the water’s edge can make a donation at canoemuseum.ca/final-portage.
For more information about the new museum, visit canoemuseum.ca/new-museum.
kawarthaNOW is proud to be the official media sponsor of The Canadian Canoe Museum’s Move the Collection: The Final Portage Campaign.