The Canadian Canoe Museum has announced its new facility under construction on Ashburnham Drive in Peterborough will open over the winter, with an official grand opening celebration set for the spring.
According to a media release issued by the museum on Wednesday (September 20), the museum’s originally scheduled fall opening date has been delayed due to nationwide construction industry issues.
“Material and labour availability, supply chain disruptions, and scheduling and sequencing complexities have caused unavoidable delays in completing the impressive two-story, 65,000-square-foot museum and its five-acre lakefront campus,” reads the media release.
The new museum is now scheduled to open over the winter once it is completed, with an official grand opening planned for May.
“I am thrilled to announce that we will welcome our supporters to the new museum and campus the weekend of May 11th for our grand opening celebrations,” says the museum’s executive director Carolyn Hyslop. “While the pandemic and its impacts on the construction industry have affected our timeline, it has not affected the spirit and enthusiasm for this project. It will be worth the wait when visitors can explore this beautiful facility and our many new offerings and then continue to the lakefront for a memorable paddling experience.”
The grand opening weekend — which coincides with the start of the paddling season — will see donors, partners, members, volunteers, and dignitaries gather to celebrate the new building and Lang Lakefront Campus. It will also mark the launch of the museum’s full visitor experience with on-water activities to honour Canada’s paddling legacy. A schedule of events will be released closer to the grand opening date.
When the new facility opens over the winter, the museum’s entire collection of over 600 paddled watercraft and artifacts will be under one roof and accessible to visitors for the first time in the museum’s history. A portion of the collection will be on display in the 20,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall, with the remainder held in the similarly sized Collection Hall.
In the Exhibition Hall, visitors can explore new exhibits at their own pace or through a guided tour and learn new skills in an artisan workshop. Food and drink from the Silver Bean Café will be available in the museum’s café, with the facility and its multipurpose room available to rent for community and corporate meetings, conferences, events and weddings.
All programming at the new museum will offer hands-on indoor and outdoor experiences connecting visitors and locals to the land, water, and canoe. A host of customizable and curriculum-linked programs will build on inspiration found in the exhibits and use the outdoor Lang Lakefront Campus year round. Workshops will include fire building, outdoor cooking, camping, plein air painting, and paddling skills.
In the spring, the Lang Lakefront Campus will offer on-water programming, daily 90-minute Voyageur canoe tours, and canoe and kayak rentals. Children’s day camps, adult paddling courses, and backcountry canoe trips will also run throughout the summer months.
While the originally scheduled opening date of the new museum has been delayed, The Canadian Canoe Museum has already moved more than 100 canoes and kayaks from its previous Monaghan Road location into the Exhibition Hall of the new facility, with the remaining 500 watercraft to be relocated to the new museum over the next two to three months.
“Moving this first portion of the collection into its new home was an incredible moment in this organization’s history,” says museum curator Jeremy Ward. “This collection is unlike any other worldwide and has been recognized for its national significance to this country. Now it finally has a home befitting it. It was certainly an emotional moment for myself and our team.”
Peterborough-based McWilliams Moving & Storage is the official mover and lead sponsor of the museum’s “Move the Collection: The Final Portage” campaign, which is continuing to raise awareness and funds for the collection’s move to the new facility.
As for the museum’s $40-million “Inspiring Canada – by Canoe” fundraising campaign to support the cost of building the new facility, the museum has now raised 97 per cent of its goal, with fundraising events held this summer in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and Peterborough.
Along with community donations, the museum is being funded by lead donor and government partners including the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Weston Family Foundation, the City of Peterborough, Peterborough County, and the Province of Ontario.
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 can make a donation at canoemuseum.ca/final-portage.
Businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities for The Final Portage can email Megan McShane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.