by Mike Elliott, Kettle River Canoes email:


I recently came across a short film called The Canoe.  It has just been released (2017) and is written and narrated by James Raffan (author, director emeritus of the Canadian Canoe Museum).  Running 27 minutes, this short film examines the role of the canoe in shaping the lives and life connections of several people.  It opens with a voice-over narration by James Raffan as we watch him paddle a beautiful old Chestnut Pal (Deer) canoe over calm, misty water.


The Connector – The first profile in the film is of Michelle Savoie. She comes from a long line of canoe people tracing back to the voyageurs.  She and her family see the canoe as the connecting force in their family.


The Champion – Alexandra McGee is an elite-level competitor in white-water slalom canoeing. The discipline and focus required to become a champion helped her overcome many personal challenges.


The Explorers – Gary and Joanie McGuffin are authors, photographers, educators and explorers. They have used canoes to create a life together that is full of wonder and beauty.  They find something new  around every bend in the river.


The Settler – Michael Zhang left a hectic life in China to create a life in Canada full of joy and peace. He and his family find that joy and peace every time they get out on the water in their canoe.


The Mentor – Gail Bannon helped the young people in the Fort William First Nation reconnect with their culture and heritage by teaching them how to build a birch bark canoe.

I hope you enjoy this film – I certainly did. For me, it brought into sharp focus the truth about canoes.  They are a powerful cultural linchpin in the Canadian Identity.  The canoe is an essential part of our sense of self, sense of family and sense of community.  Enjoy.

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Conor Mihell is an editor-at-large for Canoe&Kayak Magazine.  He has just posted a review of This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe.

Check it out:

Review of This Old Canoe – Canoe and Kayak

Murat Vardar writes a fascinating blog about Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff).  He has also written a review of This Old Canoe.

Review of This Old Canoe – Paddle Making blog

If you have read the book, post a review of your own:

Buy the Book and write a review

by Mike Elliott, Kettle River Canoes

This Old Canoe Book signing Penticton

The book tour for This Old Canoe starts in Penticton, BC at the Penticton Public Library on Friday, April 15 at noon.  The fun continues with a presentation at the Penticton Museum on Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 pm.

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I look forward to seeing you there.

by Mike Elliott, Kettle River Canoes

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This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe will be launched next month – April 2016.  This will be celebrated in a variety of ways.  There will be reviews posted online by prominent bloggers.  There will also be reviews published in a couple of print magazines.  I will be interviewed on CBC Radio.  However, the thing I am looking forward to the most is my book tour.  It will begin in April and continue through the summer into the fall.

Each event will feature a presentation where I will be talking about wooden canoes and their influence on our lives.

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The first presentation is titled O Ca-na-noe: Canoes and the role they play in the development of the Canadian identity.  It examines the role of canoes in Canadian history and the influence canoes have had on the way Canadians operate in the world.  It also looks at the influence of the canoe on Canadian art as well as the canoe as part of the family.

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The second presentation is called Canoe Connections: Wooden Canoes and their people — the ties that bind them and the restorations that bring them back together again.  In this talk, I discuss the way I approach the business of canoe restoration.  I focus on stories about the importance of wooden canoes in the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Here is a schedule of events so far.

April 15 in Penticton, BC at the Penticton Library – 12 noon presenting O Ca-na-noe

April 16 in Penticton, BC at the Penticton Museum – 2:00 pm presenting Canoe Connections

April 23 in Grand Forks, BC at the Grand Forks Library – 2:00 pm presenting Canoe Connections

April 30 in Richmond, BC at the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site – 2:00 pm presenting Canoe Connections

May 14 in Shelton, WA at Camp Bishop for the Northwest Chapter of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) Spring Meet – 9:30 am presenting Canoe Connections

June 16 in Peterborough, ON at the Canadian Canoe Museum – 6:00 pm presenting Canoe Connections

June 17 in Parry Sound, ON at the White Squall Paddling Centre – 7:00 pm presenting O Ca-na-noe

June 18 in Midland, ON at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre – 7:30 pm presenting O Ca-na-noe

July 12-17 in Paul Smiths, NY at Paul Smith’s College for the 2016 WCHA Assembly – presenting Canoe Connections

July 22 in Spooner, WI at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum – Time to be determined presenting Canoe Connections

September 15-18 in Manning Provincial Park, BC at Lightning Lakes Campground for the Northwest Chapter WCHA Fall Meet – presenting O Ca-na-noe

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If you would like me to give a presentation in your area, approach your local library, museum or canoe association and make arrangements.  Then, contact me to work the event into my travel plans.  I can prepare a poster for the event and send a PDF file for you to print and display.  Send me an email