Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Royal Canoes

Update: I just finished reading this article about a display at Buckingham Palace showcasing gifts given to Queen Elizabeth. I guess these canoes won't be in that display ;)

When my husband and I visited the Canoe Museum in Peterborough earlier this summer, there was an interesting trio of canoes on display. Three canoes that had been gifted to members of the royal family from our Canadian government.

In the photo below, the three canoes are (from top to bottom), a cedar strip canoe commissioned by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau given to Princess Diana and Prince Charles for their wedding in 1981; a cedar strip Peterborough canoe given to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip for their wedding in 1947; and a cedar strip canoe made by Walter Walker of Lakefield, Ontario, given to Prince Andrew after his attending Lakefield College in 1977.

These canoes are gorgeous and real works of art, each one slightly different, but with beautiful details.

Queen Elizabeth's canoe shows signs of being well used ... which is a good thing! I wonder where they paddled it, and if their children enjoyed some fun times paddling it as well. It was wonderful to see these royal canoes, and I'm not sure if they are at the museum permanently now, or just on loan. I think something about that was mentioned, but I can't quite recall now. 

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a great canoe enthusiast, and his favourite canoe is also on display at the museum (for some reason, I didn't get a photo of it!). He also received a buckskin coat from the Maniwaki Chamber of Commerce, made by Mary Commanda. Both Mary and her husband were renowned for their birchbark canoes. 

the English blurb can be seen in the next photo

This is another plaque about Mary Commanda and her husband William:

I'm currently reading another book by Roy MacGregor about canoeing and canoes in Canada. He talks about Pierre Trudeau who was great friends with film maker and canoe enthusiast Bill Mason. It was interesting to read more about these two men after seeing and reading about them at the canoe museum.

Sorry for the poor, grainy quality of the photos ... these were taken before we got our new camera.



  1. What an interesting museum, Wendy. I never heard before that Pierre Trudeau was a canoe enthusiast, but it does fit what I remember of his personality. (His son appears to have inherited the same charisma!). The royal canoes are intriguing; I wonder did they ever go over to England or were they always kept in Canada for visits. To our surprise, Prince Andrew popped up in Australia today. I believe he is coming here to Brisbane in a day or two. There was no advance publicity at all - he really does fly under the radar these days :)

    1. Yes, all the canoes were delivered to England originally! The Queen's canoe even had some repairs done to it, but in non-traditional canoe building methods.

  2. They are beautiful canoes, like you I hope they used and enjoyed them.

  3. What a fun and fabulous museum to visit, dear Wendy. I so enjoyed seeing the canoes and oh, weren't they beautifully made!

    I hope you are well and enjoying this lovely month of September. Hugs to you!

  4. I wonder if any of those canoes were used at Balmoral.

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  6. Interesting! I wonder if our current PM inherited his father's love of canoes?

  7. That looks like a very interesting place to visit Wendy, I just love history, canoes and nature. The history of the canoes is quite interesting. Enjoy your week.

  8. An interesting post, Wendy! The canoes are wonderful works of art although you would never get me in one. I enjoyed the history of these and glad you had a chance to visit the museum. That buckskin jacket is a treasure as well. Thanks for posting and thanks for your visit. Hope you have a lovely Autumn.


  9. What an interesting post, Wendy. The canoes are so beautiful, works of art, really. I wasn't much of a fan of Pierre Trudeau, but I love that photo of him paddling in the buckskin jacket. I'm sure he enjoyed getting away from politics and out into nature.


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