The Canadian Canoe Museum, located in Peterborough, Ontario, contains an important part of Canada's history. The museum is North America's only canoe museum and its collection is the largest of its kind, with about 580 canoes and kayaks. The exhibits explore how the canoe defined Canadian spirit in the early days of exporation, trade and settlement along its rivers and lakes.
The Canadian Canoe Museum opened in 1997, created from a collection started by Professor Kirk Wipper over four decades. The Peterborough Centennial Museum is also located in Peterborough, Ontario. Here you can also see the unique Peterborough lift lock, part of the Trent-Severn Waterway which runs from Trenton to Georgian Bay. Here are a few tidbits of canoe history from the museum.
The word "canoa" or "canoe" appeared in the earliest writings about the First Peoples of the New World, and was adapted from the Arawak language of the Native Caribbeans. In its original meaning, the word means boat or vessel.
Except for the tribes of the Plains, the canoe was vital to all Aboriginal cultures of Canada, each tribe being defined by the distinct shape of its canoe or kayak.
It was not only the principal means of transportation, but was also critical to almost every facet of life; canoe and kayak builders were revered in their societies.