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The Canadian Canoe Museum Announces Incredible New Home for 2023

The Canadian Museum houses the largest and most significant collection of canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft on the planet, and they’ve got big plans.

Canadian Canoe Museum
A render of the exterior of the Canadian Canoe Museum. Photo Credit: Lett Architects Inc.

The Canadian Canoe Museum has announced their plans to relocate to a new home near to the Peterborough Lift Lock in Peterborough, Ontario. The announcement has been met with much fanfare across the province, as the initial plans to relocate fell through due to unforeseen circumstances.

There’s no doubt that the purchase of a new property right along the water’s edge will provide a very fitting backdrop for a museum such as this.

Why Build a New Home for the Canadian Canoe Museum?

This new home has been in the works for quite some time, and it’s clear that they have lofty goals for this new space.

The museum sums it up best when noting:,

“As part of our responsibility for this cultural asset of national significance, we are building it a new home in Peterborough, Ontario, located within the Peterborough & Kawarthas travel destination, that aspires to be as innovative as the canoe itself. The new museum will care for the collection the way it deserves to be cared for – preserving, protecting, and showcasing for generations to come.”

They note that they want people to “walk in the front door” and “paddle out the back.” The museum, located within the traditional territories of the Williams Treaties First Nations, will have stunning west-facing access to Little Lake, as well as a connection to the Great Trail of Canada.

As if that wasn’t enough, the five acre site is also surrounded by public parks.

What Will the Visitor Experience Be Like?

A rendering of the exterior lakefront terrace at the Canadian Canoe Museum
A rendering of the exterior lakefront terrace. Photo Credit. Lett Architects Inc.

There’s no doubt that everything has been carefully thought of in the construction of the Canadian Canoe Museum. Even little details such as the Corteen steel siding and exposed mass timber – which is meant to reflect a connection to the land, and the artisanship of canoe making.

But what will the visitor experience be like if you visit?

We’re going to walkthrough what’s been proposed for the 65,000 square foot building! And it should also be noted that they’ll be able to showcase 100 per cent of the museum’s existing watercraft in this new arrangement.

  • A 17,000 square foot Exhibition Hall which will feature an entirely brand new suite of exhibits.
  • A Lakefront Events and Education Centre with stunning views of the lake.
  • An Artisan and Canoe-Building Studio, which will be a focal point of the museum’s desire to promote hands-on learning.
  • A Library and Research Room that will focus on being accessible to all visitors.
  • A Café with a fireplace, and the Lakefront Terrace which is pictured above.
  • A Lakefront Canoe House that will have docks to accommodate on-water and outdoor education programming.

What Else Should You Know Right Now?

A rendering of the north section of the Atrium. Photo Credit: Lett Architects Inc.

Peterborough and the surrounding area feel that this could be a premiere destination that encourages people to explore nearby Ontario cities and towns, and outdoor areas as well. It should be an enormous draw for folks to visit Peterborough and the Kawarthas.

The Canadian Canoe Museum has also noted that their intention to ensure that the museum is a sustainable design which will minimize the impact on the environment. They also want to get creative in the ways that they can encourage active transportation to the site, either by paddling, walking, or biking.

They’ve also publicly stated that they want this museum to be a stronghold for collaborative relations. They’ve noted that “the Museum will invite Indigenous Peoples to share their stories in their own voices as together, we work to preserve and share these artifacts in the collection.”

The project is on track to break ground this fall, and scheduled to open in the summer of 2023.

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