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Canada’s newest museum pays tribute to a cultural icon: the canoe


If it wasn’t the maple leaf on the Canadian flag, it might as well be the canoe.

This legendary mode of transportation is a symbol of the indigenous people’s millennia-old history and an enduring one, as this canoeist’s paradise of a country is home to more than 2 million lakes – or about one for every 19 residents.

So it’s fitting that Canada is now also home to the largest collection of canoes in the world.

It is impressively designed Canadian Canoe Museum opened in May in the city of Peterborough, Ontario, with more than 600 traditional canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.

Appropriately enough, it is located right on the shores of Little Lake, on the Trent-Severn Waterway, a water route more than 380 kilometers long that connects the Great Lakes of Ontario and Huron.

In a museum designed to evoke a giant wooden canoe, visitors can learn about indigenous languages ​​and culture in the exhibition halls.

There are also interactive areas, such as a craft workshop and a canoe-building workshop. National Geographic has already placed the new museum on its ‘Best of the World 2024’ list in the ‘Best Cultural Places’ category.

Of course you don’t just go to Peterborough to see canoes. About 2-3 hours north of Toronto, this city is the gateway to the picturesque Kawarthas region known for its lakes, forests and small towns.

Part of Ontario’s so-called ‘cottage country’, Peterborough is also an ideal place to find serene lakeside retreats and cozy cabins, many of which, of course, come with their own canoe shed.

Canada is home to more than 2 million lakes – or about one for every 19 residents. Andreas Drouve/dpa

From the south-facing entrance to the museum, visitors can experience the building’s impressive, curved facade. Unity Design Studio/dpa

In the middle of the ‘cottage country’ between Toronto and Ottawa lies the new canoe museum on the shores of Little Lake in Peterborough. Unity Design Studio/dpa

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