Canadian Canoe Museum –Part 2


As mentioned in Part 1 of Canadian Canoe Museum, there’s so much to see and learn here that one could spend most of a day here.



DSCF7608 This sign says, in part,

Missionaries, beginning with the Jesuits in the 1600s, regularly used canoes to reach the remote parts of Canada… they cheerfully accepted the rigours of life on the trail.



DSCF7609A canoe that folds. Imagine that! I suppose it would help where there is limited storage space.




Here’s a closed-in canoe, somewhat like a kayak in appearance. See the wooden seat, like a lawn chair,  and the attached oar. Perhaps only for leisure and not a working canoe.




DSCF7611 A canoe, with not one, but two sails. The sails would catch the wind and it looks like they could be moved to do just that.


DSCF7612A courting canoe, with cushy pillows for the pair, and music too. See the on-board Victrola?



DSCF7613A close-up of the music machine. I think the courting couple would want to go out on calm waters, otherwise the record player and cushions could get wet. Imagine the courting couple out on the water of a calm lake and they’re listening to their favourite music as they paddle.




In another canoe, a similar type of record player, without the amplifier. We had records like this in a black box gramophone.



Look at this sleek canoe with the cushioned seat. Pretty classy.



DSCF7618 And the very last canoe we saw named for someone special– it’s a good name.


There we are at the end of the canoe museum.  I stopped at the gift shop to look around. I came home with two books, one to read to my granddaughters and one about storytelling. Love the children’s picture book story, One Dog Canoe, by Mary Casanova, illustrated by Ard Hoyt. I also discovered that one story in the book, Mugged by a Moose, ed.  Matt Jackson, was written by a Waterloo Region author, Leslie Bamford, whom I happen to know.


September 2, 2014 at 12:49 am Leave a comment

Canadian Writers Who Are Christian–Sandwiched

Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian, about being part of the Sandwich Generation.


“If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.” –Corrie Ten Boom

We’re at that stage in our family with aging parents on one side—we’re all aging every day—and younger family with grandchildren on the other side. We’ve known, in retrospect, that this could happen one day and now we’re there, but we don’t always know what to do with it.

With two parents needing our support, our attention and energies are spread to their maximum, and that comes apart from a career as a freelance editor and writer, and a husband at home with some special needs of his own.

Carol Abaya, an expert in elder care, writes that there is no rehearsal for parent care, rather parenting one’s parents. “Becoming a parent to an aging parent presents extraordinary challenges.” Apparently it was Abaya who coined the term “sandwich generation” but also “club sandwich generation.”

Go here to read more.


And while you’re there, read the posts of Peter Black, Glynis Belec, Heidi McLaughlin. You’ll surely find some story that resonates or entertains.


The Sandwich Generation looks a little like this





or like a Dagwood sandwich, with the caregivers in the middle.


Back to the Canadian Canoe Museum another day.

August 21, 2014 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

Canadian Canoe Museum– Part 1

Back to our holidays in the Kawarthas in July.


We read about the museum in the Kawartha Visitor  2014 Summer Vacation Guide and right away it grabbed my interest—a museum about canoes. We weren’t about to find one of those in our community of southwestern Ontario. Curious, I persuaded my husband that we should go there the day after our trip to Lang Pioneer Village. So we set out for Peterborough to find this place and were delighted with the offerings there.


Who would have thought there were so many kinds of canoes?  I knew that native Canadians probably started the canoe making, but a canoe with a sail? Courting canoes with a phonograph on board?



A woman met us at the door and told us a bit about the museum and where to begin our tour. She also told us there was a student questionnaire that if we chose to answer, we would get a discount on anything we bought in the shop. We’d wait and see  how our time worked out.


Thus we began with the upper level and the whale hunters of Canada’s Pacific Coast.

DSCF7580The signs were large and easy  to read, often showing maps where the canoes were employed.



DSCF7581 A canoe with a sail on it. I hadn’t known there was such a thing.




DSCF7583My husband reading the sign by the Eagle Canoe made and used by the Haida




DSCF7582 I was impressed by the art work on the canoe and the paddles. They’re works of art. Mind you, it was a pretty large canoe. I don’t remember the exact length. Something like 50 feet or a bit longer.




Here’s a bit of history on the Haida and their life, including the canoes. They weren’t altogether friendly folks, when they raid and take prisoners.




DSCF7585An early birch bark canoe



This map and chart shows a few of the shapes of their bow profiles. The sign says, in part:

… their most distinguishing characteristics are bow profiles. … The condition of the water, whether flowing, tranquil, wave tossed or turbulent is reflected in the design of the bow that sets the canoes apart.


I found this intriguing and had never thought so much about its shape. Some of their information came from Cedar by Hilary Stewart, 1984, Douglas and McIntyre, used by permission. If a person was inclined to learn more, this would be a good source to consult.


We watched a video of native Canadians knitting the Cowichan sweater on Kuyper Island and learned that not all the sweaters sold in stores are hand knit. The women do it to keep up the tradition and as part of a way of life, but they find it an increasingly unprofitable venture as stores bring in machine-made sweaters and often the prices they are paid do not afford them a livelihood with the cost of yarn. Rather a dilemma for them.


The men used canoes to gather supplies they couldn’t get by land.




DSCF7590 Rackfuls of canoes, named and cataloged, for visitors to see the various kinds. I didn’t count the numbers of canoes, but there were aplenty of them.



DSCF7593 The canoe builders were craftsmen and incorporated designs.

“The making of canoes is an ancient art,” as one of the signs read, but the building continues today. Skilled model builders can be found in the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association. The museum’s desire is to recognize the builders and continuing the tradition.





Jen in the Presentation Area, where they hold workshops. She’s putting kits together for a workshop and she took time to explain some of  the programs they offer.  They teach classes to children too and how to preserve and add a collection number. One project was a shadow box. Thanks, Jen.




DSCF7598 A Mi’Kmaq Winter camp




DSCF7600Then the museum got into the canoes used for trade.




And one loaded with supplies for a journey. Where would the canoeist sit to paddle? Might they have just loaded it to show us what might be carried on a journey? Would a canoe be towed like a wagon?


DSCF7604Hands On Areas

Every so often there was a play area for children to act out the role of a trader or canoeist. This was a puppet theatre and it had puppets stacked on a pole that children could use.

DSCF7605Look at this work of art on a canoe.




DSCF7607and here was the canoe with the sail that I saw on a Trip Advisor recommendation.

As I looked at the sign behind it, a museum staff member said to me, “Farley Mowatt.”

I said, ” Ah, but that was the boat that wouldn’t float.”

He grinned, not expecting this answer.

By the way, I do recommend this place for families.


And here I’ll stop for the day. To be continued.

Photos by L. and C. Wilker. If you wish to use a photo, please ask.

August 18, 2014 at 12:11 am 2 comments

A drive to Lakefield, Ontario


In mid-July when we were in Kawartha Lakes area on vacation, we heard the radio announcer report about the Lakefield Literary Festival. What we didn’t know then was that the event was already happening. Our son-in-law Dave suggested that we (read “I”) might like to attend  when we stayed on.


The next day, after a bit of Internet research and a look into the Lakefield weekly paper, the July 11th Lakefield  Herald, we learned that the event ran over the weekend and we had missed it. The Lakefield Herald showed a preview photo of Sheree Fitch, children’s author from Nova Scotia, one of many guests who were to attend and read or perform at the festival. Among them were Richard Wangamese, Alison Wearing, local (to Lakefield) author John Craig, Werner Zimmerman and others. A special preview photo of the well known children’s author Sheree Fitch was in the paper. “Hey, I’ve met her before,” in  Halifax at the Editors’ Association of Canada conference in 2013 when I was her workshop assistant.

And so we missed the Literary Festival, which was a bit disappointing, but we decided to take a drive there before our return home. After a visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum (another upcoming post) we crossed the bridge, looked around in a new craft shop then crossed the bridge again and  wandered around the town  near the end of business hours.


DSCF7628Sound of mighty rushing water here




Municipal building, a fine red-brick structure






Another public building, but which one? You can see the kind of sunny day we had.




DSCF7633The municipal building again. See the outlook on top? I don’t know what you call it, but I think it would be a great place to see the land around the town. Has anyone been up there recently?



DSCF7635I loved this stack of cups and pots in the garden. They looked as though they would fall over


DSCF7637And on the other side of the garden,  a stack of rocks too, all in a pretty wildflower garden…




in front of this restaurant… or is it  a coffee shop. I would have loved to go in this place but we were there near closing time.


Ah, but this shop was not closed, among my favourite kinds of store. Yarn and books at Happenstance on 44 Queen Street, almost across from the pretty garden.


Happenstance                                                                                                                                           Photo shared by permission. Find them on Facebook


An interesting combination in a shop. Plenty of yarn in many colours and shades as well as shelves full of books. I picked up a list of recommended books, compiled by a store employee. She’s read plenty of books. We asked about the Literary Festival we’d missed and learned that the events were held mostly at the college and a few other public places that had more room for crowds of people.

Judy Caulfield, fellow storyteller, attends this event every year and may know this store quite well. A neat little shop that from our perspective is well run.

While I was there I saw some square knitting needles. The employee, Sue (on the far right on their Facebook photo), said she likes these needles and finds the stitches stay on better. I got a pair for knitting mittens.

The remaining stores would be closing soon and so we headed for the car and drove back to the Grandview Resort where we were staying. Perhaps next year, we can come a little earlier and make it to the festival. I wonder who’ll be there next year.


Photos  ©  C. and L. Wilker, except for the one posted by permission


August 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

One more post about Lang Pioneer Village

We’d covered a lot of ground in those few hours and yet there was more to see, the lumberman’s shanty and the mill.


DSCF7543Men from the village sometimes went to work in a lumber camp over the winter to earn extra money for their families. They left their wives and children behind and headed off to the forest and lived in a small shanty with little more than an axe they carried with them. As it says in this sign, that

Canada remained a competitor for the timber market because they were exempt from a heavy British duty.


DSCF7545Informational sign in the shanty at the village


DSCF7546How to sharpen an axe on the stone. One would approach this task very carefully, just as much so as cutting down a tree. No chain saws here. It was all manual labour.


DSCF7548The men at the lumber camp would sleep in bunks like these and hang up wet socks on the line above. There were no fancy closets to hang clothing, and if I remember correctly from the information posted there, the men came with very few extra clothing pieces.

Seeing this shanty and reading about it reminded me of the storyteller Deborah Dunleavy and her story of the Flying Canoe, in which men in a lumber camp were tempted to travel  home to their home town for a New Year’s party, and in particular one young man to visit a certain young lady, but I won’t spoil the story for you. The Crystal is the story CD you’d like to hear it. Storytelling at its best.


DSCF7549 Out in the field behind the shanty is an old harvester.


DSCF7550 And zooming in on the name, you can read who made it.


We took a short snack break before heading on to the mill.




DSCF7558The Lang Grist Mill was owned by the Otonobee Region Conservation Authority. The Quaker Oats Company had some input into restoring the mill for historical purposes.



DSCF7561Exhibits in the mill



DSCF7560Yes, horses were important. They pulled the wagon.


DSCF7562 The tools and equipment people used for harvest in the 1840s  may seem primitive as compared to twelve-row ploughs and tractors with stereos in them, but they did the job. A lot of manual labour was required. Lest anyone think that a modern farm is easy,  there is still need for manual labour.



DSCF7565Another exhibit piece but the sign was cut off. Anyone know what this is for?





A tool to cut straw and corn


There were many other exhibits, models and pictures of equipment used to harvest crops and presses and other equipment to grind the grain into flour. It was important also to keep the dust from the grain to a minimum.

The young man showing us around, whose picture I didn’t get, was very patient with the children who happened to be there at the same time. They asked a lot of questions and he answered them well, demonstrating things that he could. The children had a ride on the cart that took them to the weigh scale. They were surprised by the weight.




Back down the path and looking across the bridge and path. Quite a picture. I took few notes at the mill, but it was interesting nonetheless, and we were ready to go out for a proper meal. It had been hours, but it had been a good visit.




DSCF7568The welcome sign at the village gate


Thank you to Elizabeth King, Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator, for posting my links on the village’s blog and to all the  staff and volunteers who make this a living museum. I hope that my posts encourage others to come and visit the village as an option on their summer vacation.


Photos © C. and L. Wilker





July 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

More of our visit to Lang Pioneer Village

Truly, one can spend a whole day at this village and still come away wanting to know more.

The  Menie General Store in Lang Pioneer Village has  a little bit of everything. The building also served as the local post office.

Are we also going that way with our super centres and one-stop shopping?


DSCF7510outside the General Store (1899)




Here  people of the community could purchase groceries, household items, gifts, toys, even lace. Probably much more. There was so much to see in this building.

Inside, the smiling faces of (l to r) Audrey and Danielle, ready to help a customer and tell them what they have on hand. (Click on photo if it doesn`t open right away)






The schoolhouse, where the children received their education (1880s–1950s). Families were mainly Scots, English and Irish in this representative community.






Here teacher and school guide, Hayley, teaches an actual lesson to children visiting the village. The teacher would write the lessons on the board and the children would write the answer on their slates. Strict discipline was meted out and parents tended to back up the teacher on punishment. The desks facing front blackboard were similar to my one-room school, only our picture of the Queen was here.

Interesting to see that it shows Queen Victoria’s family and not just Her Majesty by herself. And I remember having coloured chalk and single desks.
Then on to the blacksmith’s shop




Steve, the blacksmith, answering a question of a young boy about the coal used in the forge. Coal that was used in the blacksmith’s shop as well as in furnaces to heat people’s homes, a step beyond the fireplace or hearth  in the home.



Steve and his assistant, Joseph,  doing their work with hot metal. This place could get pretty hot. Would it be welcome on a cold winter day?


At S. W. Lowry Weaver’s Shop, we saw looms for making fabric and the guide, Marie, worked alongside her helpers, Hannah 1 and Hannah 2. I collected only first names after I got permission to take photos. This building was also known as Jacquard Loom Interpretive Centre.



Marie cutting strips of fabric for the girl’s braiding project.




Threads on the loom and a completed project.





This is the second place where the students share a name and interest. Hannah 1 and Hannah 2. They’re braiding a cord to sew on a purse they have woven. It will look pretty. Good work, girls.



Back to the hotel now for some tea and cookies. We got talking to a family who were seated at the long dining room table about what they liked best about the village. The weavery and blacksmith’s place were the young people’s favourite. We talked about the wide variance in teaching methods too and I said that the dunce cap was likely not very helpful, though perhaps some of their discipline might not be a bad thing.

Our tea and ginger cookies were delicious, by the way. Thank you, girls.




Here are the lovely young ladies, Sophie 1 and Sophie 2, who took our order, served us and posed in the dining room afterwards. As it turns out, Sophie 2, on the right, is connected to the Milburn Family somewhere back in her family line. Her mother is also a “friend” on Facebook. It’s a small world after all.




Glen Aida Methodist Church (1898)


A simple worship house on the outside



Inside the church. See the pump organ on the left? Not an extreme amount of detail added outside of woodwork, but what’s there served the congregation well. I don’t know if they had cloth banners for the seasons of the church year or altar cloths. Perhaps they did.




Douro Town Hall where council meetings would be held and voting.




And a commemoration of local authors, among them Susannah Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail who were also earlier immigrants, along with their husbands. Reminded me of the storytelling duo Carol Leigh Wehking and Glenna Janzen performing their version of the women’s stories awhile ago.


DSCF7542Another desk of the period inside the town hall.



We had covered most of the village by this point, except for the lumberman’s shanty and the mill, which I’ll save for the next post, lest this one become too long.


Photos by C. and L. Wilker.  Thank you to all guides and volunteers in the village who gave permission to have their photo taken so that I could post on my blog.


July 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm 2 comments

Lang Pioneer Village–Part two of our Kawartha vacation

There was much to see and do in the area, but we’d have to figure out what we wanted to seee.  A tourist information centre in Buckhorn offered  maps and detailed information and so we made several choices for the few days we had left. Based on weather for the day, we had our minds set on several possibilities, one of which was Lang Pioneer Village. The sun came out and the sky cleared and so that’ s where we went.




DSCF7450 This pioneer village represents 1825 to about 1900 although some of the buildings are older. Here’s the visitor centre, the entrance to the village. In one room they had featured photography of the village in different seasons.



A tractor my father would like to see and it’s older than the one we had on our farm.




DSCF7458My husband standing at the gate of the Milburn House, which represents 1870s.


DSCF7459Children’s bedroom upstairs in the home, complete with doll carriage.





And next to the child’s bed, a walker. Who knew the invention was this old? But then the wheels could cause  havoc where there were stairs. See the rag rug and the chamber pot– for when there was no indoor plumbing.



Our guide, Sharon, with her two student helpers Emma and Meriah, having a crochet lesson. A bit complicated teaching the craft when you’re right handed and your student is left-handed, but the girls were sticking with it and making progress. In time it will come much easier for them.

DSCF7465The Milburn house has lovely flower beds too. Someone has a green thumb.




We stopped in at the tinsmith shop that was quite small and the carpenter shop with plenty of tools and wood. There were no guides at those buildings.




DSCF7466Where there are farming pursuits, there will be barn and wagon. Look at the bench-style seat on the wagon.




At the next crossroad sits the Fitzpatrick House. People stop to admire the gardens. This home would be built by settlers once they had some crops growing and can afford a bigger home.  The kitchen has a wide hearth where cooking would be done, and the staff here had dyed some wool. The skeins filled a basket and were dyed in a variety of colours. They used some natural dyes, but the lighter coloured wool got its shades from Kool-Aid, which I thought was pretty amusing. Makes nice shades of yarn for mittens or whatever the family would need.


DSCF7487Around the table left to right are: Hailey, Jennie, Patti and Pierre. Both Jennie and Pierre are French exchange students spending time at the village this summer.




Next we visited the Fife cabin, representing 1825, a simple, one-room log house that a settler would build when he got his plot of land. The large wooden box serves as a bed with straw mattress most likely. Only the most basic furniture would be in this cabin. See the baby cradle.

On the other side was a solid wooden table and a few other things such as a churn and a lamp. Families first coming to a lot would have had to build a shelter first, cut down some trees and plant around the stumps the first year. They might not even have a window in the first cabin as this one does. This cabin was still rather dark. David Fife, a Scotsman, is credited with introducing a hardy wheat grain to Upper Canada in the 1840s—a variety that would survive harsh Canadian winters.

From Wikipedia: David Fife wrote to a friend in Glasgow asking for samples of good seed wheat. His friend obtained a sample of wheat off a ship from Danzig, Prussia, (now Gdansk, Poland) and sent it to Fife. As it came to Fife’s hand just before spring seeding time, and, not knowing whether it was a fall or spring variety, Mr. Fife concluded to sow a part of it that spring,




Guide Cassandra, at the Fife cabin,  uses a drop spindle, and in the pot over the fire pit is wool that she’s boiling to make it clean and preparing it for dyeing. She told us what she put in the water besides alum, but I don’t remember.


Next is the print shop, the Register, where the newspaper would be printed as well as art prints, signs and advertisements of all sorts. Making a newspaper then would be incredibly time consuming, making our process today look like a whiz. Being a writer and using computers, it was interesting to see some of these processes. I wonder if they had as many challenges with their equipment as we do with computers.


DSCF7494                                                                                                                                                    in the doorway;                photo: L. Wilker





In the print shop are, left to right, Andrew and Steven. Andrew told us about the print shop and presses, but it was Steven who showed us how to reproduce a print.


One more stop and then I will continue on another post.

And here we stop into the Keene Hotel (1870s) where a young woman named Sophie took us on a tour of the hotel and her friend, Sophie, came along as support on one of her very first tours. She explained that the tea room on the left was for the women. Sometimes men could be there too, but women were not allowed in the games room across the hall. The place was busy with a tour when we first arrived, and so I didn’t take more pictures at that time. Guest rooms located on the upper floor were rated according to what the person could afford, and the family who ran the hotel had 14 children, 8 of them their own and 6 more who were nieces and nephews they raised when the children’s parents died.




We’ll stop in here later for tea and a treat  a bit later in the day, when we see Sophie 1 and Sophie 2 again.

Watch for more upcoming posts on our visit to the Lang Pioneer Village.


Unless otherwise credited, the photos on this blog are  the property of C. Wilker

July 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

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