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Hello from Muskoka

Discussion in 'Guestbook' started by Olivemyjourneys, Jun 9, 2021.

  1. Olivemyjourneys

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Greetings all.
    Brand new member here. Ive also purchased my first year membership with the organization.

    I’ve loved wooden boats all my life.
    I’ve been fortunate to have grown up with a family cottage property in Muskoka Ontario, so exposure to this type of craft was plentiful.
    I now live here full time, and having turned 50 decided it was time for me to enjoy my own wooden boats.
    I love canoeing and have been paddling the same fibreglass three keeler for the past 20 years.
    This year I purchased an amazing wood canvas 12 footer. I don’t know the age as the people I bought it from we’re not the original owners.
    It is made by the Sturgeon River Canoe Co. in Coldwater Ontario.
    It’s a trapper style with two cane seats. I’ve removed the stern seat and replaced it with a maple thwart to accommodate loading my canoe packs further forward, while I paddle facing stern from the bow seat. I’m 205 lbs and this setup is ideal for this canoe.
    The weight of this canoe is surprisingly light… least compared to my fibreglass….. portaging is a dream. move had three trips already with this canoe and I could not be happier with it.
    I also now am the owner of a 16 footer of unknown make that I rescued this past weekend from a bonfire. The chainsaw was out and they were getting ready to cut it up just as I was driving past the property. I had to stop and ask about it.
    the story is that the grandfather of one of the group (all 20ish people) had used it but it has sat tied up under the deck since his passing quite a number of years ago.
    So….yadda yadda yadda….a quick run into town for a case of beer, and I drove away with the canoe on my truck.
    It was a wood canvas when it started life, but had the canvas removed and was fibreglassed over at some point. I know this is not ideal for this construction of canoe….but I couldn’t let it go to the bonfire. There is absolutely no sign of rot behind the Fibreglass, a spray down of water tea walls the wood behind clearly. The planks are solid throughout. It must have sat on the ground at some point for a long time as the gunwales are rotted….the keel is rotted and three ribs on the port side bow are rotted at the gunwale. The cane of the seats has been replaced with some kind of vinyl. It has two thwarts and no yoke. Flat head slotted screws (not brass) fixing the gunwales.
    the decks have also been fibreglassed over…so if there was a decal it is not visible. The decks have a half round cutout.
    there is a serial number on the stem but it’s hard to make out …. 999 0T 8 My best guess at this point.
    Anyhow, I’m thrilled to own these boats and just as thrilled to be part of this fine group.

    thank you all


    ps. My user name is from IG. My Dachshund Olive posts all of our adventures.
  2. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Hey Chris,
    Welcome. Would love to see photos of that 12 footer.
    I had never heard of Sturgeon River Canoe Co., but see they are still in existence in Victoria Harbour near Midland. No website.
    Not to be confused with Sturgeon River Paddlesports in Michigan.
  3. OP

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Hi Rob.

    I will absolutely post photos when I’ve got my 3 posts in.
    Indeed it does seem like they are still in business.
    Our lockdown ends on this Friday here in Ontario. I’ll be reaching out to them for more information at that time.
  4. OP

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Update to the mystery 16’.

    I have lightly sanded the stem varnish I’ve the serial number. It seems I was reading it upside down.
    The number appears to be C 10666
    I still have no idea as to the maker ….. but I am now wondering if the “C” has any relationship to Chestnut…??

    Hopefully I am now able to post photos
  5. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I am in Ontario too. Looking forward to getting out on the water.

  6. OP

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Here we are….as promised photos of both canoes.
    The 12’ Sturgeon. It was blue when I bought it, but clearly has red paint underneath. I repainted it and added the red and white stripes. The interior is untouched. Absolutely stunning. The yoke is made by Lolk Paddle Company.
    It is just a fabulous canoe. Loaded with two packs my Dachshund and me….it still has 6-8 inches of freeboard, and is beyond stable.

    Attached Files:

    Rob Stevens likes this.
  7. OP

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Second the mystery unit……
    15’, 7 1/2” long.
    36 1/4” beam at the middle.
    13 1/4” deep.
    move included a picture of the seat from underside….holes for threading a rope seat have been filled with wood filler.
    The decks are semi circle cut, with a chamfer on the lower carrying edge. They have also be fibreglassed over…I was able to lift the glass off the bow deck to look for evidence of a decal….but it looks to have been sanded away prior to the glass being applied.
    As you can see the rest of the boat is well glassed over. It does have a very wide keel…. 1 7/8” at the widest that tapers into the bow and stern. No brass stem caps evident, unless they are below the glass.

    Attached Files:

  8. Alex Guthro

    Alex Guthro LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Welcome Chris. Are you in the Midland / Port McNicoll area? We have another member in the area. Bill Molesworth lives in Midland. My brother-in-law lives there and moor's his boat in Port McNicoll. I hope to go by his place in a week or two. I'll pop into see if the Sturgeon Canoe co. is there. If you'd like to get on the mailing list for the Northern Lakes Chapter of the WCHA please drop me a line at Our chapter website is no fee to join.

    Have a look at the site and please think about sending in a Member profile. We'd like more people to do that.

    Olivemyjourneys likes this.
  9. OP

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Hi Alex. I am in Muskoka, Gravenhurst. If that fits your chapter I’d love to be part.
    This form and organization is new to me so I’m unsure of the Chapter regions.
    I only just bought my membership so I as yet don’t have the # that will be on the mailing envelope.
    Alex Guthro likes this.
  10. Murat V

    Murat V LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Welcome to the WCHA community, Chris. Really like your small trapper canoe...great for all the small streams and ponds around Muskoka. This year's National Canoe Day event held in Gravenhurst (at the waterfront Discovery Centre) was again cancelled due to covid, but hopefully it'll run next year!

    I spend most of the summer in just north of you in Huntsville. With the lockdown restrictions easing, we might try and organize some day paddling events somewhere in Muskoka. Might be a good chance to meet some other local members. If you send your email to Alex (our chapter head) he'll add you to the list to receive the group's email communications. Also will post in the "Upcoming Events" section of the Northern Lakes chapter website that Alex provided.
  11. Murat V

    Murat V LOVES Wooden Canoes

    About your 2nd mystery canoe. Try posting again in the "Research and History" section of the forum. More folks might see your post and respond. About your measurements...make sure the length measure isn't just from deck tip to tip, but is from the furthest point of the rounded stems. Sometimes that adds 2-4 inches to your length measure. Your canoe's depth measure might be a bit bigger too. Instead of measuring from the top of the centre thwart, take a board and lay it across the top of the gunnels at the centre point. Measure from the bottom of the board (i.e. the top of the gunnels) to the planking. From your photo, your depth looks closer to 14 inches. Decks and serial number look like a Chestnut and the wide shoe keel was common. The depth makes me think 16 foot 'Prospector' but the seats aren't the typical slat seats. Maybe the more experienced pros will give you better clues.
  12. OP

    Olivemyjourneys Chris Harris

    Thanks for the welcome Murat.
    I am absolutely going to forward my info to Alex.
    And that trapper……I’ve already done some bigger water stuff with it. I live on Lake Muskoka so my backyard is the water.
    It handles the open water crossings like a champ. Even with the weekend boat traffic sending wake from all’s quicker than you’d expect with a long otter tail paddle.

    I’d love to find a day this summer or fall to get a group together. Hopefully the restrictions allow it in good time.
  13. Alex Guthro

    Alex Guthro LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Chris, there are really no official Chapter regions that I know of. I believe a chapter can be set up when there are enough people in an area to show interest and get together. We try to serve Ontario, but our mailing list has people from all across Canada and a few from other chapters. We've had events in Waterloo, Toronto, Gravenhurst, and Westport (out Kingston way). We'd like to be able to include as many people as possible by having events in different areas.
  14. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I'm the Chapter Head for Great Rivers (Illinois and Wisconsin - ish). As far as I know, there are no hard and fast borders for Chapters... you can join up with whatever works for you, and nobody's going to care. Participation is more important than formalities.

    Also note, there is a handful of Chapters that collaborate to host the annual "Upper Great Lakes Regional Assembly," and other Regional Assemblies, as well. You don't need an invitation to attend any of these events... these events are generally posted here on the forums, and everyone is welcome to join the fun!

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