Algonquin Birch Bark Canoe Build

Alex Guthro

LOVES Wooden Canoes
This was sent to me by Rob Stevens. If you're in the Algonquin Park area during the published dates, it would be an exciting event to watch.


Murat V

LOVES Wooden Canoes
I visited the build site on the 2nd morning of the event. It was taking place under the shaded protection of a canopy at the Lake of Two Rivers store. By then the hull had already been shaped on an elevated building bed, the gunnels lashed on with spruce root amidships and side panels stitched on. Quite a lot of work for just a single day!


The build was for a roughly 14 ft hull using a single length sheet of bark for the hull, except for two small side panels along the sides. The bark was indeed impressive. I inquired about the overall length. Chuck lamented that he had found a super tree and was peeling an impressive 42 foot long sheet. At the last moment however, the part of the bark cracked resulting in this roughly 16 foot sheet and another 26 foot sheet being reserved for another future build.


Chuck was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding pre-contact tools and various construction techniques between builders.

Interestingly, Chuck mentioned that quality white cedar that is straight grained and without branches or knots on the lower section of the tree is getting harder to find than the actual birchbark itself due local forestry practices. There was a bunch of split cedar on hand for future parts of the construction which will be taking part at the Opeongo Store near the East Gate of the Park.


Volunteers were on hand to assist with some of the building and the public was encouraged to come in close, take pictures and chat.

After it is completed and launched, the canoe will be kept and displayed at the Algonquin Outfitters Lake Opeongo store to view.