Canoe Symposium Ideas??


Canoe Enthusiast
I was wondering if some of you folks could help me with some ideas? I would like to know what types of things you might like to see at a Canoe Symposium. This would be a small volunteer run ‘grassroots’ type one-day event. I already have a great list of ideas but I’m always looking for more input! I don’t have to worry about the hard-core paddlers stopping in but I’d like to attract some new/amateur people to paddling as well. I’m looking for two things really….the main reasons you would attend and the different or unique ideas that you would find interesting at a Canoe Symposium. I’ve asked people who don’t canoe and friends who are very much into it and have received some very good ideas. The ideas could be anything from lessons, to workshops, to presentations, etc…..What would make you want to attend one?
Dan - Thanks! I checked out the Canoecopia website. It has much of the same ideas I've been hearing only it seems to focus a lot on vendors as well. If I end up trying to put on a small symposium, it'll just be focusing on demonstrations / workshops / presentations. Canoecopia looks like quite the event!

Dan (smallboatshop) - Thanks as well! The Maine Canoe Symposium is just about exactly what I had envisioned only it's a 3 day event and ours would just be one day. Hopefully I can figure out what people would prefer to learn about or see since I don't have the time to put on all the events I would like to have. I've never been to the one in Maine but it looks like it would be a great weekend! They've really put a lot of work into it and the schedule has great variety!

I suppose another way of putting the question would be: "If you have attended Canoe 'Symposiums' in the past, which aspects of them did you really enjoy and why?"


I would start with some of the basics. I don't think most people know very much about canoe design, hull characteristics, shapes and line, straight keel, or rocker. Different materials canoes are made of and their characteristics.

I would think people who are looking for a canoe would want to know what kind they should have. People who have a canoe would be interested in canoing technique. I was watching John Candy in the movie Canadian Bacon. He was in a group of guys paddling a rubber boat accross the river to Canada and he yelled to everyone "OK lets see a good J stroke"

Variety of paddles and their uses would be interesting as well.

Have fun,


Thanks for the input! I was thinking much the same. I've tried to create a small schedule that would have things for advanced paddlers and things for beginners as well. I agree about the canoe designs and having a small seminar that explains them. I've also tried to think of 'different' things that people would want to see as well. You'd be surprised how many people have said they would like to see vintage / antique / unique canoes displayed so they could have a look. I guess it's like car shows; even the people who don't own one like to walk around and see them.


Northern Ontario. Sometime in July. I'm thinking of coordinating it with some other things happening this summer. It's just an idea at this point.

I already sent two examples above, but, since you apparently live in Northern Ontario, you might also like to know about the annual "Paddler's Rendezvous" the weekend after Labour Day at Killbear Provincial Park.
At one time it was called, hosted by an obscure group known as the Ontario Canoe Sailing Association, sometimes claimed to be headed by John Hupfield. (John; are you out there? I know you sometimes lurk around these cyberparts)

There used to be a website, but it was never kept up, so it's mostly promoted by word of mouth.

Here's a link to a related newspaper article from a couple of years back;

Thanks! I've bookmarked them all and will keep checking the sites. This would be the first year that we do this so I would want to keep it small (but fun and informative) at first to gauge the level of interest and participation. I know we have a good number of canoe enthousiasts / trippers / weekend warriors around but getting them all together on a nice summer weekend might not be that easy. I've received good feedback from those I've talked to so far so I may just go ahead with the idea anyways and if it bombs, it bombs. Then I'll know.