Chestnut/Peterborough Canoe ??

John Anevski

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Greetings all,

After many years, finally decided to try to figure out what type of canoe I have. I bought it back in the mid-80’s up in Juneau, Alaska. The person I bought it from said it was a Peterborough. He was selling it as he just bought a very nice birchbark canoe (yes, I drooled over that for a while). I’m thinking it was built back in the 60’s but don’t really know.

I have reviewed the Dragonfly Canoe Works database many times and each time I look I think it’s a different canoe. The length is what confuses me as it is 15 1/2'. That plus the width and depth don't seem to match up with any of the canoes listed. Would the length be off by 1/2 a foot? And if so, which way - 15' or 16'. The person I bought from said it was a 16 footer, though I never measured it until years later.

It is wood canvas, 15’ 6” long, 35 ¼ “ wide (31 ½” inside) and 12 inches deep. As the pictures show it has a single thwart. The ribs are 1 9/16” wide with 2 ½” spacing and about 5/16” thick. It is fairly lightweight when dry. It does feel tippy with two adults in it (compared to my 18’ Old Town Guide). It is stamped with the numbers 9997. The second 9 is hard to make out and may be another number.

Here’s is what I narrowed it down to based on the database (which I know could be all wrong):

Canadian Canoe – Habitant, #50, Carry, Patrol
Chestnut – Pal, Deer, Chum
Peterborough – Champlain

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, John


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You've got a Richardson Aquacraft or Rilco canoe. Richardson was a successor to Lakefield Canoe Co. The planking and seat weaving are unique and diagnostic.
The tem Peterborough tends to be generic to canoes built in, around, or in the style of a Peterborough.
Dan picked it right on.
Thanks for the reply. I've had this canoe for about 15 years and had a lot of fun with it. It's been good for poling and paddling. Need to re-canvas it someday.

Thanks, John
Photo index

It may be helpful to others in the future if a couple pictures of this Richardson Aquacraft or Rilco canoe be posted in the Photo Index section. Same thing for the 15' Rushton that was the subject of another recent thread. I think all of us should make an effort to post pictures of makes and models that are not already there. It's all great stuff, fun to look at and learn from.

Jim C.
similar to my Lakefield

A friend just gave me a canoe that looks exactly like this one (except mine is 18 feet long - 2 thwarts) His father bought it second hand 35 years ago in Ontario for him. Family lore is that it was build by Lakefield between 1920 and 1940. There is a serial number of #2789. My friend said it might be a "Canuck" model, but he isn't sure about much. Seems to align with what Dan Millers says so far. Dan, any other feedback relative to mine appreciated.

The seats, gunwhales, deck, bolts, and planking are identical to yours, John.

I'm refinishing using WCHA guidance along the way. Don't have to recanvas and no wood rot or mechanical repairs. Just strip/pain/varnish all around. Pictures -in process- attached. If it really is 70-90 years old, it is in amazing shape.

Suppose those eye bolts are original? Mine are MIA.


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Hi Kevin,

Your canoe was built by Richardson Aquacraft or RILCO sometime between 1962 and 1967. It is either the model Voyageur or the Camper.

Dick Persson
Buckhorn Canoe Company
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Thanks Dick. At first I thought you got it wrong because mine was 18 feet, based on what the friend had told me. This morning I measured myself and my canoe shrunk 2 feet during the night. Is that common? ;)