Globe & Mail: 'Canadian Craft Encounters Rapids'


LOVES Wooden Canoes
The Globe and Mail published the following article on canoe building in Canada today, There was also a photo essay on Bill Miller and his canoe building business, Finally the Globe asks the ‘age old’ question of “How to straighten up and paddle right” in Collected Wisdom….or rather “What to do in a canoe”,

The article on canoe building in Canada,, was very interesting….especially about Bill Miller who is running the current oldest canoe building operation in Canada…Bill Miller’s workshop is near the Tobique River in northern New Brunswick and he lovingly crafts canvas-covered cedar canoes in the tradition established by his grandfather in 1925.

So this Globe and Mail article details the current canoe market in Canada, from Miller’s 85 year old small operation with a production of about 6 canoes a year (plus restoration and even scale models) to Langford Canoe (based near Dwight, Ontario who claim to be Canada’s oldest canoe builder of any significance after 70 years, because they produce so many canoes….even though they outsource their canoe production)….and includes a list of some other current canoe builders from across Canada (as well as some interesting insights from each).

I love the following quotes:

Making love in a canoe is hard – as any true, hot-blooded Canadian knows – but making money from canoes is even harder. – Globe & Mail article, A Canadian Craft Encounters Rapids, by Gordon Pitts

Unless you are building a couple of hundred boats a year, you don’t count - Steve MacAllister, president of Langford Canoes

There are probably 100 guys in Canada that have been building canoes in their garage for years, but they don’t really count as companies - Steve MacAllister, Langford Canoe

Every year, we get some farmer come in and say ‘Well, we’ve been building canoes for 250 years.’ We say, ‘Great, and so have the Indians, but are you building thousands of them a year for 40 straight years?’ The answer, of course is, ‘No, we build one a year if we’re lucky.’ - Steve MacAllister, Langford Canoe

I have no interest in building a plastic canoe – Bill Miller

I’ve got 36 more years before I retire. I will gladly build my last canoe on my 100th birthday – Bill Miller

The canoe market is moving back to where it used to be – Bill Swift, on the trend of young families and baby boomers away from power boats due to awareness of the environment and physical fitness

I’ve been doing this since I was a kid – Barry Sharpe, Sharpe’s Canoes, Mann’s Mountain, N.B.

My hands are on every stage of production. If you spend two or three months making something, it becomes a chunk of you, like for a painter. - Will Ruch, Ruch Canoes, Bancroft, Ont.

The survival formula in canoe making is “being married to someone with a real job.” - according to John Kilbridge, Temagami Canoe Company, Temagami, Ontario

As someone said, canoeing is a fringe activity and wood canoes are the fringest of the fringe - Doug Ingram, Red River Canoes, Lorette, Man.

No one gets rich making canoes - Larry Bowers, West Country Canoes, Eckville, Alta.

Check out this series from the Globe and Mail for more….very interesting read….from the Globe feature, I also found out Swift Canoes loaned the canoes for G8 fake lake in Toronto….as well as Langford made the cherry paddles presented to each leader at G8 Summit.

Paddles up until later then….for me it’ll be a wood canvas canoe I’ll be paddling.
John is right about Miller's shop....wonderful place to visit....but not part about being tidier than John's shop LOL LOL (I think)