William English Canoe Company

Dan Miller

cranky canoeist
Staff member
[H=1]William English Canoe Company[/H]

The William English Canoe Co. was established in 1861 by William English. He died in 1891, and the business carried on under William's younger brother Samuel and partners John Carveth and John Baptiste O'Dette. In 1914 the company was purchased by the owners of the [manufacturers]Peterborough Canoe Company[/manufacturers] who maintained the English brand name until sometime in the 1920's, but moved operations to the [manufacturers]Peterborough Canoe Company[/manufacturers] factory. The charter of the company was surrendered late 1932[footnote]Brown, 2011[/footnote].

[H=2]Canoe Models Offered[/H]
  • All-Wood Open Canoes - William English offered all-wood canoes in basswood or cedar [basics=The Wide Board Canoe]wide-board construction[/basics] and longitudinal cedar strip construction. Numerous models were offered that ranged in length from 13-1/2' to 20'.
  • Freight Canoes - built in all-wood or canvas-covered construction in lengths ranging from 17' to 20'.
  • Half-Deck Canoes - built on the same models as open canoes.
  • War Canoes - all-wood construction, 30' in length and accomodates 15 paddlers.
  • Canvas Covered Canoes - offered in two models (Otonabee and Alqonquin) and built in lengths from 15' to 18'

  • The illustration of the English canvas-covered canoe in the 1918 catalog is identical to that used for the [manufacturers]J.H. Rushton[/manufacturers] Indian Girl canoe beginning in 1902.


  • Brown, Ken. 2011. The Canadian Canoe Company & the Early Peterborough Canoe Factories. Cover to Cover, Peteterborough, Ontario.
  • Brown, Ken. 2001. The Invention of the Board Canoe. The Peterborough Stories from their Sources. Canadian Canoe Museum, Peterborough, Ontario.
  • Cameron, Dr. D.W.G. 1982. Birth of the "Peterborough" Canoe: Four Builders Start a Revolution. Wooden Canoe 9:4-9 (Winter 1982).
  • The Wm. English Canoe Company. 1918 (reprinted 2008). Canoes, Row Boats, Etc. Reprint by Roger MacGregor, Plumsweep Press, Ivy Lea, Ontario. Available from the WCHA Online Store.