Begun in January of 2016, the Voyageur Project has the following goals:
To construct two Voyageur multi-paddler canoes, engaging students in all stages of design and construction
To participate in C 150 events with these canoes, showcasing the historical significance of the canoe in the history of Canada
To add to our existing canoe program the skills and experience of paddling large canoes
To date, we have completed our first Voyageur Canoe. It measures just over 25 feet in length and seats 10 paddlers. Students and staff were able to bring it out for a short paddle in early December prior to winter setting in, so now we are really anticipating the spring and the chance to get some real paddling under way!
From the beginning of construction to the present, we have been able to fund our first boat and part of the second through fundraising and sponsorships by local businesses and organizations. This year, we have run two more fund-raisers to help finish the second canoe and to send a team to participate in the St. John River Brigade which will paddle over the course of one week, July 15-22, 2017, the length of the St. John River from Florenceville to St. John, New Brunswick. Additionally, we are working with partners from this Brigade together with representatives of the Hillsborough River Association to establish a 2-3 day Confederation Brigade on PEI from July 23-27th, 2017. Information on both events can be found at http://voyageurbrigade.org/
The canoe was the key technology in the early opening up of Canada through her many rivers, first by Aboriginal Peoples who had developed their own regional designs over many many years and then by the early French in the 17th and 18th Centuries who paired with indigenous peoples in the fur trade, exploration and mapping.
From one-man boats to huge freighters paddled by 10-20 or more people and capable of carrying tonnes of cargo, the canoe is a symbol of our shared Canadian heritage which retains its importance to the present in travel, recreation, sport, hunting and fishing. To be able to build, paddle and maintain a canoe is to shake hands with the earliest peoples of our country and to come to know the extraordinary natural beauty of our wilderness.