The Birch Bark Canoe – The Canadian Time Machine

Post date: Sep 12, 2019 2:31:16 PM


The Birch Bark Canoe – The Canadian Time Machine will be the next presentation of the Bromley Historical Society. The talk, on Saturday September 21st, will be given by well-known Whitewater residents Dave Fleming and Bob Whillans. It will begin at 2pm, in the Old Town Hall, Micksburg Road Osceola.

The canoe, a living testament to the ingenuity of First Peoples, is a powerful symbol in the Canadian imagination. Before the Europeans, canoes gave First Peoples the ability to travel in search of food, people, and to trade goods. When the colonists arrived, they adopted indigenous technologies such as the canoe, gaining access to people and resources, often with devastating consequences on indigenous peoples. The canoe also played a critical role in the surveying and mapping of the territory that became the Dominion of Canada.

This presentation will draw upon and pay homage to the skill of the First Nations people. It will give an overview of canoe construction and the use of different bark selections, spruce roots, hand split cedar and spruce gum.

Dave Fleming has been whittling since the age of six. Fascinated with the traditional snowshoes and birch bark canoes, he has been advised by Algonquin and Ojibway (Anishinaabe) builders. Bob Whillans, an avid canoe man since his youth, has a varied collection of vintage canoes, including several beautiful cedar and canvas ones and a heritage birch bark. An experienced paddle maker, he custom carves paddles to fit the user’s tastes and paddling styles.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Following the event, refreshments will be served.