Volunteer Alan Weaver (foreground) and curator Peter Ord of the Penticton Museum and Archives do some prep work on one of several war canoes which are being restored and will hopefully be able to be used on the water again by next spring.

Racing canoes find new home in Penticton

Art project dubbed The Penticton Smith Works will play host to 11-metre boats while they undergo restoration work

Four racing canoes under the care of the Penticton Museum have finally found a home.

“These are war canoes that were built in the 1930s. They are sort of a hybrid design from First Nation war canoes, from the coast, together with Eastern Canadian cedar strip canoes,” said Peter Ord, museum curator. “They are really designed to be fast, not for the paddlers to sit in them, but actually to kneel in them. They have a very shallow draft, so they slide through the water.”

The museum obtained the canoes over the course of the last five years, but because of their size — 11-metres long and seating 14 paddlers — it has been hard to find a spot to store them, let alone restore them to lake-worthy condition.

“The present building where the museum is located is just inappropriate for doing all the kinds of restoration work that require old machines and materials, like working on these huge 35-foot war canoes, ” said Ord. “I have been having to move them every five or six months. We’ve been hopscotching around but finally we can say they have a home.”

That new home and restoration area is courtesy of Jennifer and Nicholas Vincent, who founded CoWork Penticton.

Their latest project, Art House Penticton, is a co-operative work space for artists and artisans at a workshop site in the industrial area.

“We were thrilled to be able to use the space for nearly all our workshop needs,” said Ord.

“So much so, we are now developing some public programming around the use of traditional artisan and craft practice and promoting our new project, The Penticton Smith Works.”

First on the list will be the restoration of the war canoes, which Ord hopes will be back in racing shape by next spring.

“Our goal is to have them in the water in May and getting teams signed up from the community to start racing them,” said Ord, noting that the museum has photos of similar canoes being raced on the lake as early as 1907.

“They were very popular in the 1910s here in Penticton,” he said. “Penticton, Peachland, Summerland and Kelowna would race against each other through a regatta series over each summer for special bragging rights and to win the Robinson cup.”

Restoration work will be handled by Shuan Boo of Peachland, who jumped at the chance when he found out the museum was interested in restoring the four war canoes.

“War canoes not only provide a great starting point for youth to get involved in competitive paddling, but it also introduces them to a valuable part of Canadian heritage,” said Boo.

“We now have a site where we could work covered through the winter, which means no more toques or cold hands.”

The Vincents are happy to be hosting the Smith Works Project, which began on Nov. 9 with a course on antique wood restoration by local antique specialist Ted Senior.

“We see Art House as a place for creative collaboration and innovation” said Jennifer Vincent. “We’re building Art House to support this kind of cross-pollination. The Smith Works brings a valuable set of skills into the building and we’re excited to see what happens when everyone is working there together.”

For more information on upcoming programs and projects related to the Smith Works, contact the Penticton Museum at 250-490-2454 or museum@city.penticton.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Minnesota standout latest signing for Okanagan BCHL squad

Liam Malmquist of Minnesota coming to Vees for 2019/2020 season

Early-morning fire destroys Okanagan packing house

Cause of fire that destroyed an Oliver packing house remains under investigation.

Video: Third annual Ellis on the Rise brings joy to community

The block party was hosted by the Downtown Penticton Association and Ellis Street business owners

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

More than just a playground: Busy Beans Play Café to help parents and children

Owners Kim Wade and Tracey Wiseman want to use their expertise to help struggling families

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Nominate your favourite businesses for the Best of the South Okanagan

Join the Penticton Western News as they celebrate the Best of the South Okanagan awards

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Okanagan group offers suggestions on overdose prevention site

Downtown Vernon Association agrees proposed facility should be near Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Brothers acquired land at entrance to Garnet Valley

Name of Summerland valley and lake does not match spelling of family name.

Most Read