canadian canoe museum

Ontario just got a stunning new $45 million lakefront museum

Ontario just got a new lakefront museum dedicated to showcasing the world's largest collection of canoes, kayaks, and paddled watercraft. 

Located on the Traditional Territory of the Williams Treaties First Nations in Peterborough, Ontario, The Canadian Canoe Museum is situated on a five-acre site that provides west-facing views of Little Lake. 

The purpose-built, 65,000-square-foot museum cost a staggering $45 million to realize, and comes with a canoe house, gathering circle, campfire pit, accessible boardwalk, and two expansive seasonal docks to accommodate on-water and outdoor education programming. 

Designed by Unity Design Studio (formerly Lett Architects Inc.), the museum's architecture is inspired by craftsmanship, and incorporates the use of natural elements to reflect a connection to the land. 

canadian canoe museum

The exterior of the new museum. Photo: Canadian Canoe Museum.

The museum's integrated Collection Hall displays more than 600 watercraft in a Class "A" controlled museum environment, an artifact conservation standard. 

The new facility also allows for the vessels to be cared for and to have their stories shared with immersive exhibits as well as on-land and on-water visitor experiences. 

You'll also see and hear Indigenous languages and voices from the moment you enter the museum, with the local Michi Saagig dialect of Anishnaabemowin being used throughout the building. Additional Indigenous languages will be featured in relation to specific watercraft. 

canadian canoe museum

One of two new lakefront docks that will enable paddling lessons, tours, rentals, and more. Photo: Canadian Canoe Museum. 

Additional campus features include an authentic artisan and canoe-building studio to facilitate hands-on learning, an events and education centre with sweeping views of the lake, as well as a café with a fireplace and an adjacent lakefront terrace. 

The museum, which is primed to become a significant cultural and recreational tourism destination between Toronto and Ottawa, is estimated to have an overall economic impact of $111 million. 

canadian canoe museum

Photo: Canadian Canoe Museum. 

The new museum officially opens on Monday, May 13, 2024, and is located at 2077 Ashburnham Drive in Peterborough. ​​​General admission tickets, tours, and workshops are available for purchase online.

Lead photo by

Canadian Canoe Museum

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