Professor Kirk Wipper was the founder of the Kanawa International Museum of Canoes and Kayaks. Which became the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Kirk Wipper (1923- 2011) sadly, a High Soul has paddled on.

The Way (a favorite poem of Kirk's) 

To every man there openeth
A Way and Ways and A Way
And the High Soul climbs the High Way    
And the Low Soul gropes the Low
And in between on the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro;
But to every man there openeth
A Way and Ways and The Way   (Kirk's personal variant on the poet's original line
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go
Click the icon to hear Kirk
 The unparalleled collection of over 600 canoes and kayaks that form the nucleus of The Canadian Canoe Museum began in 1957, when a friend presented Kirk Wipper with a dugout canoe made circa 1890.  Professor Kirk Wipper taught at the University of Toronto’s Department of Physical Health, and possessed a keen insight into the power of the canoe to tell the story of Canada’s people.  Wipper’s collection grew, and in late 1960s, with over 150 artifacts, a building was constructed to house the craft at Camp Kandalore, a residential summer camp near Dorset, Ontario.  This collection came to be known as the Kanawa International Canoe Museum.

Even with additions to the building, the collection outgrew its space.  A new home was needed, and Peterborough, the centre of canoe manufacturing for more than a century from 1850 – 1960, was a logical site.

A group of people, many of them connected with Trent University, came together to work towards creating a centre of knowledge about the role of the canoe.  In 1989, a board of directors was formed, and in 1994 Wipper transferred control of his historic collection to the organization now called The Canadian Canoe Museum. They raised money and resources to build a national museum. 

 You have to do what you can, do your best with what you are.  And you have to believe in wilderness.  If you do that you can't go wrong."


Click here to view the Museum tribute. to Kirk Wipper

Kirk Albert Walter Wipper

b Grahamdale, Manitoba, December 6th, 1923
d Peterborough, Ontario, March 18, 2011