He and his wife Joanne have recently moved back home to live in a log cabin they built themselves where they plan to share for many years to come. Fall 2015 Canoe building for Timmins Venture Centre’s 400 year celebration of Francophonie in Ontario. March 2012- Birch bark canoe building project at H B Beal Secondary School, London Ontario.
November 2011 presenter at the Ministry of Educations Circle of Lights conference at the Royal York, Toronto. 2010 Commissioned by the Association of Professional Archaeologists to build 3 one foot canoes to accompanied with a booklet on the birch bark canoe for the Aboriginal Archaeological Liaison Initiative, Curve Lake.
I'm keen to start my build but picking a set of plans is holding me back and I need some help!
Capable of tandem camping for a couple of nights (packing lightly - my last bike trip required a single 30L pack for three days).
So far I've browsed the SF site, leaning towards the Peterborough, Hazelnut and Prospectors. I just came back fomr kringelfieber where Ipaddels an swift osprey to compare it with my sticth and glue one. Anyway, enjoy the process, and most importantly, use your canoe on the water once you have made it. Later on, I was informed my French translation was incorrect, "Maitre Canot" actually means "Master Canoe" meaning, the big one, rather than, the mother of all canoes. He is recognized as a senior artist by the Ontario Arts Council since 2008 and received OAC Aboriginal Arts Projects Grants every year since.
Self- published “OUR KNOWLEDGE CANOE: A look beyond the aesthetics of the traditional birch bark canoe of the original people of North America“.
Commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage to build a 26 foot canoe at GL Roberts in Oshawa for the Oshawa Durham Metis Council.
Ontario Arts Council Grant recipient towards Jiimaanike:The Ojibway Language and Culture of the Canoe. Ontario Arts Council Grant project called Niagara Region Metis Council Canoe at Fort Erie Secondary School, Fort Erie.
Community Canoe Building Project for the Healing for the Seven Generations, Kitchener, Ontario. Instructor INDG 4850 Learning and Living on the Land, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.
The idea was to bring back the fun of the old days when kids at summer camp would race their big canoes with kids from the other camp.
Today he is an Aboriginal Awareness speaker, an author and offers special canoe building projects at Universities, Colleges and English and French School Boards in Northern and Southern Ontario. The main difference is that we have modified the build process, and changed the shape of the sheerline. I told him about how the camp my mother went to, Camp Osoha, is still using the war canoes they had when she was a camper. We were working under a tarp canopy and keeping another tarp over the boat for protection from windy rain and leaks above. The cane is woven around and around both ways twice, then diagonally both ways, then up and down all around the edge.
The idea is to be able to interchange heads and tails for different events such as a pirate head, a mermaid head, a parrot head, or a Viking head, and tails to match. Marcel teaches canoe building at Laurentian University’s School of Architecture in Sudbury.


Then we marked off the centerline and the stations at 12” intervals on this larger sized strong-back. Before saturating the inside with epoxy plus, we put a dehumidifier in the boat and two 60 watt light bulbs with a tarp covering and let the boat dry out a few days. When we had achieved the color we desired, we did a final coat of Dura-Coat straight from the can. Two middle seats have 3 sections, the stern has one, the bow seat turned out small for two people or big for one person, all the other seats have two positions. It takes about an hour to make a paddle and more time after that to put three coats of finish on it. The paddlers were a mixed group of beginners and seasoned canoe anglers, aged young and old, male and female.
The seat stringers are the end-to-end nominal 1 x 2’s we had installed in the notches we cut in the original forms 12 inches up from the bottom.
First you draw it on the board, then band saw the shape, plane the blade with a 4” electric planer, round the handle with a router, grind out a finger grip on the handle, belt sand the blade and edges, finish shape by eye and 80 grit orbital sander, orbital with 120 grit, hand sand with 220 grit, seal, sand, finish, sand and finish again. They paddled with so much delight, chaos, chatter, and laughter that the stern coxswain could hardly keep a straight course. We took a carpenter’s pencil and sketched out a cross section of the center rib on a 24 x 48 piece of plywood.
So this board is built-in, attached to every rib, and supports all the seats at the same height. We dallied around for the cameras on another boat, waving paddles, and joking with great pleasure. We cut that out and then cut a parallel cut 2 inches away, so we had a bow-like form to bend our rib on. We used Titebond II woodworker’s glue in the seams between the planks and we used a two-part epoxy glue mixed with some sanding dust at each plank to rib joint.
Where we had gaps in the bead and cove joints we used a ketchup bottle to squeeze the epoxy into the cracks.
When we removed the temporary braces we clamped the boat side-to-side with long pipe clamps. It turns out the boat handles well in a light wind and waves, is very stable, and draws practically no water at all. We copied that 3 times, make it smaller, copied that one , made it smaller and copied that, and so we made the forms.
After planking the narrow strips around the turn of the bilge we scribed a wide bottom plank in a long arch to make the lines run straight again. We had a long discussion about the width of seats, distance between seats, and position of seats. Blade size should be larger for sprint races and smaller for distance races or touring all day. As we made these forms we cross braced them with a 2’ strip of plywood at the same height, and cut in notches for the keel, seat stringer, and inside gunwale in their same positions. After the bottom was done we went back to the first plank and continued with 2.5 inch wide planks up past the top of the inside gunwale. Everyone was giggling and trying to get in paddling synchronicity as we tried to make up paddling song.
In this book, we found line drawings and pictures of old fur-trade canoes of the Iroquois French Canadian style up to 36 feet long. As we finished each form we attached it to the strong-back building bench in its correct position.


I went to a welding shop and got a 20 foot length of steel beam the size of the trailer tongue 2 x 3 inches. After sanding and fairing the hull, and sanding and fairing the hull, and sanding some more, we applied 3.5 oz.
I removed the factory trailer tongue and installed the long length but did not yet re-install the winch and coupler.
So I got the idea to build the mother of all canoes, and name it after my Mom, whose nickname is Kiki. We used some techniques we learned from building kayaks for making the bow and stern keel stems. The stern seat has enough space for an average person to sit comfortably, and the bow seat has leg room for a tall person.
To the back end of the trailer, I installed some very hard wood, recycled from marina pilings, to bring the lights and rear roller back, and to support the rear end of the carpeted bars. I made carpeted bars from pressure treated 2 x 4”s - 16 feet long, and installed them on the trailer bed with angle brackets.
We used strips of wood to check our form as it was being shaped by holding them in place with clamps and standing back and eyeballing the boat to-be.
You use your imagination and visualize a war canoe, then take away everything that is not a war canoe.
We used a 3 x 21 belt sander very quickly at first, then finished with 5” orbital sanders.
After the boat was carried to its trailer, we adjusted the rollers and we set the tongue weight by positioning the load; about 3 feet of the boat hangs off the end of the trailer past the lights and license plate.
We made up and applied plastic laminate disks to our sanding pads to make a hard surface to stick the sandpaper on.
About 3 feet of the trailer ended up in front of the boat for the coupler and the winching post. Shaping with a round-over router bit and sanding was done before the keel was fiber glassed in place. We built a 3 piece aluminum bar for a ridge pole, with two supports in center positions and wooden holders on each end to support the Sunbrella ® custom made canvas cover. Next, we tried an epoxy paint from the Sherwin-Williams store, called Dura-Plate 235, mixed to the yellow color we liked. After three coats of that and sanding again to make it smooth, we made a decision that enough epoxy was on the boat and we just needed a nice surface color. We wanted the ease of scratch repair and the simple roll on and tip off method of painting.
So we got the color and gloss finish we wanted, on a boat we know will get scratched up, and it will never rust! Applying the fiberglass, primer, and paint to the hull took as long as it did to build the boat. The outside gunwale was then screwed and glued to each rib end and into the inside gunwale.
This filled most all the gaps we had, but then we had to trim that off with scrapers and chisels afterwards.
To avoid the high cost of individual packets of triangles and mouse papers we cut our own from an old roll of drum sander paper.



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