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Cataraqui Boatyard Project

Cataraqui Boatyard Project

We are excited about the formation of this new group with a profound interest in heritage boat building. Through living history projects, the broad goal is to celebrate Kingston’s Inner Harbour as Canada’s oldest continuous boat building location – at least from the time of Count Frontenac – and most probably before. 

Members of the Cataraqui Boatyard Project (a sub group of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour) include

  • Dave More (group chair) –  Maritime Historian
  • Joe Calnan – Heritage Boat Builder
  • Maurice Smith – Curator Emeritus, Marine Museum of the Great Lakes
  • Andy Soper – Renowned Sail Maker
  • Tom Wroe – Co-Founder of MetalCraft Marine
  • Dave Short –  Brigantine Inc (Canada’s Original Tall Ship and Summer Camp Program)

The long-term plan is to create a building to house yearly heritage boat building activity.  Ideally it will also include facilities such as a waterfront restaurant, display space and meeting rooms.  It will be designed to be built in sections over time as financing becomes secured.  Jerry Shoalts of Shoalts and Zaback has kindly offered to design us a building for free!  We are most grateful!  We are currently examining a variety of possible Inner Harbour locations.  As we envision it going forward this project will be in tandem with, and definitely supportive of, the more traditional, and definitely valuable, archival work that has been the purview of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. 

Birch Bark Canoe Build (Spring 2020)

Members of the Cataraqui Boatyard Project are organizing an authentic birch bark canoe build in the Inner Harbour this spring with Algonquin Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Chuck Commanda. $15,000  has been awarded from the City of Kingston Heritage Fund to pay Chuck’s fee and now application is being made to RTO9 (Regional Tourism Ontario, District 9)  and the Community Foundation for additional funding for programming. The project will go ahead in any case.

Here are a few details about the project so far:

    1. The build itself will take place from April 19 – May 3 in Douglas R. Fluhrer Park in Kingston’s Inner Harbour. 
    2. It is being led by Chuck Commanda, Algonquin Traditional Knowledge Keeper.  
    3. Funding has been received from the City of Kingston Heritage Fund for $15,000 to cover Chuck’s fee.
    4. Participating in the build will be high school students from the Limestone Board of Education’s River Program, RMC cadets from the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year and inmates from Joyceville Minimum and the Henry Trail Halfway House. 
    5. Indigenous students from Queen’s and St. Lawrence College are also most welcome as are interested visitors.
    6. The official launch weekend will be June 13/14 and will consist of two days of programming.

      The Saturday will be devoted to education about Algonquin culture and will include a panel including Paula Sherman from Trent and Bob Lovelace, Algonquin elder and Mireille LaPointe, Ardoch Algonquin chief.  Algonquin author, Rick Revelle, will be there to share his books.  We are also planning a short slide show of the build itself, a feast of venison chili and bannock,  shoreline medicine walks, a blessing of the boat, and opportunities for visitors to go out on the water in authentic birch bark canoes, led by students with ORCA (Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association accreditation).