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1966 Chestnut Centennial Canoes

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Donald Downing, May 11, 2021.

  1. Donald Downing

    Donald Downing New Member

    Hello: researching the 1966 Chestnut Centennial canoe I stumbled on an old thread in this forum from "Paul" aka "Nachako" who had acquired two 1966 Chestnut Centennial canoes. Any leads back to this thread or subject welcomed. I'm wondering where these boats went. Donald Downing, Vancouver

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  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  3. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Wow Don, good question!
    I am going to admit that on first read I thought you had it wrong.
    After all the Centennial race was in 1967...and I know where many of those fiberglass canoes are and I have in fact paddled one but as this is Wooden Canoe Heritage , your question was rightly about the '66 Chestnut canoes.

    To add detail- and correct part of the thread to which Benson linked- when the idea of a cross- Canada Voyageur canoe race to celebrate Canada's 100th Birthday was broached, a couple of competitive canoe racers approached Chestnut to build a 25' cedar canvas boat. Vic Maxwell from Rocky Mountain and John Nikel from Flin Flon and a team tested it and based upon their approval, additional canoes were constructed for the trial races in 1966. Apparently 12 or 13 were constructed.
    The trials however proved that the cedar canvas boats were too fragile for the race and so fiberglass boats were ordered. Chestnut wouldn't build them so the actual Centennial boats were constructed by Cadorette in Quebec and shipped to Rocky Mountain House for start of the race to Montreal in May 1967. ( Anyone interested in the story of the Centennial Voyageurs should track down a copy of Doreen Guilloux's book "Paddling Portaging and Pageantry")

    So...back to your question Don, no I don't know where THOSE canoes ended up, but please share when you track them down.

  4. OP
    Donald Downing

    Donald Downing New Member

    Thanks Bruce: when scrolling for something else I found: "I have at my disposal 2 1967 25' Centennial Chestnut wood canvas canoes . That have just been restored ( thanks Gregor & Mark). These gems are going to be celebrating their 50th birthday this year and we are having a mini celebration in Lake Louise Alberta on July 1" on this discussion site from "Paul" aka "Nachako" dated 2017.
    So there are two accounted for in Alberta? Also I found another story about a canoe club in Ontario that got a couple and tripped in them - maybe still are doing so. There's an interesting tale about a battle for the Ontario '67 fibreglass canoe between the canoe club which has it and the town of Atikokan which wants it...that's for another time.
    I paddled the big race in '67 for NB; we practiced in the 1966 Chestnut (NB's now gone as far as I know). Chestnut described them as all-cedar, 25' x 51" wide x 19" deep & 235 lbs.
    I am told the Sask 1966 canoe was placed in a museum in the Creighton/Flin Flon area.
    Anyway I'm interested to know if people come across these wonderful old canoes that may have been brought back to life.
  5. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Don- my apologies for restating history you knew- and lived!!!:)

    I have had the pleasure of paddling- and lifting a glass or two -with a few other Centennial paddlers over the years. Norm Crerar was part of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Rocky Mountain House to Fort William; Dave Maclure was with us paddling the Columbia Brigade in 2011 and Vic Maxwell was a big part of the organizing committee for both those Brigades- and others- as well as honourary Chair of Paddling events for the Alberta Masters Games a couple of years back. In fact, last time I chatted with Vic was right in front of the Alberta Centennial canoe at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site!

    It might be worth reaching out to Vic regarding those old Chestnuts. He was able to get us a couple of old Centennial fibreglass spares for the 2008 Brigade and seems to know where a lot of old boats are now...

    Cheers! Bruce
  6. OP
    Donald Downing

    Donald Downing New Member

    Thanks Bruce: Norm C. is among the best at keeping in touch amongst the living veterans of '67. I raced 2-man marathon with David Maclure in Alberta & Flin Flon in the late 60's & we met up again in Fredericton in 2017 when I joined the NB 50th reunion & he very coincidentally paddled the St John River Brigade.
    Maybe I'm chasing ghosts - but a few of these boats may have been renovated & turn up somewhere like the two referenced in that old post. Vic M is likely a good lead.
    Best regards,

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