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What model/era of peterborough is this? (my first 'real' canoe)

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Palmer, May 13, 2011.

  1. Palmer

    Palmer Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello everyone,

    Early last week I had set out with humble funds to buy a wood lathe advertised on kijiji. Buying a canoe was nowhere on the horizon, that is until the gentleman selling the lathe opened his garage, and I found my self face to face with 16' of worn, but very beautiful canvas and cedar--a 1930s/40s Peterborough Co. canoe. The owner had the canoe in his family since its purchase some time (he believed) in the late 1930s-early 1940s. It had been out of the water for some years, and the gentleman no longer had the time or interest in getting it back into water-going condition. He was however very eager that it should be sold to a good home. Very quickly I was head over heals for the canoe and probably could have used someone to hold me back, however, my father (ever the voice of reason...) suggested that I might sell the old Sportspal we had in out backyard to pay for the Peterborough. This I have since done, and am now the proud owner of a weathered but solid Peterborough Co. Canoe, which I intend to make a refinishing/restoration project of over the summer before I am back to university in September.

    All this being said I am now asking the first question I suppose most vintage canoe owners ask just after, or better yet before there purchase: What exactly is the canoe I am faced with? The canoe bares no seral number, and it's label is partially obscured. Its measurements I make at 16' length, 33 1/2" beam, and 13" depth. I have also attached some photographs of the canoe. Any information at all regarding it would be very much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    Best regards

    Palmer J

    Attached Files:

  2. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    I dunno, but your father is a very, very, wise man. I have paddled a Sportspal and I might just as well have paddled a beer can.

    The good folks on this site can have you back on the water in no time.
  3. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Sweet canoe. One of the stem faces should have a model number near the end of it. Check them carefully. Your first picture shows the stem but I can't see a number. Also check www 16' Peterborough 02 11 019.jpg 16' Peterborough 02 11 007.jpg 16' Peterborough 02 11 011.jpg 16' Peterborough 02 11 020.jpg I suspect that you have a Peterborough Champlain low end model. I have just completed one which is available if anyone is interested. See attached pictures.
  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Palmer, well will never regret the decision. You bought an fine canoe that you will restore and use for the rest of your life if you so chose. Who knows, it may be the first of many. Save that Indian design on the canvas when you replace it. The image is haunting and seemingly well done.
    Hopefully someone will plant flowers in the Sportspal:D
  5. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Palmer, congrats on your Peterborough.....the Indian head got me wondering though....could this be one of the 'Peterboroughs' made in Quebec after the Peterborough Canoe Co actually went bankrupt in early 60s....see for more. There is some discussion on Indian head decals on bow....see attached photos

    1969 Peterborough decal.jpg 1969 Peterborough canoe image.jpg

    But then the Peterborough Canoe Co. decal wouldn't be included on these Quebec 'Peterboroughs'?!?!? If it has serial number that would tell the story. Here is a list of possible Peterborough canoes from (see Wooden Heritage Identification Guide link):

    Model Number/Name/Dimensions

    Pleasure Models

    none (1929,1938) Otonabee (1st Grade)
    16 x 33 x 12
    1433 (1941,1956) Rideau (2nd Grade)

    26P (1938, 1941) Champlain Pleasure 16 x 33 x 12

    26C(1938, 1941) Champlain Cruiser 16 x 34 x 12

    1492 Champlain 16 x 34 x 12

    Cruiser Models

    none (1929,1938) Algonquin (1st Grade)
    16 x 33 x 12
    1440 (1941,1956) Huron (2nd Grade)

    Guide's Special Models

    1443 (1941) 16 x 34

    No matter what it is, definitely better than Sportspal.
    Last edited: May 14, 2011
  6. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    There does appear to be a serial number....but can't make out even under magnification....if you post this could help with ID of canoe.
  7. Jan Bloom

    Jan Bloom LOVES Wooden Canoes

    The thing to remember is that it was probably made by Chestnut under the Peterborough label.
  8. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Jan is right....if it's not a Quebec 'Peterborough' which is not likely from the Peterborough decal (the Indian head decal still poses some questions)....Chestnut did build most of Peterborough wood canvas canoes after formation of Canadian Watercraft Ltd.
  9. OP

    Palmer Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks everyone for the interest and information so far!
    I took a more thorough look at the stem faces, and did indeed locate the serial number, although obscured by ware and several layers of varnish it appears to read:
    16C 1055. The only uncertainties I have regarding the digits present in serial is the digit "C" which might be a 6, and also in the space between 16C and 1055 there may be a obscured "7". Although I believe these last two possibilities are very unlikely I thought I would include them here for others with more knowledge then myself to consider.

    In regards to the indian figurehead on the canoe, my understanding is that they were painted there, as well as on the paddles that I got with the canoe by a relative of the owner some time in the 1950s. I would certainly like to preserve them as like said above, they are indeed hauntingly beautiful. However I will not be able to do so if I opt to keep the current canvas on the canoe (post a re-filling and re-painting), which I understand may be an option, at least for the foreseeable future, until I have funds/time to undertake its replacement.

    Perhaps replacing the canvas right off the bat would be wiser?

  10. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Depends on condition and age of canvas on canoe....if not good then need to mention 'post re-filling and re-painting' regarding current canvas; if you're thinking of re-filling old (current) canvas, can't be done....all you can do is sand down canvas and repaint (from photos looks like that has been done or started); any pinholes in canvas can be filled in with auto body filler, epoxy, or Ambroid glue....check out Mike Elliot's CanoeguyBC blog and FB pages....great advice on this one,!/notes/ke...d-canvas-canoe-for-less-than-100/148983267695
  11. mark turley

    mark turley Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Do you think you can make anything from a canoe I have just bought with the number 1-92 it was on the coaming on the stern, many thanks, regards mark
  12. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  13. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

  14. mark turley

    mark turley Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Benson
    Hi Benson, I'm really struggling with loading the photos grr! I can only load one at a time, and limited to what I can write,
  15. mark turley

    mark turley Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here's the first photo Benson, I hope!

    Attached Files:

  16. mark turley

    mark turley Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The second

    Attached Files:

  17. mark turley

    mark turley Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The third

    Attached Files:

  18. mark turley

    mark turley Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Sorry I had to load them or at a time but it was the only way, regards mark

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