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Canoe Trails and Shop Tales by Hugh Stewart

Discussion in 'Books, Videos, and the Like' started by mccloud, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    If you are like I am right now, staying home with lots of time for working on canoes, you’ve found that you can only sand white cedar for so many hours and then you have to do something else, - one of those other things being the reading of a book. Recently I bought Canoe Trails and Shop Tales by Hugh Stewart. Hugh was the owner/operator of a canoeing camp in Ontario named Headwaters, doing canoe tripping in the summer, and in the winter building wood/canvas Headwaters canoes. One of his forms is an original 17’ Chestnut Prospector. You can search on Headwaters canoes in these forums and find several posts. Other worthwhile places to look are:


    Only recently has Hugh eased himself out of the canoe building business, which continues to operate, and has written this book, which is a kind of reminiscence. There is no plot, but rather a series of chapters on various topics which interest Hugh. As someone who paddled in the north most every summer for years, obviously there has to be some tripping stories, but in addition he talks about some memorable people he has met along the way, the lumberyard from which he obtains white cedar, and his philosophy of forestry and portaging. He talks a lot about the wilderness tripping ethic, and how a wooden canoe is the perfect vessel for that. He shows his interest in researching and re-tracing the canoe routes taken by explorers of the north, particularly AP Low, JB Tyrrell and others in the Geologic Survey of Canada who made lengthy surveying trips in wooden canoes. A number of maps and B&W photos are included.

    This book is published by McGahern Stewart Publishing, Ottawa, which has brought back into print several northern classics, like Sleeping Island by PG Downes, but strangely I did not find this book listed on Amazon. You may have to order it from your local bookseller: ISBN 978-0-9868600-7-2.

    Well written and enjoyable, I fear this book will not find a wide audience, but if you self-identify with the small cadre of wooden canoe devotees, and find yourself with sanding fatigue, chances are you will like it. Tom McCloud
    Benson Gray likes this.
  2. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Full title; Canoe Trails and Shop Tales. Making Crooked Nerves Straight

    I am not sure what book search you used, but I found 4 copies via Bookfinder;

    I bought the last one listed via Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) as that was one of the first such services, and it's Canadian.

    AddAll also lists 2 copies. This services does a combined search of 22 used book services;

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  3. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Just to add to Rob's note, the book is available straight from the publisher too.

    ( This includes details of some of those other books that Tom referenced as well- as well as links to many of PG Downes original colour slides).

    And once this "thing" is over, and you get a chance to visit Ottawa, don't hesitate to spend several hours perusing the gems in Patrick McGahern Books, across from National Gallery at the edge of ByWard market.


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