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Rice Lake Rowing Skiff by Joe Paterson, Peterborough, ON Canada

Posted on April 22 2014

By Joe Paterson

In my youth, I spent many wonderful days paddling the Muskoka Lakes and Algonquin Park. From these experiences I often dreamed of owning a canoe and in later life, of building a canoe. My chance came on a trip to Port Carling where I bought the 16" Bear Mountain Canoe Model Kit. It proved to be a most satisfying small project, but I still wanted a full size canoe. In my retirement years, we moved to the Peterborough area and I took the opportunity to visit the Bear Mountain Boat shop. Here was the answer to those dreams. I shortly after spent a great week with Ted, building two kayaks. I was hooked ! However, the practicality of building and owning a canoe came into question my advancing years and less than flexible knees. The Rice lake Rowing Skiff was the answer. I could row a boat, but not paddle a canoe. So I bought the plans for the circa 1890's Rice Lake Rowing Skiff from Ted. Our property has a fairly dense growth of white cedar and since I have been working as a volunteer, restoring the Hope Mill (circa 1835 saw mill) on the Indian River we cut, with the help of a good neighbour, logs which we then delivered to the Hope Mill to saw into planks. The planks were later ripped, planed and edged (bead & cove) at the Bear Mountain Shop. I was happy to be able to fit the boat building form into my shop and thus began many months of exercising the recently learned strip planking skills I learned with Ted. Without a doubt one of the most satisfying and demanding projects I had ever undertaken. The only material not from our property was the Sitka Spruce I obtained from BC to build the oars which are based on those built by the Peterborough Canoe Co. in the early 20th century. Ever summer on our family vacation, I have the pleasure of rowing my boat in the peaceful Rideau Lakes area, and reminisce on the happy coincidences that  resulted in achieving my early dreams. I am truly indebted to Ted and Joan for their help and advice on this project. Joe Paterson


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