Paddling Community Mourns Loss of Canadian Canoe Museum Founder Kirk Wipper


- Advertisment -

The Canadian canoe community lost one of its most ardent supporters March 18 with the death of Canadian Canoe Museum founder Kirk A.W. Wipper, who died at age 87 as the result of a choking incident complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

“This is surely the end of an era,” museum executive director James Raffan told local papers. “Kirk will be sorely missed but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of the members, volunteers, staff and friends of the museum who join daily stewardship of these 600 canoes and kayaks — this unique portrait of Canada he created– that was his passion for so many years.”

Recognized as a pioneer in the development of outdoor education in Canada, Wipper, whose son, Douglas, lives in Paddling Life’s hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colo., owned Camp Kandalore in Ontario and was a past president of the Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association (now Paddle Canada).

“Canoeing was his true passion,” says Douglas, who also carries the torch by running a canoe school in Colorado. “He was known far and wide throughout Canada for what he did with the museum.
Indeed, Wipper is best known in Canadian paddling circles for putting together the Kanawa International Collection of Canoes, Kayaks and Rowing Craft, a collection of more than 600 watercraft that now comprises the core of the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario.

Honored last fall with the Ron Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award by colleagues in the Ontario Camping Association, which also made a film in his honor, Wipper’s work with the canoe collection dates back to 1957, when a friend presented him with a dugout canoe from the late 1800s. The collection grew and eventually became housed in a building at Camp Kandalore. In 1994, Wipper transferred control of his historic collection to the Peterborough museum.

“He was a good guy all around and it is a sad day,” said former museum chairman Don Curtis. “He was intense and demanding but still rewarding. He would recognize a good effort. He was knowledgeable and dedicated to the outdoors. He would go anywhere in Canada to collect a canoe. I was taught by him in Toronto and we struck up a friendship.”

The Kirk Wipper memorial gathering, “Travelling On: Celebrating the Life and Passions of Kirk Wipper,” will be held at The Canadian Canoe Museum on Sunday, May 1, 2011, 2 p.m. followed by a reception at the museum. Anyone moved to contribute a song or story to this celebration should contact the museum (705) 748-9153 or

Staff Post
Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

Jackson Kayaks Antix 2.0 vs. Antix 1.0 with video

    How does the Antis 2.0 compare to the Antix 1 from Jackson Kayaks?   Miles De Feyter: "It's Miles De Feyter...

COVID, Schmovid: Dane Jackson, Great Britain’s Robinson-Shaw Take World Freestyle Kayak Crowns

Even COVID-19 couldn’t keep kayak phenom Dane Jackson from winning his fourth World Freestyle Kayak Championship. British freestyle paddler Ottilie Robinson-Shaw completed...

Paddling Scotland’s Glasgow to Edinburgh Canoe Trail 

By Corey Buhay “Hiya, where you goin’ thar?” a man shouted from the shore. I looked up from my paddling...

Break Out the Popcorn: HBO/TGR “Edge of the Earth” Series Debuts

Get ready to be on the edge of your seat for "Edge of the Earth," a new HBO and...
- Advertisement -

2022 Golden Rodeo Down River Race Results

2022 Golden Rodeo Down River Race On Wednesday, June 29th, the Colorado Whitewater Association hosted a spectacular down river race...

New King & Queen of North Fork Champs: Hayden Voorhees, Jenn Chrimes Take Crowns

There’s a new King and Queen of the North Fork Championships, Idaho’s prestigious Class V kayak race on the...

Must read

Inside the Jackson Antix 2.0: An On-water Report from Demshitz’s Jesse Shimrock

What’s the latest antics with the new Jackson Antix...

Jackson Kayaks Antix 2.0 vs. Antix 1.0 with video

    How does the Antis 2.0 compare to the Antix...
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you