is perhaps highly fitting that Mac’s trips should be
followed by Max. The Mac in question is Alexander
Mackenzie, voyageur leader based in Montreal and the Max
in answer is Max Finkelstein, peripatetic paddler based
the last three summers of the 1990s, Max Finkelstein
traversed Mackenzie’s route in various directions with
various partners, one of whom he later married!
readers may well recall one section of the journey that
Max described for us in Outfit 95. Max is truly the
happy wanderer. He is tough, dedicated and determined
and approaches each new adventure, town or person with
the same happy inquisitiveness.
writes in a snappy narrative style with lot’s of
conversational bits that keep the reading interesting.
His journey is only partly what many would consider a
wilderness trek. That’s because Max loves to meet
people and break bread with them and hear some of their
stories. He tells us of the best place for fish and
chips in Killarney and how to make an Eatmore sandwich
on the Athabasca River.
writes in short sentences with bubbling enthusiasm
carrying us along on its current. Like these thoughts on
big canoe trips. “Big journeys are exclamation points
in our mundane little lives. Completing them, or just
surviving them, gives us memories that we use to define,
or redefine, ourselves.”
what makes this book work. It is not a clinical
examination of the route taken by Mackenzie. It
is how that route is alive today and the people
along it who keep it that way. Max’s day job,
by the way, is communications consultant to the
Canadian Heritage Rivers System, so mixing work
with pleasure certainly works in his case.
blends the past with the present in a delightful way.
And he does it all while heeding his Dad’s advice to
find happiness where it is and not bothering to look
where it ain’t!
— Michael Peake
Greg Marchildon & Sid Robinson
Plains Research Centre
thing kept going over and over in my mind as I read this
incredibly thorough and well illustrated guide to
Saskatchewan’s Churchill River; how much would this
hefty tome weigh when wet?
there is little doubt you could you not take these 476
richly-filled pages in the canoe you while paddling this
great river – and we know what happen to things
in a canoe.
the Churchill is the third volume in the Discover
Saskatchewan series of books about Canada’s prairie
province published in connection with the University of
Regina. Authors Marchildon and Robinson are to be
heartily congratulated on what is clearly a labour of
love for this magnificent
In fact the project was appropriately born under
the glow of a kerosene lamp, of these two
cottaging neighbours, along the Churchill itself,
16 years ago.
rapid is featured and discussed. Every historical
site is noted and illuminated. The native
presence, the voyageur past and the paddler’s paradise
all part of what makes up a canoe trip down the
are hundreds of illustrations of the river, its people
and pictographs including numerous maps and diagrams of
rapids. All in all, it is an incredible resource. A
superb companion to a great river.
— Michael Peake
by John Jennings
2002, 288pp. $59.95
The Canadian Canoe
Museum has finally blossomed into the beautiful creation
that was in the mind of its founders. It has taken many
years and millions of dollars but the Peterborough
museum can now take its place with any signature stop
around the world.
Canoe: A Living Tradition grew out of that
transformation and this handsome volume,
featuring 400-plus illustrations, is a superb
companion to our world-class museum.
by John Jennings, a director of the CCM and a professor
at Trent University, The Canoe takes a lavishly
illustrated look at a variety of canoes from around the
world that have come to reside in the collection.
Appropriately there is a chapter written by our friend
Gwyneth Hoyle on the man who got it all started – Kirk
Wipper, who recently received the Order of Canada.
began the collection decades ago, undertaking it as a
personal project. It took a great many years and much
discussion to transfer the collection from Wipper to the
much larger and well funded modern museum, which in turn
took many years to get to where they are now. All that
matters little – they made it!
book is divided into three sections; The Native Craft,
which includes birchbark boats, dugouts, kayaks and
umiaks; The Recreational Canoe which highlights the mass
production of wooden boats and the rise of canoe racing;
and Preserving the History of the Canoe with its
chapters on Wipper and Edwin Tappan Adney, a man who
died in 1950 after producing 125 exceptional models of
traditional canoes and a huge array of canoe building
history and plans.
ubiquitous James Raffan is also present, adding a couple
of pages at the end of the book with a thoughtful essay
on the book’s title and meaning.
Canoe features superb reproduction – and it was
printed in Manitoba! – that certainly adds to the
overall presentation along with a great selection of
archival photos. A wonderful book to leaf through or
read some of the wonderfully detailed information on a
tremendous variety of hand-hewn watercraft.
— Michael Peake