War Canoe

New $25K war canoe gives Banook paddlers edge in ‘very Canadian’ sport

‘It’s really a point of pride to win a war canoe race,’ says paddler Hannah Vaughan
By Nina Corfu, CBC News Posted: May 12, 2017 8:00 AM AT

The Banook Canoe Club in Dartmouth has a new war canoe, a 15-person boat that the chair of the club’s paddling committee describes as “a work of art.”

“They’re beautiful, beautiful boats,” Michael Traves said of the oversized, cedar-strip canoes during an interview with CBC’s Information Morning.

They don’t come cheap. Club members raised approximately $25,000 for the boat which was built at Bear Mountain Boats in Peterborough, Ont.

The new boat is expected to arrive in Nova Scotia by the end of May. 

Old boats were 15 years out of date

Traves spearheaded the fundraising campaign for a new war canoe after it became apparent old boats were putting the club at a competitive disadvantage.

In 2000, the standard design for a war canoe in Canada changed, he said, and the newer models are “a little faster.”

The club had four war canoes, the newest of which was approximately 40 years old. That put them “about 15 years out of date,” Traves said.

The new boat is expected to arrive in Nova Scotia by the end of May, after which there will be a grand unveiling at the club.

Uniquely Canadian

War canoe racing is a “very Canadian” thing, said Dartmouth paddler Hannah Vaughan, a Pan American Games gold medallist. The sport doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.

Vaughan, 28, who retired from the Canadian kayak team in early May, said she grew up watching war canoe races on the shores of Lake Banook.

“Being a part of that energy is something that’s really special every time.” The sport requires 14 paddlers “going as hard as they can,” plus a coxswain who steers from the back of the boat, Vaughan said. Race distances range from 200 to 1,000 metres.

The value Canadian paddlers place on the war canoe events is hard to put into words, she added.
“It’s really a point of pride to win a war canoe race,” she said. “It’s such a part of what we do.”

The great leveler

Traves said there are different age categories, but the sport is very inclusive because it requires the participation of so many.

Most athletes wouldn’t make it to nationals in a single boat — you have to be the best of the best for that, he said. But when you get into a war canoe, there’s more room for variation in ability.

“Often times you could get a boat where none of them are world-class paddlers,” Traves said.
But as a team, “they can actually do better than some of the boats that have some hotshots in them.”

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8 hours ago

Come join us this Saturday from 10am to 1pm for
our spring OPEN HOUSE. We invite you to tour our facility, renew your membership and register for our summer programs. We’ll have our gym open too so the kids can play while you register!
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2 weeks ago

#FLASHBACK Friday!

Back on August 30th, 2016 I announced an $86,000 investment in four of our amazing paddling clubs through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. I'm happy to see this funding making a difference at the clubs in our community!

Senobe Aquatic Club:
$40,000 non-repayable contribution to Senobe Aquatic Club supported the installation of new windows and siding; replacing the facility’s roof; installing ventilation in the boat bays; and exterior painting on the boat bays and shed.

Banook Canoe Club:
$20,500 non-repayable contribution to Banook Canoe Club—one of the oldest paddling clubs in Canada—is helping preserve the organization’s historic clubhouse. The upgrades included: repairing and re-shingling the roof; replacing a retaining wall; fixing water damage; improving the wheelchair access ramp; and conducting exterior painting to the building.

Mic Mac AAC (real club account):
$20,250 non-repayable contribution allowed the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club to purchase and install an energy efficient heating system. The new system is expected to lower the Club’s overall operating costs.

Abenaki Aquatic Club:
$5,250 non-repayable contribution allowed the Abenaki Aquatic Club to make upgrades to its clubhouse including: replacing a beach wall; and making repairs to the grounds, walkways, and basketball bleachers.
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