We are honoured to announce that the Legacy Canoe (1867-2017) is joining us on Sunday, September 24 for the Great Lakes Water Walk!

Our wish for the Canoe is that its Journey takes it to a place where love and care and consideration will be given to its origin, its legacy, its beauty and its place in our hearts. This vessel deserves respect and a future that conveys the spirit and belonging to the sacred waters, the truth, the purpose and the gift of life on this planet Earth.

The Canoe is an enduring symbol of the skill, imagination and the deep practical knowledge of the First Nations’ People, since times immemorial. Its invention was an essential communication and transportation tool, for First Nations and then for the Europeans, in a land where the only roads were rivers, distances were far, and portages were many.

If ever there was one single invention that made the exploration and travel possible, it was what the First Nations created: the canoe. It was an invention perfectly adapted to meet and overcome the challenges of the geography, with speed, grace, and practicality.

In this year 2017, while Canadians observe 150th Anniversary of the Confederation, the Broad Reach Foundation wishes to contribute to the Spirit of Reconciliation that we believe is so necessary between our indigenous and non- indigenous societies. The Foundation, with support from the Federal Government, completed Project Coastline where non- indigenous youth participated in the building of a canoe.

This Project engaged the youth to discover with their hands, hearts and minds, how much value a canoe represents – in terms of the skill, ingenuity, and sense of practical beauty which the First Nations demonstrated, every time a canoe was launched on rivers, lakes and the oceans. The canoe building process re-activated an essential element of life, a symbolic gesture of good will that brings cultures together in the present, just as it sometimes did in the past, through creativity, transportation and communication.

The canoe was named 1867-2017 Legacy Canoe, and was built over a period of eight weeks, by six teens from the Canadian Association for Girls in Science. They are: Samantha Farrow, Emma Hardcastle, Karah Jensen, Jennifer MacKenzie, Eila O’Neiland and Afra Quadri – with a little help from a Golden Retriever named Dover.



Mentorship for building of this traditional, white cedar planks on steam-bent white cedar frames, 15’ x 3’ chestnut ranger canoe was provided by Peter Code, John Summers a nd Peter Gould, Master Boat and Canoe Builders.

The hull design was created and applied by students from the Etobicoke School of the Arts, with the winning design by Sadie Phillipson being chosen from over 80 submissions. The design, reminiscent of works by Ted Harrison was applied with love, brush and silver leaf and carefully coated for protection.

The fluid, wavy lines suggest not only the Northern Lights — the magnificent Aurora Borealis – but also the speed and grace of the canoe in water, and the colour palette reminiscent of the range and diversity of the many peoples and places, flowing and integrating freely. All this made possible by the skills, imagination and creativity which we can all share today, but which began with the First Nations, at the dawn of time.

We are honoured that the Legacy Canoe (1867-2017) will join us for the inaugural Great Lakes Water Walk – a ceremonial walk that braids ceremony, spirit and community together to teach about the sacredness of water. With this awareness we can all become informed caretakers of the water. Whether you live in the East or West end of Toronto there are starting points that will bring everyone together at Marilyn Bell Park for drumming, dancing and singing and a ceremony. Will you walk with us #BecauseOfWater?


Walk With Us!


Information and photos posted with permission from Broad Reach Foundation for Youth Leaders.