Wood and Canvas Canoes

Inside of a Wood and Canvas Canoe

"Wood and canvas canoes are strong, seaworthy, exceptionally responsive to the paddle and soothing to the human spirit "

 Hugh Stewart, master canoe builder, Headwaters Canoes

Cedar and Canvas Adventures uses wood and canvas paddle canoes for reasons stated in the above quote.  Our 18' (5.5m) paddle canoes have been built by Headwaters Canoes on an original Chestnut Prospector form – the workmanship is impeccable and the canoes are without compare.

Yukon Canoeing Solitude

Bill Mason, Canada's most famous canoe tripper, stated with absolute certainty that if he could have only one canoe, it would be the wood and canvas Chestnut Prospector.

R.M. Patterson, in his explorations of the Nahanni River in the 1920s and 30s, utilized the renowned Prospector wood-and-canvas canoe of Chestnut and Peterborough designs.  For more on Patterson and his canoes, an excellent read is his book The Dangerous River.

Based on the birchbark canoe of the Penobscot Indians of the northeastern United States, the wood and canvas canoe was developed in or around the 1870s. With a construction design based on a form, the wood-and-canvas canoe became viable for commercial production and companies such as Chestnut, Peterborough, Old Town, Faber and E. M. White sprang into being.

Happy times on a freighter canoe in Yukon

The canoes were exceedingly popular with explorers, hunters, fishers, prospectors, naturalists, surveyors, trappers and trippers because of their strength and stability, the ease with which they paddled, their natural beauty and the simplicity of repairs in the field.

The canoes became entrenched in the Canadian wilderness persona for many decades and then suffered drastically to the wave of new canoe building materials that began to flood the market in the 1960s.  Chestnut Canoe Company and many other wood and canvas canoe manufacturers closed their doors.  Today, the wood and canvas canoe has regained a foot hold, finding a niche market of people that appreciate the fine qualities.

Yukon Canoeing on a Paradise LakeCedar and Canvas Adventures also uses 22' (6.7m) wood and canvas freighter canoes for our early season Yukon River trips when there is still ice running in the river, our lake Fishing trips and our late September trip on the Big Salmon River.  These huge, outboard powered canoes of the Chestnut, Faber and Nor' West designs, are square sterned, high in the bow, deep, very wide, flat bottomed with a very shallow draft and capable of carrying loads up to 1800 kg (4000  lbs).  Their stability is well suited to groups with small kids - one can walk around in them and, in fact, even walk along the gunwale!

Cedar and Canvas Adventures maintains its canoes in perfect working order.  Our workshop during the winter is kept busy with the upkeep of our own fleet and doing repairs for other wood and canvas canoe owners.  Refurbishments and complete restorations have been done on the following types of canoes: Chesnut, Peterborough, Faber, Lakefield, Langford, Teslin, Tremblay and Huron Village.  


Contact Information

Cedar and Canvas Adventures P.O. Box 10223 Whitehorse, Yukon Canada Y1A 7A1




Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon


Yukon Tourism - Larger than Life


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