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Boreal Community Media

The Voyageurs are back on Lake Superior

May 13, 2018 04:14PM ● By Editor

The canoe glides over the swells gracefully, giving you the profound sensation that it was designed for the long horizons of Lake Superior. Indeed, this giant vessel was made for the greatest lake.

Centuries ago, enterprising fur traders conceived 36-foot-long birchbark canoes (the size of a typical school bus) to convey valuable pelts and trade goods through Canada’s wilds. They called them “canots du maître”—master’s canoes—or Montreal canoes, since fur-trading journeys started and finished at the head of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.

The simple construction of bark and cedar, stitched together with spruce roots and waterproofed with pitch, was inspired by the ingenious craftsmanship of the First Nations. Before the first locks and long before the creation of an international seaway, these canoes—paddled by teams of French Canadian “voyageurs”—were integral to Canada’s oldest industry.

Naturally Superior Adventures’ replica canot du maître may be moulded in modern fiberglass, but its dimensions closely match those of the originals. On the water, it paddles much the same: Spacious, fast and stable, capable of handling moderate waves, and light and manoeuvrable enough to be safely pulled ashore on beaches. It is the ideal vessel for paddlers looking to experience the wild shore in safety, comfort, style, and historical relevance.

Last summer, Wawa’s Naturally Superior Adventures celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday with a series of guided voyageur canoe journeys. For 2018, the outfitter is building on the sesquicentennial program with a new array of themed wilderness trips for all levels of paddlers and campers.

The tours are all-inclusive, with high-quality gear, gourmet meals and professional guiding, along with knowledgeable and charismatic hosts.

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