$7.5 million Weston donation propels Canadian Canoe Museum

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is investing $7.5 million in The Canadian Canoe Museum, helping construct a new facility at the water’s edge, building on its more than 20-year-long legacy of leadership with the organization. This lead private gift will support capital costs and educational program development for the new museum, to be built alongside the Peterborough Lift Lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway – both National Historic Sites – in Peterborough, Ontario. It is the largest known private one-time gift to a charitable organization in the City and County of Peterborough.

A rendering of the future Canadian Canoe Museum. Image via canoemuseum.ca
A rendering of the future Canadian Canoe Museum. Image via canoemuseum.ca

“From the high-profile headquarters that is the new museum, we will be inspiring Canada – by canoe. This investment is indeed, transformational, and will not only support the construction of the new museum, it will see our programming reach more people inside the museum, outside the museum, and virtually, around the world,” said John Ronson, Chair, Board of Directors, at an announcement at the museum earlier today.

The Canadian Canoe Museum stewards the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft, and is currently housed in a 1960s-era former factory building. The new museum, which will make accessible all 600 watercraft, thousands of small artefacts and an archive, is an 83,400 square-foot facility designed by an award-winning team of heneghan peng architects (Dublin, Ireland) with Kearns Mancini Architects (Toronto, Canada). The museum has partnered with world-class exhibition design firm GSM Project to create one-of-a-kind visitor experiences. The museum project has received foundational financial support from municipal, provincial and federal governments, and construction is scheduled to begin early next year.

“The Foundation is pleased and proud to provide the lead private gift to the capital campaign. We have shared the vision for the new museum for quite some time now, and it is a privilege to be making it public today. This is an opportunity to be part of history in the making and to bring to life a new museum that has a national role to play. We hope that this investment will inspire others to support this extraordinary endeavour,” said Garfield Mitchell, Director, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. The Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the museum dating back to 1995, two years prior to its opening, and was instrumental in its founding. Named The Garfield Weston National Heritage Centre, the galleries were dedicated at an event attended by Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Hilary Weston and Galen Weston in 1998.

“We are so grateful for this gift to our capital campaign. While it brings the future of the organization into sharper focus, we know that it will also inspire others from coast to coast to coast to contribute,” said Bill Morris, Campaign Chair.

The construction of the new Canadian Canoe Museum will be supported by a $65 million fund raising campaign, as well as $9 million of funding from the government of Ontario. Along with the museum, County of Peterborough Warden Joe Taylor and City of Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett celebrate, applaud and appreciate the Foundation’s historic investment in the region.