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Pioneers in the Field

Daniel Herald
Daniel Herald, canoe builder, designer, innovator and founder of the Rice Lake Canoe Co., ca 1870. (CSTM 940349)

The commercial history of the Canadian canoe began in the second half of the 19th century, notably concentrated in the region around the city of Peterborough, Ontario. The principal players in the formative years were John Stephenson of Ashburnham, Thomas Gordon of Lakefield, William English of Peterborough and Daniel Herald of Gore's Landing on Rice Lake. Examples of the canoes built by these men or their companies are still in evidence around the world. Yet, of these pioneers, only the legacy of Daniel Herald's commercial operations, begun in 1862, has been preserved in any depth.


Canoe mould for construction of the Herald's Patent Cedar Canoe. (CSTM 940387)

This rare material, consisting of photographs, order books, plans, certificates, trade literature, tools, and patterns and moulds, constitutes the Daniel Herald-Rice Lake collection at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. While this collection is a unique record of an important company in the commercial history of the Canadian canoe, it is also one of the finest and fullest material records of 19th-century boat building as a business enterprise in North America. As such, it also provides an important view of the social and economic history of outdoor recreation in Canada.

Explanatory drawing from Herald's Boat and Canoe Mould patent of 1871.