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Pioneers in the Field

The early commercial history of the Canadian canoe began in the second half of the 19th century, in the region around 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 the companies they founded 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. That material, consisting of photographs, order books, plans, certificates, trade literature, tools, and moulds, is part of the Daniel Herald–Rice Lake collection at the Canada Science and Technology Museum(940319-940361, 940363-9400391, 940393). In addition to being a unique record of an important commercial player in the history of the Canadian canoe, this collection is among the finest and most complete material records of 19th-century boat building in North America.

Daniel Herald, founder of the Rice Lake Canoe Company. (CSTMC)

Rice Lake Canoes, circular, ca 1877. (CSTMC)

Illustration of Herald Bros. Canoe Co. factory from catalogue, 1892. (CSTMC)

Rice Lake Canoe Company catalogue covers, 1892, 1900 and 1927. (CSTMC)