Tippecanoe on Yarmouth County waters
There’s something about a wooden canoe that is so special – and this one perhaps more than most.
Our family bought the cottage property we own in nearby Deerfield, NS in the early 1950’s and along with the cottage and barns came another item – a very nice, but even at that time quite elderly Chestnut canoe. Through research, I’ve discovered that our canoe is a Chestnut Prospector and it was manufactured in the old Chestnut plant in Fredericton, New Brunswick prior to 1920. This means that “Tippecanoe”, as the family calls her, is now over 100 years old!
During Tippe’s life with us she’s endured a lot of hardships, from trouting expeditions over stony streams in the back country to being the main camping vessel favoured by teenage boys to traverse the lake in, she’s seen a lot of water under the keel. Tippe sat kind of forlornly in the cottage boat shed in the 1970’s, because she leaked so badly and was so heavy when wet! We had other canoes at the cottage – both aluminum and plastic – and so Tippe simply became unused. As a result, when Norma and I moved to the Lockeport area, I took Tippe over to Shelburne County and did some homemade repairs to her – enough that I could use her on the lake and stream across the road from our property.
When we moved back to Yarmouth County, I brought Tippe home, and a couple of summers back decided she needed professional help. I took her to Dan Peacock, ironically in Shelburne, and he worked on her for the better part of a year, but got Tippe back to being watertight and with new gunwales, a few new ribs, a new canvas coat and some other odds and ends, Tippe can be used once again.
My grandson Theo is now 6 and I think it’s time for him to begin canoe paddling lessons, and I’m thinking that he should learn in the same boat I did. This summer, Tippe can return to Hooper Lake, and generation 5 can learn to paddle a craft that is at once a wonder to propel, and yet unforgiving of any foolishness.
I ought to know – Tippe taught me well!