Master builder working hard on traditional canoe leading up to Celebration of Nations


The Celebration of Nations event in Niagara will be featuring the incredible work of Chuck Commanda, a master builder of birch bark canoes.

Commanda has been working tirelessly this week in the lobby of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre along with his assistants.

In June he harvested one full sheet of birch bark in the forests near Algonquin Park for this 10 foot canoe.

Commanda says a traditional canoe would be 14 feet and would equate to the modern day "family vehicle" that's used for a variety of tasks.


The master builder won't be making any trips to the hardware store; everything is naturally harvested in a sustainable way. "We only take what we need and always keep in mind, there's seven generations of possible canoe building that might need those materials sometime in the future. So we always leave behind what we don't need right now."

He aims to get the canoe finished in time for this weekend's Celebration of Nation's kick off and says the canoe will be sealed up on Saturday and tested for leaks.

Eventually it will be presented on the wall in the lobby of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

Commanda says there is just a handful of indigenous people carving canoes in North America.

For a full list of events, click here.