The role of canoes/kayaks in the growth of Civilization ...

below, bark & wood-canvas model canoes from the Eastern Woodlands.


 Canoes and kayaks have been important elements in the life of mankind around the globe for countless years. In this modern day of jet travel and computer-oriented lifestyle, we sometimes forget just how essential they have been in our evolution from cave dweller to present day. Canoes contributed to the earliest epic journeys across broad ocean expanses, particularly in the South Pacific; they enabled fur trade commerce which penetrated deep into North America, spurring exploration, then settlement and development.

below, an outrigger and dugouts from Oceania, Africa and Asia.


 Canoes and kayaks made possible the hunting, gathering and fishing which sustained native populations throughout all continents, including the Arctic. Tens of thousands of years of use by man - and still on-going!  Without canoes and kayaks, mankind's growth and intercourse would have been severely limited; nor would we have wonderful recreational watercraft that allow us to enjoy our great outdoor environment.  I heartily recommend a recent book: "The Sea & Civilization: a maritime history of the World", by Lincoln Paine, Alfred A Knopf, publisher. 

below, model kayaks & an umiak from across the Arctic.


 These are truly marvelous creations, be it hand-hewn dugout, bark vessel, skin boat, all-wood planked hull, or factory manufactured craft of wood/canvas, aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber. Whether paddled or sailed, a canoe will provide shelter as well as transport. Treated properly, it will get you 'there and back'. In the case of miniature models, they provide historical records, make for a fascinating hobby, a great learning experience, even an investment opportunity. Be sure to read "Canoes: A Natural History in North America", by Neuzil and Sims, Univ. of Minnesota Press. A fabulous historical survey with wonderful art.


Model dugouts, bark and woven reed canoe models from the Northwest Pacific Coast of North America (Alaska to Oregon, including British Columbia).

Other collectable canoe-related accessories ...

Sample paddles


Many manufacturers of canoes and kayaks also distributed miniature paddles as a means of advertising and promoting.

Canoe cups


Canoe cups allowed the early 'Voyageurs' (the indefatigable paddlers of the large fur trade canoes) to scoop up a quick drink from rivers & lakes.

ACA medals


The American Canoe Assoc. strongly promoted early interest in canoeing. These were won by World Champion canoe sailor, the great Leo Friede.

Canoe club trophies


Many recreational canoeing clubs held annual regattas at which trophies were awarded for winning competitions.