Canadian Canoe Museum to Get Stunning and Visionary New Design

In the not-too-distant future, you could have yet another reason to visit The Kawarthas.

Aside from the ice cream and cottage activities, that is.

The Canadian Canoe Museum has announced the winning design for the new museum at the Peterborough Lift Lock – and it’s going to seriously change the way we think about both architecture and the beloved, iconic canoe.

In short, it’s a lot cooler than it sounds.

Created by heneghan peng architects of Dublin, Ireland, and Kearns Mancini Architects of Toronto, the winning design features a serpentine glass pavilion with a two-acre rooftop garden, and is complete with views of the Peterborough Lift Lock.

According to Kawartha Now, the museum says that what set the heneghan peng/Kearns Mancini design apart was that it works organically with the land rather than overwhelming it. “The organically shaped volume, banded on its top edge with local hardwood, is embedded within the building site’s drumlins,” writes Kawartha Now.

This embedded design results in intrinsically lower energy costs, thanks to geothermal heating and cooling, and only the south and east glass walls exposed to the elements. The interior design offers a flexible floor plate, which allows the 80,000-square-foot building to reconfigure the interior by changing internal partitions.

The rooftop garden will likely house edible gardens, native flower pollinators, and aboriginal three sister plantings. Furthermore, no matter where you’re standing inside the museum, or on the roof, you’ll always be able to see the water. Naturally, there will always be a canoe waiting to be paddled by you (how Canadian, right?).

The building will feature the museum’s collection of more than 100 kayaks and canoes that are currently on display.

In addition to 17,000 square feet of exhibition, the museum will also house a 250-seat multi-purpose room available for events and weddings. Naturally, the building will also feature a restaurant and café to dish up some of the best eats the local area has to offer.

There will also be artisanal workshops, year-round on-canal programming for canoe-lovers of all skill sets, and connections to the Trent-Severn bike path in front of the museum.

The selection committee included chair Lisa Rochon (Senior Fellow with the Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto and formerly the award-winning architecture critic for The Globe & Mail), Chief Phyllis Williams of Curve Lake First Nation, representatives from Parks Canada, the City of Peterborough, business leaders, and museum staff. The committee members met over a number of months to hear the proposed plans from five short-listed teams. In addition to presenting the design submissions at a public meeting in September, the museum collected additional community feedback through online media polls, emails, and letters.

The museum plans to break ground in late 2017 (providing they can score the necessary funding), and expects to open to the public by 2020.