Chicagoland Canoe Base

The Canoe Called Canadienne

Our canoe design we call the Canadienne is traced back to the middle1800s when all-wood canoe construction was being developed in the Peterborough region of Ontario. These craft featured a bilge that turned up at each end of the canoe roughly parallel to the sheer of the gunwales while eastern wood canvas canoes of Maine had the bilges come together parallel to the surface of the water. The result was a very fine entry that cut the water easily and the resulting vee-shaped cross section that developed behind it splashed water horizontly to the sides when crashing down in waves, creating a dryer craft. The gunwales flared behind the stems to create reserve bouyancy when buried in waves. An upswept keel line allowed maneuverability when needed. A stem with a slight return gives the craft a characteristic silhouette reminiscent of the traditional northwoods canoes seen in old illustrations unlike the modern contemporary watercraft being mass-produced today. This is a design that has come down to us with a ledgendary reputation as being the fastest stock craft made for competitive paddling and sailing, yet suitable for family use, the Model 16 made by the Canadian Canoe Company of Peterborough, Ontario. We use the same hull design in all of our craft from a 14 footer to our large 34 footers. The 16 and 17 foot Canadiennes were produced by the Old Town Canoe Company for a while, and now are being produced in the 17 and 18 foot sizes by the Bell Canoe Works. The designer, Ralph Frese, still creates a few with custom trim. More detailed hull design information is available by request.
An 18 1/2 ft version custom-built by Ralph Frese. Traditionally trimmed in white ash with a 22 karat gold feature stripe.  
Curved coamings provide a finished look to the decks, typical of the classic look of the better quality canoes of yesterday.  
A brass endcap terminating in a fleur-de-lis adds a finishing touch of heritage.  
The proud owner of a new CANADIENNE 18  
The legendary hull design of the Canadienne is also used in the birchbark replicas and the seaworthyness is apparent in this classic 1967 photo by Robert Lightfoot.

home | history | catalog | rentals | repairs | photos | resources | contact

for more information call (773) 777-1489
or email