Lockport, Man., first stop for new paddle-making program
8 students at Lockport School to learn to make their own paddles, thanks to Canadian Canoe Museum
Eight students at Lockport School in Manitoba are the first to take part in a new program created by the Canadian Canoe Museum and the International Sustainability Education Foundation that will bring paddle-making classes to indigenous students across Canada.
The eight Lockport, Man., students range in age from about 12 to 15 years old, said Hyslop, and self-identify as either First Nations or Métis. Lockport is just north of Winnipeg.
"It's just fantastic," said workshop instructor Mark Blieske. He's a retired teacher and professional paddle-maker.
"They are just so enamoured with the idea that they're making a paddle."
Blieske uses power tools to prepare the wood for students to carve.
Students then use planes, files, rasps and sanders to finish their own full-sized paddle.
"They get to keep the paddle in the end, which is really cool," he said.
So far the co-ed group has bonded despite their diverse range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, Blieske said.
The workshop also includes photography lessons from Blieske, who, along with being a paddle-maker, is a former media teacher. Cameras from Sony Canada are loaned to the students.
The Canadian Canoe Museum hopes to roll out similar workshops from coast to coast to coast, said Hyslop.
"There's going to be so many more of them, engaging First Nations and Métis youth in paddle-making," she said.
The Lockport School students' finished paddles and their photographs will be on display at a dinner hosted by the Canadian Canoe Museum during the Festival du Voyageur on Feb. 19.