The Current

'No Canoe, No Canada': Roy MacGregor on their vital relationship

The canoe, quintessentially Canadian, is credited for the very development and evolution of this country. Author Roy MacGregor joins us to talk about the ageless mode of transportation, how it helped to shape Canada and even how it ended up adrift on the Nile.
Author Roy MacGregor says canoes were the makeout mobiles of Victorian times... spawning the term 'canoodling'. (Richard Powell, Flickr cc)
I think [the canoe] connects you to who we are and how we got here.- Roy MacGregor, author of "Canoe Country: The Making of Canada"

Back in 2007, after much input from listeners and a panel of judges, the CBC Radio show Sounds Like Canada picked the canoe as one of the country's seven wonders. One of those judges was Roy MacGregor.

And now, the author and historian has returned to the subject -- writing an ode to the canoe. 

As part of our project Ripple Effect, we're taking a trip in the canoe -- asking how this ancient mode of transportation did so much to build the modern country we know as Canada today. 

Roy MacGregor's new book is called "Canoe Country: The Making of Canada." He was in our Ottawa studio.

Children playing with a canoe paddle, circa 1948. (Kenneth Rittener/Rittener/Getty Images)

Share your best canoe stories and photos with us!

Email us. Post on our Facebook page, or tweet us @TheCurrentCBC and use #ripplecbc. Here's some we've received so far:

"Back in the 70's we started a project of following the Voyageur canoe routes. We did from just west of Thunder Bay back to Hudson Quebec, just west of Montreal, the longest trip being 49 days from Sault Ste. Marie to Ottawa. These longer trips slowed down when our son was born, who has now gone on to make canoeing and paddle sports his business in life. This shot was one I took of us on Lake Superior in 1976 after a damp and completely foggy day, navigating by compass and map." - Harry Foster, near Aylmer, Quebec

Picture submitted by David Legault in Vancouver with his father, his son and what he calls his indestructible beast of a Coleman at Lac Le Jeune, near Kamloops, in 2008.
An Ode to Uncle Dee-Dee. Canvas canoe man, paddling a red Huron in the morning mist on Dutch Lake (Clearwater, BC). Submitted by Brendan Murphy & Laura Ryser of Prince George, BC.
Submitted by Jenice Smith from Crowsnest Pass, Alberta with son, Jasper, prospecting on a Prospector, Powell Lake Loop, BC.
Painting by artist, Peter Gough of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
Painting by artist, Peter Gough of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.