The 4th annual birch bark canoe build and raffle that is done by the Algonquin First Nation in Bancroft is underway beside the North Hastings Heritage Museum.

“It’s fantastic for our community,” says Chief and Algonquin Negotiation Representative¬†Stephen Hunter. “It gives us an opportunity for people to come down and see a traditional Algonquin canoe made the old way and really be apart of the process.” He adds that many people are quick to think that something new is automatically better than the old version or old way of doing things.

“There’s no way to make this a better vessel in the water than what it was 1,000 years ago,” Hunter says.

“The canoe was our car,” he explains. “It’s the Algonquin car.” That’s why Hunter says it’s so exciting to show people how they got around many years ago. He says the canoe was how they got around to do pretty much everything.

“We are going to build the canoe from start to finish,” Hunter says. The process started Monday and will continue until the 23rd. They started by gathering spruce roots and splitting and rolling them, before harvesting a cedar tree to split and process that. “People can come down and watch us make the ribs and gunnels for the canoe,” Hunter says. He adds that people often come to check out the build multiple times to see the canoe as it takes shape.