Canadian Canoe Museum’s Capital Campaign Receives $500,000 Gift From Toronto-Based Philanthropists George & Kathy Dembroski

The Canadian Canoe Museum has announced that George and Kathy Dembroski have made a $500,000 commitment to the museum’s $65 million capital campaign, supporting the construction of its new 85,000 square-foot facility at the water’s edge on the Trent-Severn Waterway.

The Dembroskis are friends of the museum, and have a connection to the area through their cottage on nearby Stony Lake in the Kawarthas. These Toronto-based philanthropists are strongly supportive of the plans for the new museum and are eager to see it built alongside the Peterborough Lift Lock.

Kathy and George Dembroski (photo courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum)

Kathy and George Dembroski (photo courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum)

The museum’s 9,700 square foot outdoor terrace, which runs alongside the east side of the building, will be named in recognition of their generous gift.

Here is a conceptual rendering of the terrace…

Rendering of terrace (courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum)

Rendering of terrace (courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum)

“We are incredibly pleased to support this exciting project in Peterborough, recognizing its local, provincial and national impact,” says Kathy Dembroski. “As we learned about the plans for the new museum, we became increasingly interested. We knew we wanted to become involved as soon as we learned about the functionality of the terrace—and how it will serve as a connecting space between the indoors and the outdoors. We can envision people gathering there and taking in the views of the Lift Lock and the waterway.”

The terrace, which is parallel to the galleria space on the interior, matching the curved shape of the building, extends to the ground floor from the interior. Only a glass wall separates the two areas. This will draw outside visitors into the museum, and also invite visitors who are inside, to explore the spaces beyond.

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An Anonymous Donor Gives $1.25 Million To New Canadian Canoe Museum

An anonymous out-of-province donor who believes in the power of the canoe to connect Canadians has invested $1.25 million to support the Canadian Canoe Museum’s move to the water’s edge as part of its $65 million capital fundraising campaign.

This generous gift is the first of its magnitude to be received from a donor outside of Ontario, demonstrating the national scope and scale of the new museum project.

The Canadian Canoe Museum is moving from its 1960s-era former factory building to an 85,000 square-foot-facility to be built alongside the Peterborough Lift Lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway—both National Historic Sites—in Peterborough.

Rendering courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum

Rendering courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum

“We are grateful for this generous gift, and the donor’s appreciation for the national nature of the new museum project,” says Bill Morris, Capital Campaign Chair. “This donor recognizes the canoe as a national icon, and sees its potential and power to connect Canadians.”

“The new museum will not only allow us to attract more visitors from across the country, it will allow us to reach out from coast to coast to coast in new and different ways—it will be our new high-profile headquarters,” adds Morris.

The new museum, which will make accessible all 600 watercraft, thousands of small artifacts and an archive, is designed by an award-winning team of heneghan peng architects (Dublin, Ireland) with Kearns Mancini Architects (Toronto, Canada). The museum has partnered with world-class exhibition design firm GSM Project to create one-of-a-kind visitor experiences.

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A Peterborough Man Built An Awesome Backyard Curling Rink & Rocks For About $100, Eh

You hear a lot about backyard rinks but not backyard curling rinks. Well Aaron Kempf managed to MacGyver a mint one in his Peterborough backyard—all at a cost of only about $100.

Kempf fashioned lights across his backyard in the summer so he could ride his pump track—a type of off-road terrain for cycle sport—after his daughter went to bed, and the rink was a way to continue to take advantage of the lights throughout the winter and also a good excuse to get out of the house on winter nights. 

Below is his summer cycle track (the rink he built would be constructed on the opposite side of the yard)…

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HOW HE MADE THE RINK

“Construction was as simple as I could make it,” says Kempf, who describes himself as “handyish” depending on what the project is and how good the YouTube videos are. “I came across this idea last year and wanted to give it a try. It is basically a landscaping project which I’m comfortable with as it has a high threshold for mistakes. We like having projects on the go so this was a pretty easy one to try.”

At first, Kempf tried just shoveling snow in order to make a rink outline but the first few snow falls they got in November and December all melted. “In early January, I bought a couple 1x4s and made a rough frame for the rink. I then spent a weekend spraying several thin coats of water,” he tells PTBOCanada.

Kempf says the 1x4s did not create a water tight seal so he chipped a bunch of ice from a couple puddles that had formed in the corners of the pump track and used that to fill the gaps. After that, he continued slowly flooding it.

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“There were a few leaks along the way,” Kempf says. “Next year, I’ll probably build a sturdier frame and line it with plastic to keep our water usage down. After I had an even coat of ice across the whole rink and it was thick enough to walk on, I installed the rings.”

The outer blue rings are two round plastic tablecloths he got from Dollarama. Kempf measured so each ring was a foot wide and cut the excess off. The red rings are from a single rectangle plastic tablecloth—also from Dollarama. He cut it in half and freehanded two circles with a sharpie and a pair of scissors. After that, he set them on the ice and flooded overtop a few times.

The rink was made on the opposite side of the yard from the pump track

The rink was made on the opposite side of the yard from the pump track

HOW HE MADE THE CURLING STONES

The rocks were made from two $1.25 metal bowls from Dollar Tree—”the bowls at Dollarama were twice the price and too tall,” says Kempf, who punched a hole through the top of half of them with a screwdriver and then cut out a rough circle with a jigsaw.

“I used construction adhesive to attach them together, filled them with concrete and inserted some threaded metal pipe for the handles. Once they were set I trimmed the handles so they wouldn’t stick out passed the edge of the bowl, inserted a small piece of foam on each handle and wrapped them in blue and red hockey tape.”

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The last step in creating the rocks required cutting a slit out of foam backer rod with an razer blade and wrapping it around each rock.

“This is to minimize damage to the bowls when they hit each other as I’m not working with an actual chunk of granite like a real curling rock,” explains Kempf. “They are probably half the size and weight of regulation curling rocks but they work well with the dimensions of the rink (about 8’ by 30’).”

After all this ingenuity, it was time to chillax and throw the rocks in the tee (hopefully)…

AARON’S WIFE ALIX GIVING IT A TRY

AARON’S WIFE ALIX GIVING IT A TRY

The family has made good use of the rink thus far, including Aaron’s wife Alix and his folks who are in town from British Columbia for a couple weeks of visiting.

Aaron’s Dad

Aaron’s Dad

Kempf himself is no Olympic curler or anything—”I have curled once in my life before this, watched it on TV a few times, and course seen the Paul Gross classic Men with Brooms—but that’s besides the point.

He’s not the best skater so a traditional rink didn’t make sense, wanted to take advantage of Canadian winter, of having a backyard (“we moved from a Toronto apartment a few years ago so we are trying to make the most of it”), plus Google made it look relatively easy to build.


And if you build it, they will come…

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Die-hard curlers, might say—as Kempf notes—that the ice isn’t perfect. “I didn’t try to pebble it, and anyone with actual curling skills would probably be irritated with the imperfections.”

But like any sport and any rink, you have to start somewhere. And why not hurry hard and sweep on your DIY backyard curling rink in Peterborough? 

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Mother Nature Forms Enchanted Forest Backyard Rink Near Buckhorn

When it comes to backyard rinks, a lot of blood, sweat, tears—and flooding—goes into building the perfect rink. Sometimes, though, Mother Nature chooses to take care of things on its own in beautiful ways.

Just ask James Brown, a father of three, as a backyard swamp near his place in Buckhorn that can be a pain in the spring transforms itself into what he calls an “enchanted forest backyard rink” in the winter for his family to enjoy.

The kids enjoying night skate in forest

The kids enjoying night skate in forest

“It’s so much fun skating through the trees, and my daughters (ages 8, 7 and 3) love it,” James tells PTBOCanada. “All the twists and turns has really helped develop their skating, too.”

So many places to explore

So many places to explore

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James says other than a bit of shovelling here and there, the rink is good to go courtesy of Mother Nature, as the swampy area froze nice and smooth making for great conditions.

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Should the kids need a break from their magical forest rink, they can skate on another outdoor rink James made for them on nearby Little Bald Lake…

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“It's a cold, long winter....may as well get outside and enjoy it,” says James. True that.

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Ontario Speed Skating Oval In Lakefield Slated To Open For Season

After flooding the rink all week during these cold conditions, Ontario Speed Skating Oval organizers in Lakefield say in a Facebook post that the ice should be ready to go for the 2019 season starting Sunday, January 13th, when it will be open from noon until 2 p.m.

Photo via Ontario speed skating oval facebook page

Photo via Ontario speed skating oval facebook page

The process would have been much faster with some snow to deploy for a base but the volunteer ice crew have done a great job getting it ready and flooding the ice all week.

Photo via Ontario speed skating oval facebook page

Photo via Ontario speed skating oval facebook page

Organizers say rental skates will be available, and that skaters are advised to use extra caution as there are still some thin spots.

Photo via Ontario speed skating oval facebook page

Photo via Ontario speed skating oval facebook page

The 2019 winter schedule should be posted soon here, organizers say.

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The Canal Is Now Open For Skating

We are doing a double axel and attempting a triple with the news that the green flag is up on the Trent Canal for the first time this season, meaning conditions are safe to skate there!

Photo by Evan Holt, PTBOCanada

Photo by Evan Holt, PTBOCanada

If you haven’t skated on it, it’s definitely a bucket list thing to do with the family or on date night…

The City of Peterborough tweeted out the great news that it’s now ready…

Remember, if the red flag goes up… NO SKATING!!

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How Havelock Built An Outdoor Community Rink In The Blink Of An Eye

The idea for a large, free outdoor community rink in the small town of Havelock near Peterborough hatched in David Sharpe from a childhood memory of a rink that was kept on a nearby farm. It inspired this community builder in adulthood to put together a plan to make it happen, and in a matter of months—thanks to a community that rallied around him—that dream is happening.

David and his family spearheaded the rink initiative in Havelock to build it on the infield of the Havelock Ball Diamond, and it has taken off quickly. “I made a proposal to our council, attended a handful of council meetings and finally got approval,” David tells PTBOCanada. “The council lent us the funds to buy what we needed, and myself and a handful of friends put the rink together. We formed a team of volunteers, put a Facebook page together, and the support for the project has been incredible.”

The Community Rink in Havelock (January 1st, 2019)

The Community Rink in Havelock (January 1st, 2019)

The goal was $5,000 to fund the rink and nearly $4,000 has already been raised—you can donate online here. David, who owns Belmont Custom Cabinetry in Havelock Belmont Methuen (HBM), says he has been inspired by how this has galvanized the community. The hashtag #HBMProud and social media was used to inspire action, and community members have been stepping up to donate money and time.

“I have a passion for community building, our municipality and a drive to increase economic development, tourism and culture in our region,” David tells PTBOCanada. “The support for the Havelock Community Outdoor Rink just goes to show what can happen when people work together to accomplish a goal.”


Just recently they announced a sponsorship from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and their Recharge With Milk program…

The HBM municipal council graciously lent the Havelock Outdoor Rink Committee the funds to build the rink, which they have 18 months to repay in full—and donations are coming in here by businesses, community members and people from across Canada that go towards construction, operating costs and maintenance.

All this goes to show that if you believe in the power of community—no matter the size of the town—and you inspire ideas and rally others around your cause, anything can happen. Including building a magical outdoor rink.

For more information about the project, email the organizers here.

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Instagram Worthy Alleys & Urban Spaces Of Peterborough Perfect For Photo Shoots

Peterborough has awesome alleys and cool urban spaces downtown that make perfect backdrops for photo shoots for Instagram. Here are just a few great options that Rob “Electric City” James captured on a recent trek around town…

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Chambers & Hunter St. W.

Location: Chambers & Hunter St. W.

Location: Chambers Street at Hunter

Location: Chambers Street at Hunter

Location: Charlotte & George Street

Location: Charlotte & George Street

Location: Hunter & Aylmer Street

Location: Hunter & Aylmer Street

Location: Hunter & Aylmer Street (reverse angle)

Location: Hunter & Aylmer Street (reverse angle)

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Water & Hunter Street

Location: Hunter Street facing Simcoe Bus Terminal

Location: Hunter Street facing Simcoe Bus Terminal

Location: Near the corner of George & Hunter Street

Location: Near the corner of George & Hunter Street

Know any other cool urban spaces and hidden alleys? Email here!

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Peterborough-Based Startup Pitched Launches to Revolutionize The Way Canadians Camp

Peterborough-based entrepreneur/world traveller Olaf Dunn has launched Pitched, Canada’s first campsite booking model.

The platform—"it's really the outdoor version of Airbnb," says John Gills from the Innovation Cluster—is designed to let campers escape the crowds and get the chance to explore new land by allowing any person in Ontario to host their own property and get paid for it. Pitched allows anyone to host their land as a campsite, from farms to forests, vineyards to waterfronts and more.

Pitched Founder Olaf Dunn

Pitched Founder Olaf Dunn

With over 50 campsites in Ontario alone, Pitched provides an opportunity for the campers to have a unique place to stay and the host an opportunity to share local knowledge of the site, creating memories travellers wouldn’t experience at an average campground.

The inspiration came to Dunn as he was searching for campsites one summer for a family getaway, and came to the realization it was difficult to find a campsite. “It is hard for the average person to find a campsite that is both secluded and quiet,” says Dunn. “We wanted to create an experience for campers who are adventurous, maybe take impulsive road trips, or just want to try somewhere new.”

A Pitched site near the Ottawa Valley

A Pitched site near the Ottawa Valley

When searching for a location, campers will be able to view everything available to them when they are at the campsite. The minimum requirement is room for a tent, but hosts can choose to provide equipment like fire pits, tent supplies, and more.

In order to know the reliability of campers and hosts, the Pitched app allows reviews of each person’s experience. If an issue occurs, users are allowed to contact Pitched to be investigated. As a company based on being passionate for the outdoors, Pitched most important rule is a “leave no trace” policy when campers depart the site.

Pitched logo

Pitched logo

Peterborough resident Alex Bushell was one of the first users to beta test and list his property (located near Ottawa) on Pitched. "My property would often go weeks without being used during the beautiful summer weather,” he says. “Pitched allows me to let people enjoy the property while also earning a few dollars to help me offset some of the costs of ownership."

Bushell's property instantly gained attraction, and he had eight bookings. “It’s also really nice to share my weekend getaway property with like-minded people and I've actually become friends with a few of them,” he says.

For more information, visit Pitched.ca.

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Experience: Try Camping At oTENTiks On Trent Severn Waterway

With the Trent Severn Waterway set to open for the season May 18th, a unique experience to try this summer is camping along a Lock in a oTENTik—which is a cross between a tent and a rustic cedar cabin.

Parks Canada gives you the opportunity to experience camping at their oTENTik accommodations at two locations: Lock 24 - Douro and Lock 35 - Rosedale. The oTENTik is a unique destination for visitors to enjoy camping at ease with the convenience of a bed and a campsite already set up.

Photo Courtesy Parks Canada

Photo Courtesy Parks Canada

Lock 24 is situated between Lakefield and Peterborough at 4052 County Road 32 in the Township of Douro-Dummer. There, you can choose from 3 oTENTiks located on a small island between the canal and the Otonabee River, or one fully-accessible oTENTik located lockside.  

The oTENTik accommodations on this site are a nature-lover’s dream, but with modern amenities close at hand. Learn more about booking a site here.

Photo courtesy Parks Canada

Photo courtesy Parks Canada

Lock 35 is situated between Balsam and Cameron Lakes in the City of Kawartha Lakes, and there are great oTENTiks located there as well. Learn more here.

Watch this video to get a feel for the oTENTiks...

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