Over the years, my wife Joanna, and I have repaired and restored many canoes and

boats. Some from as far away as Missouri in the United States, Sudbury, Ontario,

and Quebec, although, most of our work comes from the Kawartha Lake District.

The Peterborough Canoe Company flourished here in the early 1900's and many

of our restorations are from this former company.

We do take pride in restoring any and all of these old treasures, and of course

nothing but premium materials, paints, and varnishes are used.


Doug Farr grew up around water. His family had a cottage on Rice Lake and that's where his love of canoes began. In 1984, he and his wife purchased a lot on Front Street in Bobcaygeon and spent 7 or 8 years clearing and building their retirement home.


At age 53, Doug retired and took a canoe building and repairing course and delved into doing something he found really enjoying. “I wanted something to keep my mind active and would also be something I like doing” says Doug.


One of the first big canoe restoration projects to come Doug's way was a 14 foot Chestnut Canoe, Prospector model. Although the canoe was spotted in someone's backyard with a pile of dirt beside it, it was rescued by Roger MacGregor, now author of a book called, When The Chestnut Was In Flower. Destined to become a flowerbed, the canoe was rescued and swapped for an old dory.


Chestnut canoes, crafted in New Brunswick in the early 1900's, came with floatation devices called sponsons. Although Doug had never seen these before, and had never seen a canoe in such rough shape, he eventually agreed to take on the job and bring the canoe back to its original condition. “I knew there wasn't anything wrong that I couldn't repair,” says Doug. Although it took months, and the owner decided not to put the sponsons back on, Doug completed the job and owner used the Chestnut to canoe the New Brunswick rivers that he had canoed with his dad years before. Another customer brought in his wife's grandfather's Peterborough canoe. The husband asked Doug to restore it and put as a surprise for his wife, the words: 'In Memory of...(the grandfather)' on it. “When the wife saw it, it was an emotional moment, very touching,' says Doug. “It's those stories,” he adds, “that are the real reward.”


“Chestnut and Peterborough are the Cadillac of canoes,” explains Doug, adding that, “wooden canoes are something of a rarity now.” Many of the canoes brought to him are from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, when canoeing was a very popular activity. Canoes have come to him from Sudbury, Quebec and the United States. Most times the repairs are to replace canvas, broken ribbing or tips rotted from resting on the ground. Doug has even developed his own filler for the canvas, because as he says, “you want the canvas to last.” Still, he advises that the life of a canoe depends entirely on how it is cared for. “A canoe stored outside won't last near as long it it's not covered with a good waterproof tarp”