Stewart was born in Brookfield, Nova Scotia in 1877. This is an area of
beautiful, wild lakes and rivers, made famous in the outdoor classic The
Tent Dwellers and still a mecca for canoeists in Kejimkujik National
Park. Tim left his native Nova Scotia in the early 1900's for new horizons
in Ontario, where he spent many years building boats and canoes at the
Peterborough Canoe Co. This was at the time Peterborough made the transition
to Chestnut patented wood and canvas techniques. Stewart returned to Nova
Scotia in the 1920's and bought a carding mill in his hometown. His canoe
designs and building experience soon earned him a reputation as a master
builder when he renewed his trade. He was known as something of a curmudgeon
- he didn't tolerate visitors to his shop - and also as a perfectionist
who would destroy his own work if it did not meet his high standards.
The moulds which have been passed down to us are as beautifully and carefully
made as the canoes which come off them.
Tim Stewart Models
Gates of nearby Middleton, Nova Scotia had tried his hand at canoe building,
and bought the Stewart Moulds in 1959. Over the next 30 years, Harold
built hundreds of canoes on the Stewart moulds. He added designs of his
own, including reproductions of famous Rushton and Morris canoes. He built
moulds for other cedar and canvas builders, build canoes for museums,
resurrected the local Micmac design and even built in birchbark. Harold
also made plugs for commercial production of well-known fiberglass brands,
although he maintained that fiberglass canoes paddle "like my Volkswagon".
Harold, who shared his experience generously, passed away in 1994.
Harold Gates Models
McCurdy and Gus Reed bought Harold's moulds and stock on his retirement
in 1986. Kip had restored an original Kennebec in his spare time, then
went on to build a mould to make reproductions. Kip's careful workmanship
and attention to detail produce canoes worthy of the tradition. Kip has
designed and built several more moulds to add to the variety of models
available. His latest addition is a superb solo design called the Al Gordon.
View McCurdy & Reed Models