Brief History

Tim Stewart
Tim 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.

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Harold Gates
Harold 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.

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McCurdy & Reed
Kip 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.

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