After building cedar-strip canoes for around a decade as a hobby (usually a boat or two a year) one day I started making YouTube videos on the building process following a friends suggestion. I honestly didn’t give it much effort and it wasn’t for a few years until I had a look at the view count. Then one day for some reason I checked my account and discovered that I was getting around 10,000 views per month. I was amazed. Realizing I had at least a few people interested in what I was doing, I bought a better camera and a mic and made a few more. The count quickly jumped to around 15,000 and then 20,000. That’s when I thought I should put some effort into making videos or better yet a film for the people who enjoyed what I love, canoeing.
I wanted to make a film that would inspire viewers and to me, there was no better way than to connect with some of the legends of North America’s paddling community and get their take on how the canoe has and continues to shape our culture and heritage.
Filming Canoe: Icon of the North was a major endeavour for a first film, luckily I got the support of some really great companies, the likes of Bending Branches, Bureau, Canoeroots Magazine, the Canadian Canoe Foundation, Eureka!, Fox 40, inReach, Jetboil, KEEN, and Salus Marine.
Canoe: Icon of the North was to become a short documentary film about the significance of the Canoe on our Culture but as the film developed I began to realize that there was another story evolving. It was a story about the people I had interviewed, people like Kevin Callan, John Jennings, Becky Mason, Ted Moores, Mark Oldershaw, Hugh Stewart, Adam vanKoeverden, and Jeremy Ward. I realized that they were the icons and the canoe was their common ground.
It’s an interesting thing, the canoe. Really, just a vehicle to travel on water, but the importance placed on it is really quite astonishing. I don’t think it’s the canoe that people are so fond of though, but where the vehicle takes us.
Canoe: Icon of the North was my first film. It was a great learning experience and an amazing way to spend some of that year. It wasn’t at all easy, it was staggeringly exhausting to produce and film as a first project.
What I learned along the way goes well beyond the importance of the canoe on our culture or how to produce a film.