The canoe is a national icon. So much so, that in 2007, it was named one of the Seven wonders of Canada alongside “The Igloo,” The Rockies, Niagara Falls, Old Quebec City, “Prairie Skies,” and Halifax’s Pier 21. But despite how much Canadians—and particularly, cottagers—may think they admire the canoe, it appears not as much as the kayak.
According to a recent report in the Toronto Star, kayaks aren’t only outselling canoes at many retailers across the country, more people are signing up for kayak lessons, too.
Why are people seemingly less interested in the Canadian classic? Some retailers theorize it’s because, on top of being faster, lighter, smaller, and generally cheaper than canoes, kayaks require little training to use recreationally. (It’s all about instant gratification.) They can also cut easily through still water, rapids, and swells, and aren’t nearly as affected by wind and waves as canoes are.
Graham Ketcheson, executive director of Paddle Canada, told the Star that canoe sales have stagnated across the country for years. Dave Corrigan, owner of Toronto’s Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre is quoted saying that while 40 to 60 kayakers may show up for one of their evening paddles, they only occasionally see a canoeist.
Still, while the article cites a number of examples demonstrating the canoe’s gradual decline, there is no association such as the one in the United States that tracks canoe and kayak sales in Canada.
What do you think? Are kayaks the new canoe?