Dick Persson came to Canada from Sweden in 1986. In 1991 he moved to Buckhorn ON, and in 1996 started what would become The Buckhorn Canoe Company. But his love of boat-building began at a very early age. “We had a neighbour in Sweden who had worked as a boat-builder in North America. He generated income by building boats, and the neighbourhood kids “helped out”, holding planks, etc. as he worked on his projects. I got a good understanding of the process that way,” Persson recalls.
That “good understanding” has resulted in new builds and restorations being shipped around the world – to England, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France and Turkey – as well as throughout Canada and the U.S.
His new builds – wooden canoes and rowboats – are influenced by classic designs by such companies as Peterborough Canoe Co. and Chestnut Canoes, out of Fredericton NB.
It is one thing to reproduce a classic model, but quite another to restore a vintage craft to its original integrity. This requires extensive research as well as diligent sourcing of materials like “old” wood (salvaged from other boats and canoes and which already has the desired patina) and hardware in keeping with the era.
Persson has extensive historical knowledge of the old canoe and boat companies and is a volunteer, member and a regular contributor of his experience to the Canadian Canoe Museum and Wooden Canoe Heritage Association.
Waxing poetic about the allure of the canoe, Persson says, “This area has a strong canoe tradition and is the birthplace of the modern canoe as we know it. In 1883 the American Canoe Association had its annual meeting at Stoney Lake, and this drew a lot of Americans to the area – it really was the start of the tourism industry here.”
In addition to selling reproduction canoes and rowboats Buckhorn Canoe Company is a retail outlet for Old Town composite canoes and kayaks, Wetterling Axes, Council Tool Axes, Helle Knives, as well as canoe hardware and canvas supplies, canoe clothing and historic canoe company decals.
Buckhorn Canoe Company
1887 Lakehurst Road, Buckhorn
www.buckhorncanoes.com and on Facebook @BuckhornCanoeCo