Thanks to instructor Erik Simula, birchbark canoe building has been a ‘flagship’ of the Ely Folk School since we launched in spring 2015. Erik facilitated a team of EFS volunteers and students who crafted our first canoe, a 14-footer, literally from the ground up: first by gathering spruce root, pitch, cedar and birchbark in the forest and then crafting the canoe week-by-week through the summer at the EFS green space. That culminated with a group of EFS enthusiasts bringing the canoe to the 2016 summer Pow Wow at Ontario’s Lac La Croix village where it was blessed in an elaborate ceremony by tribal elders.
In recent years, Erik has facilitated crafting a larger 20’ canoe. It’s well on its way (see attached photo), but Covid protocols have stalled its completion. We look forward to resuming this project in happier, healthier times – possibly later this coming summer or fall. Stay tuned for updates!