Burntside’s First Paddle

The 20ft Birch Bark Canoe, “Burntside” has finally hit the water! Read the story about the first paddle by Keith Vandervort from The Timberjay.


Wiigwaasi-Jiimaan (Birch Bark Canoe) In recent years there has been a movement to learn about Anishinaabemowin and traditional skills including how to build a wiigwaasi-jiimaan. The Birch Bark Canoe Project (BBCP), at the Ely Folk School, is a gathering place of valuable knowledge for the Ely area community and those traveling through.  The birch bark canoe is an […]

How does it feel to paddle a birch bark canoe?

Find out! Help the Ely Folk School (EFS) to finish building their 20-foot canoe. The first class will start on Sunday, June 20th at 1:00pm. Master Birch Bark Canoe Builder Erik Simula is continuing the Birch Bark Canoe Project (BBCP). This summer, he is teaching a 10-week course designed with the goals of finishing and […]

BBCP Schedule

2021 Schedule Week 1 Sunday, June 20 1-4 pm Welcome & BBCP overviewInspecting & washing bark canoesProcessing spruce rootsLashing gunwales & cutwater endsCarving & fitting cedar planks Week 2 Sunday, June 27 1-4 pm Processing spruce rootsLashing gunwales & cutwater endsCarving & fitting cedar planks & ribs Week 3 Sunday, July 4 1-4pm July 4th […]

BBCP Update

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 […]

Annual Paddling Celebration

This summer’s final week 14 of the Birch Bark Canoe Project is Monday, August 12, 2019, from 5-9 pm in the North Classroom at the Ely Folk School (use alley door).A potluck is planned for 6 pm to celebrate the closing of another cherished season of community canoe building. The evening will include work on […]

2019 Construction

The Birch Bark Canoe Project has been extended into September and October and will meet on Sundays from 1-5 pm for eight weeks. We will meet in the North Classroom at the Ely Folk School. We will resume work on the new 20-foot canoe with a goal of completing it by October 27th. The first session includes carving pegs, […]

Anishinaabe Origins

Dear Canoe Builders, Friends, and Supporters: Greetings! We are excited to offer the 2019 Birch Bark Canoe Project (BBCP) at the Ely Folk School; handcrafting, learning, and sharing! Welcome to Ely’s Birch Bark Canoe Project (BBCP)! Thank you to all of our participants and supporters! We respectfully honor the Anishinaabe origin of the birch bark […]

Canoe Flotilla to Lac La Croix Pow Wow

Ely Folk School Canoe Flotilla Attends Ojibwe Pow Wow The Ely Folk School’s efforts to build bridges with our local native communities gained traction last weekend with our second canoe flotilla across the Boundary Waters to Ontario’s Lac La Croix Village.  Nine EFS enthusiasts in four canoes enjoyed the three-day trip to share in the […]