“It all started when the District approached the College to see if we could help out,” said Janssen, a master carpenter who has worked on many local projects throughout the Peace Region.
Janssen agreed to take on the project and was pleased that French volunteered to assist. The two instructors spent many a long evening after their NLC work day listening to classic rock tunes and working together on the District of Taylor’s canoe.
“I took a look at it and thought this old canoe is pretty beat up so how do we make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear?” smiled Janssen.
“Stephen was actually helping me restore my own classic 1957 Peterborough Mermaid canoe so it was great to help out on a project like this that has roots in the local history and heritage, especially with Canada’s 150th this year,” said French. “I recall seeing the voyageurs during Canada’s centennial as a boy and their appearance left a lasting impression!”
NLC President and CEO Dr. Bryn Kulmatycki, Professional Cook Training instructor Michael French, and Carpentry instructor Stephen Janssen pose in front of the fully refurbished canoe.
The fully restored canoe is a beauty and now sits at the Taylor Visitor Centre after being celebrated at a May 15 ribbon cutting attended by Dr. Bryn Kulmatycki, NLC President and CEO.
“I’m very proud of Stephen and Michael and the way they stepped up for this project,” said Kulmatycki, “This is a very culturally significant piece and the involvement of NLC’s instructors speaks volumes of the College’s commitment to our local partners in celebrating the history and heritage of our beautiful area.”
The canoe was originally built by Glen Kyllo, Taylor’s first ever Commissioner in 1958, and was later donated by the Kyllo family to the District. The canoe is a replica of the vessel explorer Alexander Mackenzie used to traverse the Peace River in 1793 enroute to the Pacific Ocean. The newly refurbished canoe will be an attraction for both residents and tourists coming through the area for the Alaska Highway’s 75th anniversary, said District of Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser.
Main image at top: May 15 Ribbon cutting at Taylor Visitor Centre