Read reviews for the Canadienne by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I was familiar with all of Old Towns models, or so I thought. I had never heard of the Canadienne. I asked around and searched the internet, discovering the boats legendary performance reputation. I bought it for 300 dollars. I don't know the year. Late 80's? The gunwhales are Ash and Mahogany with brass deck plates. The hull is fiberglass green.
My fiance and I have done many day trip paddles and it performed excellent; but I really noticed its abilities this past weekend. For my bachelor party I spent 4 days paddling in Western Maine with a group buddies. There were a variety of boats represented including Old Town Trippers and Discovery's and a nice old Mad River. The Canadienne blew them all away. People couldn't stop talking about it! These were experienced professional paddles who could not keep up with my boat partner and I if their lives depended on it. I was amazed. The Canadienne may as well have been an Italian sports car on the track with mini-vans! Highly recommended indeed!
Another important tip is to run a very small bead of clear silicone sealant at the joint where the outer side of the hull meets the ash outer gunnel. The bead should be very small and you will never even notice it when done right. There's no sense in make a larger bead. That will prevent water from making it into the canoe in the first place when the canoe is upside down outside. But still drill the holes in the brass end caps as insurance.
Sadly, Ralph Frese, the legendary canoeist and historian who designed the Old Town Canadienne died a while back [Dec. 2012]. I'm not sure if Chicagoland Canoe Base is still in business. Until near the end, you could talk Ralph into building a new Canadienne if you were nice.
If you have an Old Town Canadienne, hold onto it! You have one of the finest canoes ever made.
Since the lines of any canoe I own are very important to me, I studied this beauty from all angles. The owner, who was naturally very proud and willing to talk gave me his understanding of the boat's brief history. He also stated it wasn't the lightest kevlar canoe around, but easy enough to handle by himself. He also said he bought his used and sees them for sale occasionally. When I got home, I read the reviews on paddling.com and started looking but for some time, none were found. Finally, one came available on paddling.com, and it was the exact same boat I had seen in Maine, but in Red. AND, it was in brand new condition! I took the advice of one reviewer on paddling.com and snapped it up. All of the superlatives are accurate and; I drilled small holes in the end-caps, I will round the outside edges of the gunwales when I refinish the wood (some time in the future, because they're still like new) and I may lower the seats a little because we tend to paddle her with no load, so with her prospector-style hull, we sit pretty high. That said, we have not had a problem with tenderness, so I may just leave them as they are.
All in all, I love this boat, so if you get the chance...
Since I only use it during the fall, winter and spring, it has remained in relatively good shape. About every five years I spend a couple weekends stripping and re-varnishing the wood gunwales, thwarts and seats. I’ve recaned the seats twice. My favorite time to paddle is at sunrise when the air is cold and the lake is still and glassy. All I can hear is a light clap of water under the fiberglass and the peeps of coots and ducks.
It is my first canoe and the cosmetic beginner abuse is apparent. I'm now again in love with it and would like to fix it up. I'm planning on ordering new wooden gunnels from the factory and replacing the aluminum gunnels. Has anybody ever performed this swap? If so, I'd be interested in hearing about your experience?
A match for both of us. To make a long story short, it's mine now. I refinished the wood trim and replaced the caning on the seats. A word of caution when storing them upside down. Drill a small hole in the brass cap to allow the water to drain out lest the wood inwales soak it up and rot. I replaced a short section when refinishing the wood and it looks like a factory job.
Handling is a dream come true. It's fast, very fast, carried a load well and responds to the slightest nuance of the paddle. It also gains initial stability if loaded well. I am headed to Quetico in July 2000 for 21 days and the Canadienne will lead the charge. She always does.
This canoe handles extremely well with it's moderate rocker. For us, it's just about the perfect compromise design for nice tracking on lakes and nice turning when needed. A great deal of thought went into it's design and the experienced eye quickly recognizes the beautiful lines of this canoe at a glance, even when on the roof of the car. In fact, it very often attracts canoe enthusiasts attention when they see it. In never fails to generate positive comments.
We chose the optional mahogany trim, which is beautifully done. However, I rounded off the square edges last year before re-varnishing them (they didn't need it though). We like this canoe so much, in fact, that we are thinking of buying the 18' kevlar version (our current 17' 2" model is fiberglass). It's an great tripper and a great cruiser. If you are interested, you can call Chicagoland Canoe Base, owned by the designer of this canoe, or you could call Old Town. But, be warned that Old Town does not publicize this canoe. In fact, when I talked to them, they pretended like they didn't make this canoe any longer, but when pressed they admitted that they are still available. They are, perhaps, one of the only hand laid up fiberglass or kevlar designs that they still make - but on special order only. They saved the mold for this canoe. After admitting that this canoe is still available, the guys at Old Town raved about this canoe. It was the all-time personalfavorite of the man that I talked to at Old Town and he said that it is one of the fastest canoes they have ever made, racing canoes excepted, of course.
It's truly a great canoe. Next year I plan to do a 1 month solo trip in Quetico with it.