Le Gouvernail and L’Avant

I have been trying for some years to make the quintessential Canadian paddle and this year I have been thinking about the cooperation and unity of the nations that have created this country.  The Ottawa river is a great symbol for that unity, being such a major part of the fur trade that opened up the country, so the Voyageur style paddle is a perfect fit.  The largest paddle in the boat was the Gourvernail paddle, used at the back to steer the ship- a fitting tool for someone such as Mayor Watson.  The lesser known person, however, was l’Avant, who like the title indicates was in the bow of the boat and whose job was to ensure a clear path for the canoe, avoiding possible obstacles that lay ahead- seems like a fitting paddle for Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.  The Avant had a slightly smaller blade for their somewhat more subtle work.

The wood in the paddle is, of course, truly Canadian.  The waving flag is comprised of both hard, curly maple and soft, wavy or flamed maple.  The shaft and edges are ash, basswood and cedar- all wonderful woods found in the Ottawa Valley.  

ORK_ML_LSP8043DSC_5138 Andy & Sophie- Mike Beedell Photo copy