Algonquin Outfitters’ Paddle Art auction supports local art groups


Photos: Algonquin Outfitters

How many ways are there to paint a paddle?

Local artists took up the challenge, using a paddle as their canvas and the great outdoors as their inspiration in the first-ever Algonquin Outfitters Tom Thomson Paddle Art Contest.

They could use any medium and method, as long as their finished piece could be identified as a paddle. Many painted, some carved, others embellished, one even knit a cozy Hudson Bay blanket-inspired cover. One paddle comes with its own song, another can make music. All are as unique as their creators.

See more of the 170 entries on the Algonquin Outfitters’ Facebook page here.

The innovative contest even caught the attention of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, which displayed three of the paddle art entries in its gallery and held a workshop for others who wanted to create their own.

The Algonquin Outfitters Tom Thomson Paddle Art Contest closed on August 31 with more than 170 paddles submitted. Now phase two begins: a public, online auction in support of two local arts organizations. All proceeds from the auction will benefit The Town of Huntsville’s reserve fund for future acquisition of public art and Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture (OLAC).

For most of September you can enter bids online for your favourite paddles. Then, on September 29, join Algonquin Outfitters at the Algonquin Theatre for a live event where you can view all of the paddles in person and continue to bid.

Enjoy live entertainment by local musician Sean Cotton (playing a Canjo – an electric banjo created from a paddle for the contest!), watch the film The Canoe, and sample the new Tom Thomson-inspired West Wind Black IPA from sponsor Lake of Bays Brewery. Paddle creators and contest partners will take to the stage for an open mic session to talk about their experience.

Schedule for the September 29 Paddle Auction live event:
  • Culture Days weekend flag raising and launch information
  • 3pm – 9pm Tom Thomson Paddle Art Auction open house viewing
  • Lake of Bays Brewing Co. – West Wind Black IPA sampling
  • 6:00pm – 7:00pm Artist open mic to talk about their paddle creations
  • 7:00pm – 7:30pm Huntsville Culture Days information presentation
  • 7:30pm – 8:00pm Free viewing of The Canoe film by Goh Iromoto / Ontario Travel
  • 8:00pm – 9:00pm music by Sean Cotton and artist open mic
  • 8:00pm – Midnight – Last call for online bids for paddles

Bidding closes at midnight (EDT) on September 29, so you can continue to bid from home until the final seconds of the auction. Place your bids here. starting September 7.

Creators of the paddles that receive the highest bids are eligible for prizes including a Badger paddle, a canoe trip for two, a $500 Algonquin Outfitters shopping spree, a weekend resort getaway, art classes, and more.

“We are thrilled with the number of paddles that have been submitted,” says Randy Mitson, Algonquin Outfitters Marketing Director. “If you see a paddle that you want to have, bid early and often to support these art organizations and show the paddle creators how much their effort is appreciated.”

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  1. Love the video of the paddle guitar..very creative…It should fetch a pretty penny at the Auction. Hat’s off to its creator! Well done…worthy of Red Green…even if there is no duct tape

  2. Leanne Witt, North Bay on

    What a great event, representing so many great artists. We were fortunate to win a bid for a paddle and will truly appreciate this Muskoka piece of art! Leanne Witt, North Bay

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