I danced in the olympic “Dancing Canoe”

I had a blast last Friday night dancing in the Dancing Canoe from the Olympic closing ceremonies at the Canadian Canoe Museum Beaver Gala. James Raffan, Executive Director of the Canoe Museum, sent me an email asking for me to dress up and “dance” into the dinner wearing the dancing canoe. Here’s his email:

The schtick we’re hoping to achieve is to have two guys show up late for the event (just after the festivities begin) in the “dancing” canoe. One would be a voyageur (Glen Caradus) in the role of crabby cab driver and the other would be a green bourgeois (that would be you) in the role of uncertain boss who’s trying to get to the party and make a good impression but who’s basically really mad at the voyageur for screwing up the route and not getting there on time. This would be about a three minute event at the beginning of the dinner, with you two guys dancing around the room, arguing, before you sit down to dinner with your date. Everybody here thinks you’d be fantastic in the part. We’d be pleased and proud to have P’bo’s most famous paddler joining the gala. And I think people will be genuinely interested to see what we’ve been calling the “Waltzing Canoe” in action.

How could I refuse? And the act went off without a hitch. The event itself raised a lot of money for the museum. Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio fame was the host and stated “The Canoe Museum is the unsung hero of museums; the canoe is all about moving forward — a great symbol for the future.” Shelagh also revealed to the crowd that night that she was the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Sir George Simpson, who was the governor of the Hudson’s Bay Co. She then donated Simpson’s “mourning ring” to the museum Friday night. It’s gold with a diamond set into black enamel.


The original Beaver Club was founded in 1785 by Montreal-based members of the North West Company. In the early years, the club was a venue for seasoned fur traders to gather over fine food and “generous libations,” according to information from the museum. Everyone who attended was encouraged to dress in attire from 1785 to 1825, typically clothing worn by English, Irish, Scottish or French settlers, or clothing worn by aboriginal peoples.

…and we ate wild boar and drank just a wee bit of whiskey.