Kirk Wipper

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Kirk Wipper
Kirk Albert Walter Wipper

(1923-12-06)December 6, 1923
DiedMarch 18, 2011(2011-03-18) (aged 87)
Known forfounder of the Canadian Canoe Museum

Kirk Albert Walter Wipper, CM (December 6, 1923 – March 18, 2011) was a Canadian academic and founder of the Canadian Canoe Museum, which is located in Peterborough, Ontario.[1][2] He has been called a "pioneer in the development of outdoor education in Canada."[1]


Wipper was born December 6, 1923, in Grahamdale, Manitoba.

Canadian Canoe Museum[edit]

Wipper formed the Kanawa International Collection of Canoes, Kayaks and Rowing Craft.[1] His collection, which consisted of more than six hundred individual watercraft, including kayaks and canoes, became the basis for what would become the Canadian Canoe Museum.[1] In 1957, Wipper was gifted a dugout canoe, which is believed to have been crafted in 1890.[1] Wipper soon began collecting other watercraft, which grew to approximately one hundred fifty pieces by the late 1960s.[1] Wipper constructed a facility to house his collection at Camp Kandalore, a summer camp he owned in the vicinity of Dorset, Ontario.[1] However, his growing collection outgrew this building, necessitating a search for a new facility.[1] Wipper was contacted by a group of individuals, including several affiliated with the Trent University, who were interested in moving his collection to a permanent exhibition space in Peterborough, Ontario.[1] Wipper agreed to the proposal and a board of directors was formed for the project in 1989.[1] In 1994, Wipper donated his entire collection to the new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.[1] He remained active in the museum as a volunteer and consultant.[1]

Academic career[edit]

Wipper became a faculty member of the University of Toronto's School of Physical and Health Education in 1950.[1] He worked as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto until his retirement in 1987.[1] Wipper then served as the director of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award of Canada and the President of the Royal Life Saving Society of Canada following his retirement from academia.[1] Wipper also founded Camp Kandalore in Ontario and co-founded the Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association[2].

Camp Kandalore[edit]

For many years he created and headed up one of Canada's leading camps for boys (girls would later be included in 1992[3]) with canoeing and the outdoors as its primary focus. This is perhaps one of his greatest achievements, as Camp Kandalore set the standard for Summer Camps throughout Ontario, focussing on skills and mentorship and embracing the outdoors and nature as partners in a young boy's journey to becoming a man.

Throughout his years at Kandalore, he led an extensive canoe tripping strategy. However, in the past decades (post 1990's) through separate ownership a focus on in-camp residential experiences emphasizing activities became of greater focus to the camps operation.


In 2002, Wipper was named to the Order of Canada and the Order of St. John.[4][2] He was also a recipient of the Ontario Bicentennial Medal and the Government of Canada Centenary Medal.[1]

Kirk Wipper died from a choking accident related to Parkinson's disease while eating dinner with friends and family in Petersborough on March 18, 2011, at the age of 87.[1][2] He was survived by his wife, Ann.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Clifford, Dale (2011-03-21). "Kirk Wipper founded canoe museum". Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  2. ^ a b c d "Canoe museum founder dies, Kirk Wipper inspired a community to build what has become a tourist attraction and education centre". Kawartha Lakes This Week. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  3. ^ "History | Kandalore". Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  4. ^ Ryell, Nora. "Kirk Wipper founded the Canadian Canoe Museum", ' 'The Globe and Mail' ', Toronto, 8 May 2011. Retrieved on 19 September 2014.