On October 18, during the last weekend of the Gatineau Park Fall Rhapsody, the Friends of Gatineau Park and the National Capital Commission jointly proceeded to the unveiling of a birchbark canoe made by Algonquin Elder William Commanda. The ceremony took place at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre during the celebration of Algonquin summerand featured a canoe hand made by Elder Commanda in 1988 and donated to the Friends of Gatineau Park by the Waddell’s family in recognition of the care provided by Dr. Walter G. Waddell to Elder Commanda during the sixties. The birchbark canoe will soon be displayed in the Exhibit area of the Visitor Centre as a vibrant testimony of the Algonquin presence in the region and to provide an opportunity for the general public to appreciate this unique artefact.
Here are a list of the various persons that spoke during this brief but quite touching ceremony which was animated by Marie Boulet, Director of Gatineau Park:
Claudette Commanda – Grand-daughter of William Commanda
Sarah Crowe – Director, Board of Directors, Friends of the Gatineau Park
Mark Kristmanson – Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission
Alexander (Sandy) Waddell – Son of Dr. Walter G. Waddell
Gilbert Whiteduck – Chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Community
Some related materials provided by members of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community will soon be offered for consultation by the Friends of Gatineau Park once the canoe is actually displayed in the Visitor Centre. Here are several photos taken during the unique event. These photos were provided by Michel Lemaire and Femma Van As.