Bow to Stern Canoe Association
It was the canoe manned by the original voyageurs that journeyed through our Canadian waterways to open the West to settlements, a valuable part of Canada’s heritage that paints a spiritual picture of who and where we are. The value of our heritage was recognized and celebrated on our Canadian Centennial in 1967 through a canoe race which traced the path of the voyageur - all the way from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to Montreal, Quebec.
Each province was given the chance to create a professional canoe team to enter the race. Atikokan, a small town in northern Ontario that boasts some of the most beautiful canoeing areas in Canada, was instrumental in contributing about half of the Ontario team members for the 1967 race. Longtime resident Don Meany is one of those legendary members, who has dedicated his life to keeping Canada’s and Atikokan’s canoeing history alive; a history he has shared through his business of producing handcrafted paddles that bear the name of original Voyageurs (McKenzie, LaVerendrye, Thompson) and by naming his company after an original Fur Trading Company. Meany has also used his influence to play an instrumental role in designating Atikokan as the Canoeing Capital of Canada, and through imparting his historical knowledge in passionate stories - stories that entice one to listen.
Upon his retirement, Meany passed his knowledge and skills to his son Spencer, who has not only continued on his business path, but also participated in a number of professional canoe races. Upon seeing the historical and economic value to Atikokan, in 2006 Spencer Meany was afforded an opportunity to hold a professional canoe race in Atikokan on Canada Day. As a result of this highly successful event the Bow to Stern Association was formed, in order to ensure that part of our heritage is preserved, as ‘canoe racing’ becomes a traditional event of Atikokan.