Thirty-one years ago former Kaslo mayor Roy Green lent the Nelson museum his beautifully crafted 16-foot cedar strip canoe. Now the canoe is returning to Kaslo in compliance with wishes of Green’s family to be displayed on the SS Moyie.
Green was born in Peterborough, Ont. in 1899 and apprenticed with the Lakefield Canoe Company while growing up there. He built the cedar strip canoe himself in 1918. Canoe building is an important part of Peterborough’s history.
He made a number of visits to Kaslo from 1921 to visit his great uncles, well known Kaslo businessmen Robert and Sam Green, and their families. The Green family was well connected to the community. Robert Francis Green was Kaslo’s first mayor in 1893 and Samuel Howard Green was an alderman on that first city council. Sam was mayor in 1908.
Roy Green decided to settle permanently in Kaslo in 1927. He worked in the construction business building houses and mine buildings but also in boatbuilding and boat repairs. He was an ardent outdoorsman and led the local boy scout troop for a while.
He spent almost every weekend in the spring and summer on Kootenay Lake and beaches. Eventually he arranged to have his canoe shipped out to Kaslo and in 1976 he refinished it.
In his later years he paddled his canoe on Kootenay Lake on a number of occasions. He was curator for 12 years of the SS Moyie and was mayor of Kaslo too on a number of occasions from 1942 to 1977. In 1969 he was instrumental in motivating the citizens to persuade village council not to tear down the 1898 City Hall and replace it with a cinder block building. City hall is now a national historic site and has recently been restored. Green died in 1990.
Green’s canoe, a fine example of a cedar strip Peterborough canoe, will be displayed as an item of freight on the SS Moyie.
“It will be great to see the canoe on display in Kaslo,” Touchstones Nelson collections manager Jean-Philippe Stienne said. “It appears to have been Roy’s wish that the canoe should eventually go on display in Kaslo and it’s great that this is now happening on the centenary of the canoe’s construction.”