Got to pondering about the Candienne. Is the Candienne from Chicagoland canoe base the same as the old towne Candienne? And is the Old towne candienne basically a Penobscot in composite? I was wondering what the consensus is.

every once in awhile I come across some of the Old towne Composites and stand back in awe. At one race the Old towne solo(looked suspeciously like a penobscot 15) came in real close to the foot and a half longer Advantages…No portages though.

yes and no

– Last Updated: Aug-05-04 11:27 PM EST –

bell is making replicas of the old town canadienne in 17' and, if i'm not mistaken, 18' also. originally old town made 16' and 17' models. i almost bought one in the early 90's from a paddle shop in steven's point, wi. a friend who is a bwcaw outfitter used to rent them so i paddled them there also. was a boat i really enjoyed paddling. as for penobscot comparison, i guess it was a bit similar "feel", but faster. it was a bit like a prospector, more secondary than primary stability, but faster than the typical prospector-like hull. to me, the boat was more similar to the mad river malecite (with more of recurved bow) than the old town penobscot. but that still doesn't describe it the way i'm trying to. the best way i can describe it is that it's a relatively fast tripping hull that would be somewhere between a prospector and a malecite. hope that helps, instead of confuses you! ww

ww–would you prefer it over a
prospetor hull for class I-II river tripping?

no, not enough rocker

– Last Updated: Aug-06-04 12:18 AM EST –

i think novacraft's prospector, mad river 16' explorer, wenonah adirondack (funny, those hulls are as different from each other as can be) would be better choices for river tripping. plus, when i checked the prices, imho they were very over-priced. the canadienne, as i recall, had very little rocker and was more of a lake boat. of course, the adirondack has very little rocker, but turns very easily. my prospector comparison was more in relation to recurved stems and the gentle, predictable "rolliness" of the canoe in rough water. ww

Thank you Pamskee for ealier advice.
I spoke to Ralph Frese at the Chicagoland canoe base a few months ago. He is an interesting man and quite the oral historian. He is the designer of the Bell Canadienne. It can be found here. . If I recall, he stated that it is indeed the same mold as the “old” old town model.

Pamskee, you may recall steering me to the Chicagoland Canoe Base after a pnet inquiry a few months ago. Thanks for the advice, as it was a great visit and I will definitely return when I am in the area. They have some very freindly staff. Ralph is quite the nice gentleman and full of history and stories. The shop itself is a throwback to the old world shops that are nearly extinct. There is even still a functioning blacksmith shop in the back shop. All of this in the middle of a major city neighborhood. Thanks again.

Sweet Boat
The Canadienne(s) were designed by Ralph Frese of Chicagoland Canoe base and were produced for Ralph by Old Town until a couple yesrs ago when Old Town decided to drop the line. Ralph then arranged to have the 17’ and 18’ molds shipped to Bell for production. The Bell production in my opinion is far surpassing the Old Town quality (at least the last seven or eight years of Old Town production). There is also a 16’ version which is not currently in production, but is a terrific boat and solos great.

The 17’ boat has 1 3/4" over the first 38", bow and stern, has a shallow arch profile, and the recurved bow helps shed waves in the wind. A real sweet versatile canoe for lake-boundary water tripping and nice boat for moderate rivers. Will not handle class II as efficiently as a prospector but is really no problem. Certainly is a speedier craft.

One of the best tandems in production.

18’ Columbia
The Canadienne was made in 16’ and 17’ versions that paddled very differently. The 16 was narrow compared to other Old Town offerings and with a fairly rounded bottom did not have the initial stability to please most paddlers, it scared most novices. The 17’ was more stable initially due to a slightly wider middle and the extra length. The 18’ Composite hull was called the Columbia and it was less traditional in its design, lower ends, straighter stems and very little rocker. Separate design from the Canadiennes.

I agree with the above post that the Old Town composite hulls were overpriced, and overweight. To keep the interior smooth they were not vacuum bagged in either glass or kevlar layups and were as heavy in kevlar as a comparable Wenonah 16’ Adirondack or 17’ Spirit in glass.

Nice paddling boats, great trim work in wood, and durable hulls, but pricey and heavy.

Charlie, the solo you saw that was close to Advantage in speed was not a Penobscot design, but possibly the solo E.M. White design that was sold as an Old Towne Northern Light solo. White had two modern designs that they sold as White Lightnings for a short time before Johnson Outdoors folded E.M. White into Old Town. Old Town even produced a solo named the CJ special, after Cliff Jacobson, when his smiling face was pro Old Town, before he became pro Mad River, pro Dagger, pro Wenonah, pro Bell.

as i recall…
…i believe i mostly paddled the 16’ version. it was a 16’ canadienne that i almost bought. i didn’t realize the 18’ ot columbia and the bell 18’ canadienne was the same boat. it was a sweet paddling boat, and i’d like to get the 17’ bell version, but $2400 is a bit steep for me! ww

Thatt is it
the 15 footer was a northern light. The lines in the middle with the shallow arch reminded me of the penobscot though…

thanks ww—that matches what we
have surmised. Our friends Novacraft Prospector is really handy and faster than a Dagger Legend. The Canadienne looks more like a lake boat.

Hope your arm is healing well.

logjam–glad you got to visit Canoebase.
Ralph Freese is a 4th generation blacksmith. His dad immigrated from Germany and built that shop. He’s hoping that his boat collection ends up in a museum. He’s got a lot of interesting canoe history hanging around. Did he show you any of the 'Prairie Tides’video? A couple of our neighbors are paddling voyageur canoes in it.

the canadienne is a sweet hull, that i wish i had bought. but, arround here, i really wouldn’t paddle it that much since it’s not a river boat. that novacraft is a better river boat, and i really like those seats. and the friend that bought one it said the company was great to deal with. ww

These are indeed the same designs
I have owned an Old Town Canadienne 17, and the Bell Canadienne 17

is the same design (paddled it a few months ago)

Fast, quite maneuverable and incredible dry, but not so easy to

paddle in hard winds when empty (compared to my present canoe with

the same capacity…) Also I didn’t like the stability when heeled

outside in a turn with much speed, and in waves it had a

pronounced roll ‘movement’ that I did not appreciate.

The Old Town Columbia was a whole different design, that had little

(probably nothing) to do with the Canadienne. It was more a rival

for canoes like the 18 Jensen and Sawyer Cruiser.

The Canadiennes did look like the Penobscots, but I think they

were not the same.

And I do not consider those OT canoes to be overbuild, but rather

build more for strength and durability than for super light weight.

canadienne roots
The canadienne series of designs by Mr. Freese are similar to the canoes built in Ontario in the early 1900s by William English. V shaped sections blending into a shallow arch in the mid-section. Quite a bit of rocker. Wonderful shapes, a pleasure to paddle.

The 16 and the 18.6 Canadiennes were actually designed by Howie La Bant and not Frese. Frese did however use these two hulls to develop the 17’2" version built by O.T. as well as his line of Voyageur replicas. The general design is based on the Peterborough but with a flatter bottom and rocker added to the ends of the canoe.

The 18’ OT Columbia was a dog and had nothing to do with the Canadienne. I believe it was in OT line for just one year…perhaps two,

The entry line on the Columbia stopped abruptly about 6 inches from the ends whereas the entry line on the 17 Canadienne extends about 2 1/2’.