The Algonquin Special

TSC is one of the few camps who restores their own Cedar Strip canoes, and likely the only camp in Canada who makes their own Canoes on site.

The Man behind the Canoe

Dave Standfield is our resident canoe builder here at the Taylor Statten Camps and after 43 years at camp, he has a lot of interesting stories to share.  Dave has been responsible for the hand built Algonquin Special canoe since the 1990s.

In the fall of 2020, long time camper and staff Esme Cook sat down with Dave for an interview. For the full interview with Esme and Dave, click here.

You can also read about Dave in Pure Green Magazine here.

War Canoes

The Taylor Statten Camps’ ( Camp Ahmek and Camp Wapomeo) War Canoes are considered the largest wood / canvas canoes in the world (42 ft. long, 59 inches wide at the midpoint, 20 inches in depth). They can seat over 30 paddlers. Made by the Peterborough Canoe Company in 1926 on a special work order from Taylor Statten (The Chief ), they are still used daily at Ahmek and Wapomeo during the summer.

They have been maintained by Stan Murdock, Bill Statten and Dave Standfied over their nearly 80 year history.

To learn more about the War Canoe Restoration Project, click here

To see Dave Stanfield and Langford Canoe inspecting the canvasing process, click here

The restoration project was also featured in Paddler Magazine here


The Algonquin Special in the News! 

Le Grand Portage is an ongoing effort designed to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research.

TSC Alumnus and current camper parent Félix Jasmin launched the initiative after he was diagnosed with MS. His inspiration for the name came from his many summers canoe tripping at Camp Ahmek. TSC played a formative role in Felix’s early years and he became an important part of Camp Ahmek as a long time camper and senior staff member.

One of the rites of passage and highlights of our Quetico Canoe trip is the 13 km portage on the last leg of the trip. It is a daunting but rewarding experience, and so the name represents the road ahead, with its challenges and rewards, for all those living with MS. To learn more, click here.

In the fall of 2021, Dave worked hard to build Felix his very own Algonquin Special to be awarded as the prize to the top fundraiser of the Le Grand Portage.


Q and A with Dave Standfield

  • Where did the Algonquin Special mold come from?

    It was built in the late 1920s by Stan Murdoch to suit our tripping style here in the Park

  • How many canoes has Dave built over the years?

    It’s not as many as most people would think, some years 4 or 5 specials were built and others there were none. I believe it’s around 30 canoes in total, from start to finish.

  • What is the hardest type of canoe repair to do?

    Stems are the most difficult fix. They rot overtime or break with bad canoe care, I can easily tell whether a canoe was damaged accidentally or poorly treated on a trip

  • What is the strangest patch job you’ve seen come back from a canoe trip?

    Melted garbage bags for sure, as well as bubble gum and spruce sap. I wouldn’t recommend any of these. Duct tape is the best quick repair I think

  • How has your canoe building process evolved over the years?

    It’s all trial and error, there is always something I want to improve on, I’m never satisfied.” (That sounds like a perfectionist to me!) “I am proud to say that I have never wavered from using my hand tools. I love them.  The plane and  spokeshave are important to my process. Keeping to the traditional and simple methods is what I prefer

Do you want an Algonquin Special Canoe on your dock? The Algonquin Special is for sale!
Have a cedar strip canoe in need of repair?  We do that too!

Contact for more information – time lines for repairs and new builds could be long

Dave does all work by hand, without power tools!