Algonquin Outfitters

Paddle Art Auction Exceeds Expectations

When Algonquin Outfitters (AO) hatched the idea for a paddle art contest, they had no idea what kind of interest it would generate.

Paddle Art Auction Cheque

Tom Thomson 100 years Huntsville OntarioThe contest launched at the Reel Paddling Film Festival at the Algonquin Theatre on June 3, 2016. AO set a goal of 100 submissions and $10,000 raised at the paddle auction to follow for its two chosen recipients: Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture (OLAC) and the Town of Huntsville reserve fund for future acquisition of public art.

Submissions were slow at first, but then as the contest gained momentum in its final weeks the number of paddles received doubled those expectations, with 206 received by the time the contest closed, and AO wondered if they might also double their fundraising goal.

The contest ended on August 31, after which art and paddling enthusiasts alike could bid on their favourites until the online auction closed at midnight on September 29. In the final hours of the auction, Algonquin Outfitters hosted a live event at the Algonquin Theatre where the paddles were on display and local musician Sean Cotton provided entertainment, playing a paddle guitar submitted for the contest.

Listen to Sean’s, The Tao of Paddling


Bidding was fierce that night, at times overwhelming the auction site with high traffic volumes.

“We received nearly 3,000 online bids,” said Randy Mitson, AO’s Marketing Director. “It was a huge success, so successful that our website saw hundreds of people all trying to bid in the last few hours at the same time which did result in some website traffic jams. There were a few lessons learned for next time we host this event.”

In the end, the auction raised a total of $20,094 for the two arts groups.

Two of the three paddles that received the highest bids were submitted by local artists Janine Marson and Don MacKenzie who both asked not to be included in the contest. Janine’s “Tom Thomson” painted paddle garnered a bid of $675 while Don’s carved “Eagle Feather” earned $601.

Between the two was a paddle painted by Christine Gagné, “The Journey Begins”, which sold for $671, putting it first in the contest. Christine says she was shocked by the win.

“I’ve always wanted to get my name out there as an artist,” she said, adding that she had loved art since she was five years old, but stopped painting for a while as an adult. She picked it up again, often painting on objects like feathers, and has even connected with renowned wildlife painter Robert Bateman who encouraged her to put her art on canvas.

Her paddle depicts a bear, moose and howling wolf on one side, and a tranquil scene with loons on the other.

“I wanted to do something to portray (Algonquin Park) in the paddle with a Tom Thomson twist,” said Christine. “I wanted to paint something people could relate to.” She picked up a paddle on a trip to Algonquin Park this summer and got to work, submitting her entry just two weeks before the deadline.

Christine, along with the artists of the eight other paddles that received top bids, gets to choose from among some amazing prizes from Algonquin Outfitters and other sponsors: a Badger paddle, an Algonquin Outfitters three-day Ultimate Canoe Trip for two, a Mosquito.Buzz cottage treatment, a Nixon watch, a White Birches Resort getaway for two, a North Art Supplies gift certificate, painting lessons with Janine Marson, a gift certificate for a Yakima rack, and Algonquin Outfitters gift certificates.

 

The paddle contest entries that earned the highest bids were:

  1. The Journey Begins by Christine Gagné, London, Ontario ($671)
  2. Tom’s Paddle and Palette by Louise Scott-Bushell ($401)
  3. Jack Pine by Catharine de Mountmorency, Etobicoke, Ontario ($400)
  4. A Spirit’s Journey by Dawna VanSoelen, East Garafraxa, Ontario ($365)
  5. The Muses by Greg Hodge, Brighton, Ontario ($350)
  6. Tom’s Skull by Tyler Muzzin, Woodstock, Ontario ($330)
  7. Northern Lights by Robert McAffee ($325)
  8. Alerted Moose in Moonlight by Carole Thur, Bracebridge, Ontario ($313)
  9. Algonquin Loon by Sean Lehan, Kitchener, Ontario ($311)
  10. Family and Friends at Oxtongue by Shelley Boerkamp, Waterford, Ontario ($305)

You can see all of the paddles and bids at algonquinoutfitters.com/auction

“We are thrilled with the results of the auction and happy to support these two great organizations, as well as bringing awareness to the importance of supporting arts and culture,” said Mitson. “The artists showed tremendous creativity in all of their submissions – thank you to all for your efforts.”

Algonquin Outfitters plans to run another paddle art contest, likely opening in the spring of 2018 and closing in the fall of 2019. Stay tuned for details!

Photo Gallery

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Photos courtesy of Limelight Muskoka

7 Comments

  • Kate says:

    Congratulations to the winners!! Excellent contest, glad it was such a success!!

  • Shirley Blain says:

    This was a most amazing and creative event obviously thought out by forward-looking people.
    It takes time to process and put into action an idea as such,and I feel privileged to have participated.
    What a progressive idea!! What wonderful art!!

    Thank you,
    Shirley

  • Ian says:

    Is there a list to see who won?

    • Thanks for asking Ian, the list of Paddle Art Contest winners is actually in the article you just posted on..

      The paddle contest entries that earned the highest bids were:

      The Journey Begins by Christine Gagné, London, Ontario ($671)
      Tom’s Paddle and Palette by Louise Scott-Bushell ($401)
      Jack Pine by Catharine de Mountmorency, Etobicoke, Ontario ($400)
      A Spirit’s Journey by Dawna VanSoelen, East Garafraxa, Ontario ($365)
      The Muses by Greg Hodge, Brighton, Ontario ($350)
      Tom’s Skull by Tyler Muzzin, Woodstock, Ontario ($330)
      Northern Lights by Robert McAffee ($325)
      Alerted Moose in Moonlight by Carole Thur, Bracebridge, Ontario ($313)
      Algonquin Loon by Sean Lehan, Kitchener, Ontario ($311)
      Family and Friends at Oxtongue by Shelley Boerkamp, Waterford, Ontario ($305)

  • Brenda Clarke says:

    Congratulations to everyone involved and especially the winners! It was a privilege to be part of thi and my only regret is not being able to attend the live event, but alas we were away.
    I hope that Randy will do this again in 2018 and look forward to hopefully participating again!
    Kudos to all and am thrilled that it raised so much money!

    Cheers Brenda

  • Lorraine Bagnell says:

    I was very impressed with the paddle entries and bid on four paddles with the hope of getting two. I am the proud owner of 1 paddle – “Archieves” but missed out on my other choices. I was purchasing these as a memory gift for my two sons. While they were young and growing up we spent many holidays and weekends in Algonquin Park. I thought the paddles would make an excellent gift for Christmas. If you know where I can purchase some style of paddle (similar to those in the contest), would you please provide me with contact information. I am so happy that the contest was such a success and hope that perhaps you would do this again in the future.

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