Algonquin Outfitters

Almost $33,000 raised in second Algonquin Outfitters charity paddle art auction

MUSKOKA ON, September 30, 2019 ― Given a blank canvas, it’s amazing what an artist can create. And given a good cause, what a community can do is no less impressive.

Paddle Art AuctionThe second Algonquin Outfitters charity paddle art contest and auction not only featured amazing works of art, each created from a blank paddle, it raised $12,000 more than the inaugural 2017 auction.

The paddle art contest began early in 2018, when the paddle blanks could be picked up by artists with their $30 entry fee. Artists had 18 months until the contest deadline to carve, paint, or adorn their paddles however they wished. By the end of August this year, 82 paddles had been submitted. Some paid homage to the local landscape and wildlife. Others were more abstract. All were a unique representation of the artists’ visions.

“It was really incredible to see all of the different paddles come in,” said Randy Mitson, Marketing Director for Algonquin Outfitters, adding that there were several professional artists who entered, along with many very talented amateur artists.

Online Bidding

The online auction began on September 15 through auction site HiBid—a choice AO made to streamline the bidding process. Two events at the Algonquin Theatre—a sneak peek on September 27 featuring live music by Sean Cotton who played the 4 string Paddle Guitar and a six-hour open house event on September 28 featuring the short film Wild Temagami and music by Hack and Heron—gave bidders a chance to see the paddles in person.

By the time the first paddles started to close on September 29, fundraising had already exceeded the amount raised in the inaugural auction. Paddles closed one at a time and, if a bid was placed within the last minute, an additional 60 seconds was added to the clock to allow other bidders to counter. When the last paddle closed, an incredible $32,875 had been raised for five arts organizations.

A Touch of Fall, created by local wood carver Don McKenzie, received the top bid of $1,675. Followed closely by Feather Your Paddle created by Susan Dell that received a bid of $1,450. See all of the paddles, and their bid totals, at

These paddles realized the highest bids

Top ten art paddles

“We had hoped to surpass the last total,” said Mitson. “We’re thrilled that it raised so much more, funds that will support the arts.”

There were more than 400 registered bidders who made 4,331 bids during the auction. They came from across Canada, including the Yukon and Baffin Island, the northeastern U.S., Texas, and the U.K. Paddles will be ready for pick up soon, or can be shipped to bidders if requested.

Bidders came from all over the world not just Ontario

Proceeds from the auction will support the Algonquin Art Centre, the Artists in Schools program through the Haliburton Art Council, Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture (OLAC), the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound, and the Town of Huntsville’s reserve fund for future acquisition of public art.

Prizes in the contest, which go to the eight artists whose paddles received the top bids, included Algonquin Outfitters gift cards worth $500 each, a prize bundle from The Tom Thomson Art Gallery, a $250 gift certificate from the Oxtongue Craft Cabin, donated by the Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture, dinner for 2 at Bartlett Lodge, a White Birches Resort getaway for 2, and four months of unlimited yoga from Veda Yoga.

Will they do it again? Yes! says Mitson. Watch the Algonquin Outfitters website for contest details in early 2020. The third Algonquin Outfitters Charity Paddle Art Auction will be held in the fall of 2021.

Many of the paddles entered


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