Flying Canoe Pub has real canoes

The Flying Canoe West Coast Pub takes its name seriously.



The Flying Canoe West Coast Pub takes its name seriously.

The second of two genuine West Coast canoes was hung recently from the ceiling of the former Gulliver’s Pub at the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel and Convention Centre in Courtenay. It hangs not far from the first one, which was made by the same person.

Don Roberts, a 37-year Sooke resident, came up from his current home in Colwood recently to visit the pub with his wife Marion and Lynn Allaire, the eldest of their four daughters, and witness the hanging of his second canoe.

Roberts, who was born in Elnora, Alta., in 1922 moved to Sooke in 1946.

His passion for woodworking led him to complete many wooden projects, including bedroom suites, tables, lamps and even wooden puzzles.

While visiting his daughter Shari in the mid-1990s in Two Hills, Alta., Roberts was introduced by Shari’s husband George to the art of building a cedar strip canoe.

Although in his 70s, Roberts learned how to cut canoe “ribs” and one-inch strips of cedar and how to place the strips on the rib frame, gluing each strip carefully in place.

Back home in Sooke, Roberts bought cedar, glue and fiberglass, then built a canoe complete with woven seats. After many long hours, he finished his “labour of love” in Allaire’s words, complete with a maple leaf from their property sealed at one end of the canoe.

He then made a second, longer, canoe — inserting a pine strip on each side as a way of personalizing it.

“The canoes were used mostly on vacations with his daughters and carry many fond memories of paddling with the family,” Allaire says.

He used one of them to hunt moose, too, Roberts adds.

The canoes, which Roberts estimates took him a year each to build, were restored by Jeff Matwyko in December 2010 and June 2011.

The canoes were acquired by Westerly general manager Michelle LeSage and now they help the artfully modernized pub live up to its name.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Comox Valley Sports Centre re-opened in the summer. Photo supplied
Comox Valley Sports Centre Commission chair commends staff efforts in challenging year

Comox Valley Sports Centre Commission chair Daniel Arbour delivered a year-end report… Continue reading

The Lamplighters wants to end its lease with the village. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Briefs: Cumberland agrees to end hall lease with Lamplighters

Council aims to add more daytime meetings in 2021 for seniors

A rendering of the proposed window covering and sign for the business planned for downtown Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland report
Cumberland approves location change for cannabis permit

Site next door to the one planned seen as more financially feasible

The DPAC is holding an online forum on Nov. 30 for candidates for the upcoming school district byelection. Screenshot DPAC poster
Online forum for Comox Valley school board byelection is Nov. 30

Six candidates have filed papers to fill the trustee position in Area C

The Food Share program volunteers pack supplies for food-insecure families. Screenshot, CCSS website
Cumberland council OK’s money for food program

Community school group asks to use unused money to help families

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Most Read