Tom Byers grew up along the St. Lawrence seaway in Canada, the historic heartland of the fur trade era. He has always lived near water. Since 1994 he has honed the craft of birchbark canoe making on the banks of the Vermilion River in northern Ontario near the northwestern boundary of Killarney Wilderness Park.
He builds canoes using the "old ways" based on traditional methods with quality birch bark, spruce root lashings, cedar sheathing and gunwales, hardwood thwarts and spruce gum/bear fat mixture as a waterproof sealant. All completed without the use of power tools. He transforms natural materials from the forest into "living" works of art.
Having built over 70 canoes in a variety of styles he continues the tradition, skill, and passion of birchbark canoe making for future generations.
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"There is something inherently beautiful in a birchbark canoe. The canoe connects us not only to past cultures but reminds us of the importance of nature in our lives. Balance. Harmony. Grace." -Tom Byers