Earlier this year, Langford Canoe celebrated 75 years in business. It’s a hotly debated topic in the Canadian canoeing scene as to whether this makes the venerable brand the oldest canoe manufacturer in Canada still operating today. Langford itself certainly lays claim to that title.
While other large-scale manufacturers of cedar canoes in Canada have long since closed their doors, Langford doggedly carries on the tradition, manufacturing 200 to 400 cedar canoes a year.
To celebrate seven-and-a-half decades of good fortune, Langford released the Trapper 16’6 this spring. It was love at first sight for the entire Canoeroots staff. We fell in love with this heritage design’s elegant, sweeping lines.
It’s not just on land that the Tripper exhibits a stately grace. On water it’s a dream to paddle—offering excellent stability, easy tracking and ample speed. Though many trippers swear by cedar designs, this gleaming hull is too gorgeous to muss up on rocks and portages; it seems like the perfect canoe for an afternoon on the bay.
Langford Trapper 16’6 Specs
Depth at center: 13.5″
Weight: 58-62 lbs
Capacity: 750 lbs
The Trapper is a modified version of Langford’s bestselling Legacy, curvier in the stems and with length added to its waterline. The end result is a meeting of form and function—it’s art, and I’m not the only one to think so. Langford’s customers range from paddling enthusiasts to art connoisseurs hunting for a wall showpiece.
From bow to stern, the Trapper illustrates exquisite craftsmanship. Its red cedar planks contrast beautifully with white cedar ribs and mahogany trim. When I pick up our tester, I tour Langford’s retail shop, nestled on the boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park.
Like a fingerprint, each cedar canoe is an individual. Our tester alternates a light and dark striped pattern, others fade from dark to light on a gradient, and still others are a single tone, the color painstakingly matched by Langford’s team of boat builders in their manufacturing facility near Shawinigan, Quebec.
Manufactured in the traditional plank and rib construction style, a method that dates back to the 19th century, I’m floored to discover that 2,500 brass tacks are used in this model.
“There’s a big difference between a cedar plank and rib canoe and a cedar-strip canoe,” Langford Canoe general manager Brent Statten stresses. Building methods aside, the difference comes down to durability. “Even if you somehow put a hole through the three layers of epoxy, the glass, plank and rib, it wouldn’t affect the structural stability of this boat. Cut a new plank, glass it and epoxy it and you’d never know,” says Statten. “Stored correctly, there’s no reason this boat shouldn’t outlive its owner,” he adds.
Gliding through the mist in the Trapper one early morning, these words come back to me. This canoe could live to see Langford’s 175th anniversary. It’s a humbling thought.
This article first appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Canoeroots Magazine.
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