Festival Canoe

Nuu-Chah-nulth Canoe For Sale – Carved by Joe Martin and Carl Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Carving Festival Canoe - Joe Martin

The Carving on the Edge Festival proudly presents this 17-foot traditional Tla-o-qui-aht cedar canoe hand carved by the renowned Martin brothers, Joe and Carl. The Martin family, including the late Billy Martin, have been carving canoes since the sixties, and along with their father and grandfathers, are responsible for keeping the art of canoe making alive on the west coast. The Martins, who are experienced men of the sea, are known for their canoes all over the world. They have carved over 50 canoes that can be found in First Nations coastal villages in British Columbia, as well as museums and private collections worldwide.

This canoe was carved in September 2011 as a part of the Carving on the Edge Festival in Tofino. The Martin brothers gave a workshop on the art of making a traditional canoe; it was finished by November 2011. Contact us if you are interested in supporting the festival by purchasing this canoe.

The design of the Nuu-chah-nulth Canoe which is the “canoe of choice” on the West Coast of Vancouver island, was so well evolved and copied so faithfully by native builders, that today’s canoes are almost indistinguishable from those described by Captain Cook in the late 18th century, on his first encounter with the native peoples here.

Some of these West Coast dugouts were gigantic in size, hewed from the many giant cedar trees then standing. While the whaling canoes seldom exceeded 35 feet, a large freighter canoe might achieve a length of 70 feet (with 40 to 60 feet being most common) and if stretched to its water-soaked limit, achieve a width no greater than 1/7 its length.

The Nuu-Chah-Nulth canoe is a seaworthy vessel designed and modified from centuries in rough Pacific waters. The high upturned prow and stern of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth canoes are designed to enable these vessels to face forward on a beach so as to be able to back out through the breakers. Their flatter bottom allows for easy beaching and loading. But what is especially distinctive about these canoes is that their sides flare out about 30 degrees for much of their length, giving them exceptional stability as they pitch in oceanic swells.

Joe Martin not only works with many carving arts, he also travels extensively to speak about Nuu-chah-nulth culture and the values his ancestors held dear –a sincere respect for and awareness of nature. Carl Martin has worked many years on various carving projects, he is a master paddle maker and he has spent many years recording the area’s histories and place names.

The Martin family has been featured of many documentaries about this region.