Canoes were used by the native people of Canada and America. In the North boats were made from birchbark but further South boats were made from dug out trees. The master birchbark builders were the Algonquins.
Modern canoeing really started when settlers in the Ontario area of Canada began to produce their own boats. They lacked the skills of the native Algonquins and started producing dugout boats.
In 1857 John Stephenson entered a local canoe race using a boat that had been made by bending boards over the body of his racing dugout from the previous year.
Canoes have been made out of a number of different materials but in the 1970s a company called Coleman introduced plastic canoes and today most canoes are plastic. Canoeing or “Open Boating” as it is often referred to has been promoted heavily by British Canoeing and the Open Canoe Association.