Al’s Biography

Al Ridgway was a career musician who retired to pursue his other passion: building specialty canoes, kayaks and the occasional piece of furniture.

He built his first watercraft in 1982 while playing trumpet for the Stratford Festival Orchestra.  It was a 17 foot Mi’kmaq canoe designed by David Hazen.  The wood used for the hull was Sitka spruce which made the canoe a bit on the heavy side but very strong.  The stems were designed to cut deeply into the water thereby replacing any need for a keel.  The extra weight allowed the canoe to track extremely well in open water.  After these many years, it’s still a blonde beauty!

Since then, Al has built many more boats (using lighter materials however).  Each one is uniquely finished with rare woods and artwork made from hammered copper and veneers.  They have been called “jawdropping” and “stunning” by his clients.