Algonquin Outfitters Charity Paddle Art Auction a Huge Success

Given a blank canvas, it’s amazing what an artist can create. And given a good cause, what a community can do is no less impressive.

The second Algonquin Outfitters charity paddle art contest and auction not only featured amazing works of art, each created from a blank paddle, it raised $12,000 more than the inaugural 2017 auction.

The most recent paddle art contest began early in 2018 when the ‘paddle blanks’ could be picked up by artists with their $30 entry fee. Artists had 18 months until the contest deadline to carve, paint, or adorn their paddles however they wished. By the end of August this year, 182 paddles had been submitted. Some paid homage to the local landscape and wildlife. Others were more abstract. All were a unique representation of the artists’ visions.

“It was really incredible to see all of the different paddles come in,” said Randy Mitson, Marketing Director for Algonquin Outfitters, adding that there were several professional artists who entered, along with many very talented amateur artists.

Paddle Art Auction Exceeds Goals

The online auction began on September 15th through auction site HiBid, a choice Algonquin Outfitters made to streamline the bidding process. Two events at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville Ontario – a sneak peek on September 27th featuring live music by Sean Cotton who played the four string Paddle Guitar, and a six-hour live event on September 28th featuring the  short film Wild Temagami and music by Hack and Heron – gave bidders a chance to see the paddles in person.

By the time the first paddles started to close on September 29th, fundraising had already exceeded the amount raised in the inaugural auction. Paddles closed one at a time and, if a bid was placed within the last minute, an additional 60 seconds was added to the clock to allow other bidders to counter. When the last paddle closed, an incredible $32,875 had been raised for five arts organizations.


Algonquin outfitters paddle art auction showing all paddles entered


A Touch of Fall, created by local wood carver Don McKenzie, received the top bid of $1,675, followed closely by Feather Your Paddle created by Susan Dell that received a bid of $1,450.

“We had hoped to surpass the last total,” said Mitson. “We’re thrilled that it raised so much more, funds that will support the arts.”

Bids Came from Across Canada

There were more than 400 registered bidders who made 4,331 bids during the auction. They came from across Canada, including the Yukon and Baffin Island, the northeastern US, Texas, and the UK. Paddles will be ready for pick up soon, or can be shipped to bidders if requested.

Proceeds from the auction will support the Algonquin Art Centre, the Artists in Schools program in HaliburtonOxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture (OLAC), the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound, and the Town of Huntsville’s reserve fund for future acquisition of public art.

Prizes in the contest, which go to the eight artists whose paddles received the top bids, included Algonquin Outfitters gift cards worth $500 each, a prize bundle from The Tom Thomson Art Gallery, a $250 gift certificate from the Oxtongue Craft Cabin, dinner for two at Bartlett Lodge, a White Birches Resort getaway for two, and four months of unlimited yoga from Veda Yoga.

Will they do it again? “Yes!” says Mitson, without skipping a beat.

Watch the Algonquin Outfitters website for contest details in early 2020. The third Algonquin Outfitters Charity Paddle Art Auction will be held in the fall of 2021.

To see all of the paddles and their bid totals, click here.