Hugh Stewart

Hugh is the owner and founder of Headwaters Canoes.

He started paddling in the 1950’s, guiding in the 1960’s, recanvassing canoes in the 1970’s and building in the 1980’s. He continues to travel in Northern Canada each summer. His 50 years of practical experience in widely varying terrain is invaluable in canoe selection, building and maintenance.

Following a childhood of canoeing experiences in Algonquin Park and Camp Temagami, Hugh went on to study the humanities, especially wilderness travel literature, but believes his “real postgraduate education” took place in the bush. He has guided novices through the Canadian shield country in canoes, on skis and on snowshoes.

Throughout the 1970’s, until his move south-east to Wakefield, Quebec in 1985, Hugh hosted an estimated 100 paddlers each year at the Headwaters canoe trip camp in Temagami.  Canoe building arose naturally out of the maintenance and repair of his fleet of wood canvas canoes.

Hugh and his friends have travelled some of Canada’s most interesting canoe routes such as Richmond Gulf to Ungava via the Larch, the Cochrane and on to the Barrens via the Kazan, and numerous trading rivers leading to James and Hudson’s Bay. He says, “We have never felt intimidated because our canoes were made of wood.”