The use of the canoe and the kayak dictates their design. In other words, they are vessels in which "form follows function". This characteristic is represented in each of the unique types of craft that were used across Canada: the closed deck kayaks used in frigid waters of the North, the huge ocean-going dugouts used on the West Coast, and the bark canoes used to navigate the great lakes and rivers of the country. Local materials and local conditions determined the form, while the skill and cultural traditions of the builders contributed to the uniqueness of each craft. Historically, canoes and kayaks were built for hunting, fishing, trade, transportation, warfare, gifts and ceremonies.
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