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John MacGregor (1825-1892)

John MacGregor, through his extremely popular books and magazine articles from 1865 to 1892, practically invented the sport of canoeing (or kayaking, we would call it today).

One correspondent tells us MacGregor spent part of his youth in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his father was stationed in the '30s in a fort. He may have picked up some canoeing experience there.

He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, earned an M. A., and became a barrister-at-law in the Temple, London. He formed and became Captain of the Royal Canoe Club, England.

From reading his books you will notice he carried in his canoe a number of religious tracts (in this movement called "Muscular Christianity") written in the local language and was always ready to hand them out. He did not travel on Sundays, but did lecture on his travels and gave much of the profits to charities, especially to boys in the inner cities.

He published accounts of several other canoe cruises, including one to Scandinavia and another to Jordan and Egypt. We have seen the Baltic cruise book but haven't had time to scan it yet. The appendix to that book gives some construction details for his canoe designs.

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