Langford Canoe posted a touching tribute to Keith MacAllister who recently passed away after a battle with cancer...
Keith was a true innovator, and sports enthusiast, his pioneering spirit, and successful background in manufacturing, was applied to canoe building in the same way, and it was this that lead him to make major investments, of time, energy and capital, while he sought to push the envelope of composite canoe building, to unparalleled levels of aesthetic quality and function.
His goal to build ever lighter, stronger, and better paddling canoes, and even the paddles used to propel them, was what lead Keith to use new materials and manufacturing methods, that decades ago, were seldom seen, but are now common place.
Keith had the foresight to see the potential in materials like Graphite/Carbon Fibre, structural materials like Core Cells, Vacuum and Heat assisted Manufacture, and his use of these methods and materials was well ahead of the curve.
He set off an arms race in the canoe industry, that has benefited anyone who has recently purchased a new canoe or modern paddle.
Keith lead the charge, and even decades ago his canoes were at the tip of spear, lowering the weight of the average canoe by 20 to 30+ lbs, while also improving upon more modern, and classic designs. These changes have allowed people to participate in the sport longer, to paddle and portage further, and to do so with much greater ease.
At the same time that Keith was pushing the limits of what a modern canoe could be, he was breathing new life into the age old art of Cedar Canoe manufacture.
Keith's investments also lead to the cedar canoe being rescued from obsolescence, becoming true works of art that are now sought after the world over.
His company's canoes act as ambassadors for Canada and the sport itself, and can now be found plying the waters, of lakes, rivers, and oceans, the world over, they are hung as art pieces in palatial homes, and cottages, department stores, airports, government offices, are owned by Hollywood celebrities, captains of industry and dignitaries such as Canada's Governor General, World Leaders, and even Her Royal Majesty the Queen... One of Keith's full size 16 foot Cedar Canvas Canoes painted with the Iconic Livery of the Hudson's Bay Company is on permanent display, at Canada House, in London England, the home of Canada's High Commission.
Quite the accomplishment for a Canadian Company hailing from the shores of Lake of Bays,in Muskoka Ontario.
Keith will be sorely missed by his family, staff, friends, neighbours, and countless customers that stop by just to chat with "Mr. Langford".
The next time you roll a canoe onto your shoulders and casually stroll across a portage without breaking a sweat, or see gleaming varnish glinting in the sun, as a cedar canoe glides across a lake, maybe you'll think of Keith and his contributions to a pursuit as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup
There is also an article on The Toronto Star's website commemorating Keith.