McGill Concrete Canoe is made up of more than 60 undergraduate students who annually design and build a canoe out of concrete to compete against dozens of schools both nationally and internationally. The idea sounds crazy, but that is exactly what makes it a challenging and exciting project to work on. The catch? It must float completely submerged below the surface of the water. Solving the problem involves creating a unique concrete mix that is both light and strong, designing the hull of the canoe using structural analysis methods, constructing the canoe precisely to design specifications, and ultimately racing the canoe. Supported by one of the best schools in Canada, the team has aggressively climbed the standings in only a few years of existence, highlighted by Participant’s Choice Award at the 2015 Canadian National Concrete Canoe Competition, with no sign of slowing down. Our members are passionate and innovative – we never stop raising the bar.
We won the Competitor's Choice Award and came 5th overall.
We won the Best Team Spirit Award and placed 4th overall
In our first year competing we placed 7th overall.
-U3 Electrical Engineering -Subteam: Mixing/Team Photographer “Some might see me as weird. I love photography, skiing, making plastic models and legos. Oh, I also have 50 hats and 30 pairs of sneakers. I didn’t want to join Electrical design teams like all Electrical people and looked for something new to try this year. Concrete Canoe[…]
We present to you one of the original Concrete Canoe members, Jonathan Lencewicz. Jon (also known as the Mixing Maestro and Concrete God) graduated in 2014 and was a two-year mixing captain at Concrete Canoe. We caught up with him recently to discuss the origins of the team and life after graduation. – What have[…]
Concrete Canoe is thrilled to bring you “Concrete Humans vol. 3”, the first of the year, with our amazing captain Thomas Teflissi. Thomas hails from a small town of Perth (ON), where he is also affectionately known as Tom Cat. Thomas is a U2 student in his third year with the team, having previously been[…]
McGill Concrete Canoe is now looking for ambitious new members to join our team for the upcoming school year! Watch the video below to hear from our current team captains on what the team is all about. For anyone interested in joining, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or come visit us on campus in September at[…]
To celebrate the end of exam period at McGill, we bring you the second instalment of Concrete Humans. Our featured member this week is Ziyi Gu. Teams: Construction & Mixing Year: U1 Nickname: Type GU Cement Why did you join Concrete Canoe? “At McGill there is a limited selection of design teams with application to[…]
Concrete Canoe is excited to announce a new “Concrete Humans” feature series, where we will highlight the amazing people behind Concrete Canoe! Our first guest is Amina. She is a U3 Materials Engineering exchange student from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), and is a member of both the mixing and paddling sub-teams of Concrete[…]
Hull design is a multi-stage process involving research, CAD design, modelling, and testing. We use mathematical modelling, special software and testing of the physical models to explore various shapes the canoe can take. With enough data and testing, the hull design team produces the final hull shape that satisfies the required technical specifications and gives us an edge over the competition
Mixing team puts in a lot of hours in the lab to come up with the best possible mix. The process involves researching and then lab testing new concrete mixes with different components. Every newly designed mix builds on previous mixes for continuous improvement. We strive to make our mix both as light and durable as possible for our canoe to pass the float test and withstand the loading while it is raced.
Construction team builds and prepares various scale models for testing throughout the year and in the end ultimately builds the competition canoe. The final canoe casting process involves placing by hand the concrete mix onto the specially prepared mold for the final desired canoe shape, as well as incorporating carbon fiber mesh into the canoe for extra strength. The canoe is then left to cure, demolded few days later, and finally sanded down for a smooth finish.
The paddling team regularly trains and exercises throughout the year to prepare for racing the concrete canoe at competition. A combination of practices in our old canoes, paddling tanks, and team workouts is used to give us the best chance to succeed in the competition races.
Aesthetics team is behind the amazing designs that allow our team to stand out from the competition. The task involves coming up with creative ideas for the theme of the year, one of which is then voted on by the entire team. The team has to come up with creative designs that fit the theme to make our final display aesthetically pleasing. The canoe is only part of the whole display during the competition, that also includes the canoe stands as well as the tabling area.
The business team is involved in supporting the team in areas such as finance, marketing, media, sponsorship, and procurement. The goal is to facilitate the team to get all the resources they need to place higher in competition and attend more competitions on the international scale. This is done through building relationships with businesses, securing funding, growing the team and increasing its visibility. On a broader scale we are also involved in outreach to the community to help spark interest in engineering.