Canoes can be propelled with sails, poles or oars, but, the most common method is with paddles. Canoe paddles can come with double blades like kayak paddles but they are most often single bladed. By the way, oars are used in row-boats, attached to oar locks and are pulled while you face backwards in the boat. Paddles are used while you face forward. Don't ever call a paddle an oar. That would make the River Grizzly surly!
Paddles come in many shapes, sizes and materials. Some of the cheapest paddles are made of wood -- and so are the most expensive. Paddles, like canoes, are made of a variety of synthetics including aluminum, kevlar, fiberglass, plastic or graphite.
Designs vary according to use. The old
fashioned, wooden, beaver tail paddle is great for long cruises on
deeper water thanks to wood's shock absorbing properties. Whitewater
paddlers use shorter and wider blades with T grips. Spoon blades
provide higher performance. Marathon paddlers are fond of graphite,
bent shaft paddles which provide a very efficient forward stroke.