OVER THE YEARS WE HAVE COVERED A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT AND UNUSUAL EVENTS HERE AT WOODY BOATER, but I can honestly say that we have never celebrated the birthday of a Lock – until today!
A Lock Party is like a Block Party for classic boaters in Ontario, Canada and these folks celebrate the areas maritime history at every opportunity. And the best part – it’s a perfect reason to get out and use their classic wooden boats to join the party.
Fellow Woody Boaters Julie & Chris Bullen were on hand for the recent Lock Party to celebrate the 100th birthday of Lock 45. As you will see, these Lock Parties are also wonderful spectator events in the summer, as they experience the classic boaters “rise for the occasion” Get It? Rise for the Occasion… – Texx
(A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.)
Hey Woody Boaters – Let’s have a Lock Party!
Lock 45 is 100 years old!
Story & Photos by Julie & Chris Bullen
Lock 45 on the historic Trent Severn Waterway system is the last lock to Georgian Bay, it is still operated by hand as it was in the beginning. There are 45 locks on the system which meanders 386 Kms (240 miles) northwest from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. The Trent Severn Waterway system is a National Historic Site of Canada, controlled by Parks Canada.
Many a classic boat has travelled through this system of locks over the years, so it’s fitting that they are back to celebrate the birthday of the last lock on the system.
Construction of the system began in the Kawartha Lakes region in 1833 with the Lock at Bobcaygeon. Finally after 82 years the waterway was completed. They were a few reasons to build the system, first logging, however the loggers did not like the locks.
Secondly, transportation of goods and thirdly, a safe passage though Canada’s interior to avoid any invasion from the USA. Today it’s a terrific place to boat and really from here you can go anywhere in the world provided you have a big enough boat.
Saturday, July 25th we got together with a bunch of old boat guys and put on a show. There were pipes and kilts, dignitaries, locals and vacationers. A huge crowd gathered around the lock to recreate the first lockage 100 years ago.
Our good friend Scott and family brought along the oldest boat “Traveller” built in 1894 by Jake Swartsman of Waubashene along with the whole family and a few lock masters of the past. I had no idea how special that boat is to Gloucester Pool. However after this event and hearing the many stories of the boat, I now know why Scott and his family brought her home.
“Edith II” a 1905 Fay and Bowen from Lake Muskoka made the trip. Peter Breen brought along a few friends and 2 boats.
“Jeffery II”, built by WH Mullins Co and “Driftwood”, built in 1939 by Dukes. The big blue topped boat is “Lockerbie”, built in 1906 by George Askew Boat builders, in Hamilton. At the back is “Myna Lee”, built in 1934 by Port Carling Boats, check out the seats on either side of the engine. Another famous Pool boat is “Sevlo” she is a big Ditchburn, built in 1922 that has been ferrying customers to the Severn Lodge for over 60 years. The Breckbill family also own a very rare Dart boat built by Greavette. Just to make a few of you go huh?
After the re-creation the celebration continued with a day of fun, however the boaters took advantage of having a bright sunny day and went boating. Chris and Scott arranged a rendezvous for the club to see the sites and visit a couple of special places.
We cruised up to the crazy marine railway which takes you out of Gloucester pool and through to the rest of the Trent-Severn waterway. This was a temporary measure until a proper lock was built. It’s now the second railway. It’s one fun ride sitting on your boat and looking over a cliff.
After a photo shoot we cruised back down to the home of Scott and family. Scott is the 4th generation to be on the’ Pool’ and his kids (the 5th generation) have got the boating bug in their blood. After seeing a wonderful collection of boats and an earful of Pool history, lunch and refreshments, we went to Sandy’s across the bay. Sandy is known for his extensive outboard motor collection.
It goes beyond outboards to signs, race boat history to even a few early snow machines. The day goes by so fast when out on the water and after that it was back to the ramp to help all those that trailered in get out and on their way home.
Julie and I did not leave as we were having just way too much fun and had a place to stay. So… Sunday morning brought more boating and a visit from Sandy and his Morgan replica of “Nuisance”. She is powered with a supercharged 454 Chevrolet. We took the 2 gold cups boats out for a few runs up and down Little Go Home Bay.. After that it was an afternoon of slow and more elegant boating in “Traveller” and “Edith II”.
A special thanks to Ron Breckbill for organizing the re-creation and to Sandy Kennedy for opening up his collection. Finally an even Bigger thanks to Scott and Derra from suggesting that we put this day on our agenda, and for being such wonderful host.
From sunny Ontario, Canada always looking for a classic boating adventure,
Julie and Chris Bullen.
Thanks for sharing your great story with us today, a nice departure from the busy boat show coverage.