Classic Muskoka Part 6 – If Only Boats Could Talk, The Tales They Could Tell

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GLENLAKE – An antique Dippy full of patina and history, but we may never know why it was named this way.

IF YOU ARE A REGULAR VIEWER HERE AT WOODY BOATER, you know by now that some days we like to travel down a different avenue of the hobby to see where it takes us. Today is one of those days.

Our recent exposure to the legendary Dippy boats in Muskoka while the marque was celebrating their 100th Anniversary during the 35th Annual Toronto Vintage Boat show was fantastic. The simplicity of the little boats is remarkable, and we were told that the average time for a new owner to properly learn to start, operate and efficiently use his or her Dippy is 3 years.

Vintage Dippy

CASTOR – Was it named after some old medicine?

What I quickly noticed on Saturday during the boat show at the Muskoka Wharf was the whimsical names that many of the boats had. Different than the larger traditional boats. Some of these Dippys have maintained their same name throughout their long life, names that conjures up all kinds of ideas about why the little Dippy had received her name.

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GERTRUDE – Enough said…

So today we though it would be fun to share their Dippy names with our viewers, and it would be great if some Dippy owners could chime in to the story today to describe how the name of their Dippy came to be.

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CRUMPET – An invitation for high tea?

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Vintage CRUMPET with the steamer in the background.

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FLORENCE – My ride boat on Saturday. Our new friends Ron & Wilma believe their Dippy FLORENCE was named after an island, but not 100% sure.

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FLORENCE – an early 1919 Dippy was also a cover girl for Lee Valley Tools.

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PUDDIN – a perfect name for an antique Dippy. The owner speculates that she got that name because she was one in service at Put-In-Bay IN Ohio… But not 100% sure.

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MUGGINS – My guess is that she was named after the family dog, but that’s just a wild guess.

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MrsMINIVER II – I’m thinking Grandmother or Great Grandmother possibly?

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SHORE RUNNER – I can only imagine what it was like back in the day to load up all your summer supplies and head out across the lake to your cottage somewhere in Muskoka. And if the weather kicked up, the captain would hug the shore line for protection.

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Pastime – I think this owner loves being in his Dippy.

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HARRY – I’m guessing it was named after a kind old gentleman.

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LCBO – According to the owner, this Dippy was not named after the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It was actually the first letter of his name, his wife’s name, his daughter’s name and the family cat.

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AUNTIE MAE – The thoughtful Aunt who always baked fresh cookies when she knew you were coming for a visit.

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KELLY – Named after someone’s daughter?

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Muskoka and Dippy’s go together like peanut butter and jam. And they always make people smile when they ride in them (when their running properly).

Antique Dippy

PUFFIN – You can see her puffin along the shore of Lake Muskoka with our friend Dunc Hawkins at the helm. I bet Dunc knows where the PUFFIN came from.

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And it’s always smart to travel with a friend just in case there’s a breakdown, so you can get a tow home.

For more information on the Disappearing Propeller Boat (or Dispro / Dippy) you can Click Here to go to the wonderful Dispro Owners Association website.

Can you remember the name of the Dippy in your family? Let us know in the comment section or post a photo. Or if you have a Dippy story let`s here it!


18 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    It is always interesting to learn about the names of boats and the history behind them.
    These Dippy’s are a real treat. Doubt I will ever own one, but would sure like to ride in one some day.
    Not a Dippy, but I have wondered about how our friend HAL got her (His) name. As I recall you had quite a ride with him one day Texx!
    I wonder if Alex even knows that story?

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      HAL is an amazing boat. The only time in recent memory that I insisted in wearing the best, most high tech PFD that was available that day.

      That boat has a gear shift transmission, and during our boat ride around the waters of Hessel, Alex was jammin’ gears like a seasoned truck driver, while I worked the manual bilge pump. A exhilarating ride to say the least. – Texx

  2. Terry
    Terry says:

    Always love looking at the names of boats and wondering their origin. We often walk the marinas and read the names. Some very obvious and others mysterious. We once had a cruiser named “Merlot Mermaid”. Reminiscence of the rear deck sunset gatherings.

  3. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    I have to say that without a doubt, that this was the best coverage of a boat show that I have seen on WB. Thank You Tex for your time and effort, GREAT STUFF!!

  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    I agree. Great coverage Texx! And I love today’s story. The collection of names on those little boats is like a hot cocoa on a cold day. Warming.

    Re Castor, that won’t be named after the oil. But I can tell you castor is French for beaver.

  5. Mary Storey
    Mary Storey says:

    As President of the Dispro Owners Association, I know the reason for most of the names of the Dispros.
    The name of my boat, Muggins, is a term of endearment from my husband “Mary Muggins”. It has a second meaning, since I was an educator for 45 years and taught many children to read. In Canada, there was a series of readers from the 1940s to the late 1950s called Maggie Muggins and written by Mary Grannan of New Brunswick. The 1947 (year of boat) book was in the boat at the show.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Hi Mary – I knew this term as of one of endearment right away! My mom called us kids that when we were small, and also used it with various baby animals and young kids in general. I did not know the origins of it, and had probably not heard it for 30 years or more.

      It just so happens that I was reading todays’ WB story in the waiting room of a hospital ward, where I am visiting my seriously ill 83 year old mom. It brought back a flood of evocative, poignant childhood memories, made acutely more so by present circumstance. Thank you for the history of this quaint, scarcely heard term.

      Bravo to the owner for choosing a great name, fits those boats wonderfully.

  6. Ken
    Ken says:

    Our dippy was called “FLO” after favourite aunt Flo (1898- 1987) And brass letters were $25.00each!

  7. Jack Lynett
    Jack Lynett says:

    Mine is named LOON, after the beautiful, but slow gangly birds that inhabited Jumping Caribou Lake, Temagami District, where we owned our remote cottage, for 33 years.

  8. Gary Campaigne
    Gary Campaigne says:

    Crumpet was purchased from the family of its original owners about ten years ago. I do no know why they named it such. However, I have discovered there is second meaning in addition to the soft breakfast yeast cake we all know. In British slang, “Crumpet” also denotes a hot chick or sexually desirable woman.

  9. Ron Jelley
    Ron Jelley says:

    Texx, it was great meeting you this weekend at Chris and Julie Bullens Island. I was blown away by the hours it takes to get your fabulous 3am posts up on WB. And it was my pleasure to give you your first Dippy ride on Saturday. But be careful, these slow boats rides can be addictive, unlike other boating experiences for sure.

    The name Florence is believed to come from Florence Island in Lake Rosseau, one of two large lakes connected to Lake Muskoka. First we used the holes in the hull to try to determine the name and we thought it might be Florence. Then we found Florence Island on the Lake Rosseau chart and that sealed it.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Ron – my first ever Dippy ride in “Florence” was fantastic, and it was great to meet you and Wilma. Our paths will cross again. – Texx

  10. Dane
    Dane says:

    Mrs Miniver was a fictitious character invented by a English writer who sent a series of letters to the Times of London starting in the late 30s. The letters were based on the experiences of the writer during the early years of WWII in England. In 1940 the letters were published in book form and in 1942 an Academy award winning movie was produced.
    I stumbled across the movie many years ago on TV and was surprised when the movie ended with no resolution to the war. The movie ends shortly after the Dunkirk evacuation.
    The movie received several Oscars and accolades from Churchill and FDR.

  11. Eric Luks
    Eric Luks says:

    Our 1924 Dippy was named after Billy Johnston’s bride Mae Sands who he was permitted to marry after he first built her a house. We currently reside in that house which is situated on the street side of the property where the Dispro factory was located in Port Carling. The house was also built in 1924 .

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