The 2012 Muskoka Lakes Association Boat Show – By Invitation Only


1938 – Miss Canada III

This afternoon for your viewing pleasure we have a “Farm Fresh” report from fellow Woody Boater Chris Bullen who was in the majestic Muskoka Lakes Region of Ontario, Canada last weekend.

Muskoka Lakes Association Invitational Only Event
by Chris Bullen

Here is a show that you may not heard of. The Muskoka Lakes Association holds an invitation only show every other year. This being the other year. The show is held in Port Carling, Ontario – this is a very relaxed event, no judging , boats sit at the dock, and most of us just chat with all the Woody Boaters.

We had a fun time as “Dukes” has new owners and has saved the old building, she has new cribs and is straight for the first time in many many years. Watching all the boats come in and go through the locks is quite a site, rarely do you get that many woodies all floating together in the bay.

1931 Minett Shields 32′ – Jolly Roger

If you’ve never taken a trip to Port Carling, last week would have been the best time. Despite the threat of rain, Muskoka Lakes Association put on a wonderful invitation only boat show. It’s social and relaxed. A no judging atmosphere with boats perched on the dock and where Woody Boaters chat among woody boaters about their favourite subject.

Port Carling is the hub between Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau. Connecting them are the historic locks. In 1869 Benjamin Hardcastle Johnson put Port Carling on the map by opening a post office. The same year construction on the locks started and was finished and open for public use by 1871.

1937 Ditchburn 20’6 – Buchanan 185hp 8 – Nepahwin

Watching all the boats come in and go through the locks is quite a sight; rarely do you get that many woodies all floating together in the bay.

Port Carling is home to many of the famous builders we know and love: John Matheson, Dukes, Port Carling Boat Works, the Disappearing Propeller Boat, and the WJ Johnson. Dukes and Port Carling Boat Works (the builders of the Seabird) are still there today. Dukes has new owners who have saved the old building. The place has new cribs and is standing straight for the first time in many many years.

Black Beauty 1934 Minett Shields 22′ – 240 HP Chevrolet V-8

1936 Minett Shields – 375 HP Hispano Suiza H-3 V-8 – Shadow 111

This is a great show with the very best boats in Muskoka. A must see event I recommend. Enjoy a few photos from the day.

Chris Bullen

1929 Ditchburn 21′ – Yoholme

Thanks Chris for sharing your story on the Muskoka Lakes event with us here on Woody Boater today! We appreciate your efforts.


15 replies
  1. Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy says:

    Can I get invited? I didnt see any lapstrakes? But man you got some nice boats there!

  2. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    that 36 called shadow looks like a semi tractor wrecked with a lumber truck? Nice steering wheel is some redemption…

    John in Va.

    • John Marck
      John Marck says:

      I saw your observation in “Woody Boater” regarding the “Shadow” Minett-Shields racing boat with the Hispano-Suiza motor. It was a Ventnor design under license & one of the early 3 point Hydroplanes & very fast in its day. You may not see the visual beauty but it was a magnificent design & very successful in its day.

      • Hugh Munro
        Hugh Munro says:

        Hi John;

        I’m the nephew of the original owner Charles Wheaton and friend of the current owner. Between us we have all of the boat’s history and several of its early trophies.

  3. Cobourg-kid
    Cobourg-kid says:

    The boats in this show, have traditionally been limited to those belonging to the membrs of the muskoka lakes association which is made up of property owners on lakes Rosseau, Joseph and muskoka so Randy if you want an invite you are going to have to join the association or find a friend who is. Too bad because it would be great if your wonderful cruisers inc. In any muskoka show.

    Re lapstrakes , other than dippys ( dissapearing propellor boats) or duke playmates , I doubt that there where many ,
    to be found at this show. At onetime there were lots of small to middle sized 50s and 60s lapstrakes on the big three lakes but that’s when an average middle class family could afford a cottage there .

    Times have changed, those original families and their heirloom lapstrakes are leaving due to astronomical property prices, ( demand driven by merchant bankers and movie stars) which produce high property taxes for average owners and as a result even higher capital gains taxes on inheritance of the cottage which make selling the only alternative.

    Unfortunatly the upshot is that millionaires and dont want any “practical” boats cluttering up their , boathouse complex,

    The good news is that there is a boat builder on lake muskoka who has a stable of restored duke playmates and you can rent one of these elegant little laps for a day or more at a. Reasonable orice

  4. Jim Godlewski
    Jim Godlewski says:

    Millionaires only show…. I wonder if I could get within binocular range to a least take a peek. I’ll put on some nice clothes…

  5. tommyholm
    tommyholm says:

    my invite must have gotten lost in the mail but that’s OK as I can’t speak Canadian. Hey Chris, only 22 days to Hockey!

  6. Cobourg-kid
    Cobourg-kid says:

    Hey Jim you don’t need binoculars or nice clothes

    The show this year was at the upper (rosseau)side of the port carling lock which is in the centre of the town of port carling… It’s all public land and as in the past you dont need to be a millionaire or even a muskoka lakes association member to attend in fact entry may still be free (I was not there this year so can,t vouch for that).

  7. Cobourg-kid
    Cobourg-kid says:

    Hey Tommy

    Most Canadians speak American fluently, and if you ask can probably add your favorite regional US dialect (just to make you feel at home), so don’t let the fact that you can’t speak Canadian hold you back from a visit to hockey nation

  8. Sean
    Sean says:

    Well, one of us “poor” Canucks snuck in the millionaire’s show…I’m no MLA member but, my humble Sunflash happened to be at Duke’s to work a few bugs out since her restoration. She was packed way back in the last slip but, I had a few comments from people that saw her there !

    Port Carling is my favorite show and this year’s was fantastic

  9. Chris
    Chris says:

    I sent in a nice photo of a dispro thats a regular mans boat, lapstrake, but she was not published, you still had to have some coin to by one back in the 20s and 30s. But if you had a vacation property i guess you were doing OK. Tommy maybe no hockey those millionaires are not playing nice together.

    • Tommyholm
      Tommyholm says:

      If there is no hockey, what will you do for the next nine months? Whittle sticks? Shine varnish? Or watch American TV Idol?

  10. Jamie Smith
    Jamie Smith says:

    The “true” replica of Miss Canada III left Muskoka early this morning heading for the Antique Boat Museum Race Boat event in Clayton NY this weekend.
    Tech inspection is later to-day followed by a social event to-night.
    Friday starts with an early am drivers meeting and on water events start at 1:30pm. Drop by the boat and meet Norm Woods, Harry Wilson and Jamie Smith.

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