Woody Boater Poker Run In Muskoka – We Bet You Will Have Fun

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The magic of Muskoka – Photo courtesy Chris & Julie Bullen

SINCE THE EARLY DAYS OF WOODY BOATER we have had the pleasure of reporting on boat shows and events in conjunction with our friends from the Toronto Chapter ACBS. Through those reports, together with our viewers, we have learned to appreciate the important and significant impact the Muskoka region of Canada has had on the world of classic boating for the last 100-plus years. Which continues strong today, as the region has a number of premium wooden boat restoration shops.

The Toronto Chapters Mission Statement begins with – Our Purpose: To protect, preserve and promote our Canadian Heritage of vintage watercraft.

They are hosting the 35th Annual ACBS – Toronto Vintage Boat Show at the Muskoka Wharf in historic Gravenhurst, Ontario – July 11, 2015. This year they will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Dispro (Disappearing Propeller) Device.

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Normally, organizing a boat show to commemorate a disappearing propeller is the last thing a classic boat owner (or potential show participant) would want to be involved in… So we should explain. The disappearing propeller boat (also known as the Dispro or Dippy) is an iconic fixture in Muskoka and today these boats have a huge following around the world. Developed to operate with the natural rock outcroppings from the Canadian Shield, this invention enabled people to safely navigate the Muskoka waters and shorlines.

To better explain, here is an excerpt from the Dispro Owners Association website. This is a very impressive website – kind of a go-to-site for all-things Dippy.

In 1914 W.J. Johnston Jr. (Young Billy), while working as manager of his Uncle’s Port Sandfield Rowboat Livery, was introduced to the concept of the disappearing propeller by a local engineer. Young Billy saw how the idea could be used in a rowboat with a newly available, light weight, gasoline engine. The critical “Device” allowed the propeller to be cranked up into a housing in the bottom of the boat out of danger from rocks or deadheads.


Vintage ad courtesy of the Dispro Owners Association website.

In 1915 the first Disappearing Propeller Boat was constructed in Uncle Billy’s boat shop in Port Carling. The boat was promoted as “The greatest little motor boat afloat”. The little boat commonly known as Dispro or Dippy attracted investors in a new corporation and by 1920 they were selling quickly from Sales Offices in Toronto and Buffalo for $325.00 f.o.b. Port Carling. Dippys were shipped to England, Ireland, France and Brazil.

The Dispro Owners Association also publishes an impressive quarterly newsletter called “THE DEVICE” – You can find copies of the newsletter on their website.


“A Dippy Love-in at Lovesick Lock” – October 2014 Newsletter cover courtesy of the Dispro Owners Association website.

Over the years, our friends from the Toronto Chapter have extended many invitations to Woody Boater to attend the big Summer Boat Show in Muskoka. So this year we are planning to make a trip to Ontario to cover the show and help sponsor the popular Friday Poker Run & Lunch – which is organized by fellow Woody Boaters Chris & Julie Bullen.

This is our first ever trip to the region during the summer, a trip we have wanted to make for many years, and we are looking forward to finally experiencing the magic of the Muskoka area and the popular boat show.

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A Canadian classic boat participating in the 2014 Poker Run with a traditional Muskoka boat house in the background. – Photo by Julie Bullen

Woody Boater Poker Run
Friday, July 10 – 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Muskoka Wharf

Head out on the lake, collect your cards, and return for a delicious BBQ lunch (and prizes!) at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre at 12:30 p.m. Watch for special boathouse tours along the way.

Please indicate how many passengers you are able to take along or if you would like a ride. We will do our best to provide rides for all those without boats, but there are no guarantees.

Please note: This year there are 2 poker runs. A smaller run for the Dispros run by Mary Storey, and the regular run. Please indicate below which run you will join.

Cost: $30 per person

Here are a few more nice shots that Chris & Julie Bullen captured during last years Poker Run at Muskoka. We hope to fire-up the old Nikon and snap a few shots this year for a Live-ish story on Woody Boater.

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The Toronto Chapter ACBS does a great job of promoting their events – with posters and show information / schedules on their website – You can Click Here to reach their impressive website.



If you are planning to be at the show, we look forward to seeing you on the water or on the show docks on Saturday!

Special thanks to the Dispro Owners Association for providing the information above. And maybe, just maybe – I can talk someone into taking me for a ride in a Dippy…


8 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Although we can’t make it this year, the poker run was a blast for us in 2013. If you can get up there, do it. Beautiful lake and great people. Great shot of Al and Margaret Herr’s Michigan chapter U-22 on today’s header. Algonac is this weekend!

  2. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Hell, High Water, or no sleep for he next 12 days, Purple Haze WILL be setting at the Muskoka Wharp July 5-14. It will officially be down time for 9 day’s.

  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    Of course Sea-J will be returning for the poker run and the show. It’s only natural, as this bay in Gravenhurst is not only the site for the show and starting point of the poker run but, it was the location of the Greavette factory and Birthplace of my Sunflash IV.

    We had a great time at the inaugural poker run last year with the small intrepid group. It was a fun day with great weather on the lake. Word must have travelled far and wide as I`m told this years event has plenty of boats already signed up. It is encouraging to see an increase in classic boats being used for more than just an annual trip to the show.

  4. Gary Clark
    Gary Clark says:

    You would certainly be welcome to come visit our shop if you are not to busy. Located in Gravenhurst. Always something interesting in the shop.


    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Gary, that would be fun. I may ride to Muskoka (weather permitting) and while on the island could be in need of a secure place to stash the old Harley for the weekend. (It doesn’t leak…) – Texx

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