A Perfect Classic Boat Weekend – 3 Days, 14 Classic Boats, 30 Woody Boaters On 4 Lakes

Warpath – A Kermath Powered 1927 26′ Chris-Craft Triple

Yesterday we received a farm fresh report from fellow Woody Boater Chris Bullen about a group of classic boaters that got together last weekend on the waterways of Southern Ontario for an action packed, 3 day event on a section of the historic Rideau Canal System in Ontario, Canada. The event was co-organized by the nice folks from the Manotick Classic Boat Club and Trent Severn Antique & Classic Boat Association – Chris described it as “A Jim and Ron Excellent Adventure!”

A Perfect Classic Boat Weekend
by Chris Bullen

Hey Woody Boater – We just had a perfect classic boat weekend on a small part of the Rideau Canal in Ontario, Canada. We were on four lakes, the Big Rideau, Upper Rideau, Newboro Lake and Opinicon Lake – All connected by the historical Rideau Canal lock system.

Oh Daddy – 1943 Jeffery Sedan

These areas well accommodate pretty much all size of vessels as the lakes are not huge, but the canal system is used by big cruisers as well as small outboards.

(Loading in to the locks with 30 of your best friends, rafting the classic boats together and then cruising to the next lock is almost like a traveling boat show for anyone who is at the right lock at the right time… What a concept! – Texx)


The Rideau Canal is a visitor’s paradise with its many historic lockstations and 202 kilometres (125 miles) of scenic waterway. The Rideau Canal; a National Historic Site of Canada, a Canadian Heritage River and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consists of a series of beautiful lakes and rivers connected by canals. It stretches from Kingston, at the foot of Lake Ontario, to Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Maintained by Canada’s Parks service it is arguably the most scenic waterway in North America. Whether you visit by boat, car, bicycle or on foot, the Rideau has something for you.

The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. The locks are operated today much as they were when first opened in 1832. For more information on the Rideau you can can click here. The following map is also courtesy of Rideau-Info.com

This was a wonderful 3 day event that 14 boats and 30 Woody Boaters all took part in. We launched in Portland and then went to Westport and stayed at a lovely old Inn called The Cove Country Inn. I had never been in this part of the Rideau Canal System before and to my surprise it’s beautiful!

One of the best parts of the event was the wide range of antique & classic boats that participated this year.

Above is a very cool 2010 Hughes built by Rich and Jeff, and below is Mom Charlotte is behind the wheel of the 1957 Shepherd Junior…

A Nice Looking 1957 Shepherd Junior – Olde Golde

The islands clear water and the runs up to the locks all just a great boating experience…

I would recommend this to everyone. It helps to have a great group of friends that like to trailer and explore new areas. Those that have not left the comfort of their own lake should give it a try. There are many places to see.

Cheers – Chris Bullen

The great photos for this story were also taken by Chris, on board his recently built (and very retro-looking) 15′ Mahone Bay hull that he refers to as “our Resto-mod Outboard”. As Chris was shooting the photographs from his boat, he didn’t get any shots of his boat zipping across the water during the event, but he did send us this photo so we can share it with our viewers.

Thanks Chris for sharing your story with us today, it’s so great to see folks out on the water enjoying their classic boats together.


10 replies
  1. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Great story and pictures Chris. Thanks for sending them in for us. You people right across Canada and the US are so very blessed with the cool places you can take your boats. Im envious.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Yet when you post pics and stories we’re the ones who are jealous. The grass is always greener……..

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I have a friend on Dog lake and I will have to make the trip across the border with squirt soon.

  3. Paul h.
    Paul h. says:

    Great trip, really wish there was something like that in fresh water out west, or in the PNW of the US. Would make owning a small cruiser realistic. It seems that there are quite a few opportunities in eastern Canada for these long trips and it really nice to see the boats getting used l- charactgerization of this as a mobile boat show sounds great!

    Love the resto-mod Chris!

  4. chad
    chad says:

    Looks like a fun trip.

    With all this miserable heat we’ve been having in the Midwest, I’ve been considering moving farther North. Perhaps the Arctic Circle is cooler.

  5. Jim
    Jim says:

    I had never been on this section of the Rideau Canal. It is breathtaking and takes you back to when cottages were cottages not Monster homes used only 4 months of the year.

    Most of the properties are covered with mature trees and have deep clean water right off the shore for swimming.

    The Opinicon Resort Hotel is fantastic with good docking, great meals and enormous oak, maple and pine trees.

    As Chris said – “you had to be there”. So get your friends and load up the trailers for mid week fun on this beautiful waterway.

  6. Tommy holmes
    Tommy holmes says:

    I just checked my AUtomobile Association of America (AAA) map and I can,t find no Rideau Canal, heck I can,t even find CaNaDa. And another thing, don,t you have to drive on the port side of the canals up there?

  7. Buzz
    Buzz says:

    Wish I had known about this I am on Lower Beverly Lake just 10 minutes to Portland…Looks like Fun!!

  8. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Chris —

    Hmmm…not that far from Clevleand…are you likely to do this again next summer?

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