Canadian Marques To Be Featured At The 2013 Wooden Boat Expo and Seminar

Since the turn of the century, hand made wooden powerboats have graced the waters from coast to coast and throughout the world. As the well-known boat builders such as Chris-Craft, Gar Wood, Hackercraft and Indian Lakes/Dart (among others) were evolving in the United States, north of the border in the Muskoka Lakes Region of Ontario, Canadian boat builders were also making a name for themselves.

And today, legendary Canadian builders such as Ditchburn, Minett-Shields, Duke, Greavette, Peterborough and Shepherd (among others) are still considered by many to be the pinnacle of collectible wooden powerboats today.

Bert Minnett built his first small gasoline powered launch in 1903. Ditchburn Boat Manufacturing Co was incorporated in 1907, the first Directors were Herb & Alf Ditchburn and Tom Greavette – who later left Ditchburn and went on to develope the revolutionary Greavette line of boats starting early 1930’s.

These Canadian marques with their distinctive designs and unique styling continue to stand out at classic boat shows and events around the country. The rich history of Muskoka’s legenday powerboat builders and the evolution of the Canadian boat building industry will be featured in April at the 2013 Wooden Boat Expo and Seminar in Ontario, Canada.

Antique Boat Canada and Antique Boat America recently announced that they will be hosting the 2013 Wooden Boat Conference and Seminar series. The first event will be held in Kingston, Ontario, Canada on April 5th and 6th, 2013 and will bring together the most notable guest speakers in the Antique and Classic boat market today. Here’s the Press Release. – Texx

Wooden Boat Expo and Seminar

The picturesque city of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, will become the center of the Antique and Classic Boat universe the weekend of April 5th and 6th, 2013 when the Wooden Boat Conference and Seminar series invades the city known as the Gateway to the 1000 Islands.

The conference will bring together the most notable speakers in the Antique and Classic boat market today. A first class educational lineup will be the key feature of the symposium and will include a stream of Canadian themed presentations specifically focused on the history of these legendary watercraft. Canadian boats have been known for their fine craftsmanship, unique styling , design and construction that made these luxurious boats superior in the eyes of the buyers of that time period and has continued its appeal through to today.

“Feedback from previous events have helped design the format for this conference. We have worked very hard to shape this event based specifically on what the attendees have been requesting” explained Peter Mellon, President of Antique Boat America.

The Conference and Expo will be where Antique and Classic boat enthusiasts gather to learn, broaden and share in the history of both Canadian and US based boat builders. The event takes place at the Maritime Museum in Kingston and will be hosted at the Marriot Hotel one door away on the shores of Lake Ontario in Kingston.

Kingston is a perfect venue for the 2013 symposium, with a rich fresh water marine history set on the shores of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and the entrance to the Great Lakes. The host hotel the Marriott Residence Inn overlooks Lake Ontario and the Maritime Museum.

The registration fee of $ 145.00 includes unlimited access to the session-packed conference, 2 days of information and education, unlimited access to the many vendors in the exhibit hall and all Meals and Receptions on Friday and Saturday night.

This Year’s Symposium highlights include:

· A visit to the renowned Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes

· A keynote presentation by Denny O’Neil and a screening of the feature film, Dreamboats of Muskoka

· A series of presentations on Canadian boat builders such as Ditchburn, Greavette, Barnes, Minett and Minett-Shields

· Presentations also on Hutchinson Brothers, Shepherd and Peterborough boats

· Many are anxiously awaiting the Canadian Boatbuilders of the St. Lawrence River presentation and

· A rare presentation on the many boatbuilders of Muskoka

· Dinners on Friday Night and all meals on Saturday are included in the registration fee as well the evenings presenters and entertainment

Register Now !!

Registration for the 2013 Wooden Boat Expo and Seminar is available online by visiting: or by calling 1-800-675-4089

Hotel Reservation can be made by calling the Marriott Residence Inn at 1-613-544-4888 and referencing the “Wooden Boat Expo and Seminar” to receive the Symposium rate.

Symposium room rates are: $ 134/ night : Single or Shared Occupancy ( plus taxes).

Special room rates are also available at surrounding hotels and a list of those locations are available

The 2013 will be the Antique and Classic boating event of the year.

Make sure you are a part of it!

Event Location

The 2013 Wooden Boat Expo will begin on Friday the 5th of April and continue all day on Saturday the 6th of April, 2013.

The seminar’s will be held at two locations in Kingston which are located beside each other on Ontario Street in Kingston on the shores of Lake Ontario . The Museum locations for these seminars are as follows:

1. Pump House Steam Museum
23 Ontario Street
Kingston, Ontario

2. Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes
55 Ontario Street
Kingston, Ontario

For more information about the 2013 Wooden Boat Expo including schedules, other area hotels, guest speakers & presenters, vendors, corporate sponsors, etc you can Click Here to go directly to the Wooden Boat Expo website.

It’s great to see events like this being planned which also brings classic boating enthusiasts together from around the area to learn about the classic boats and share time with their fellow boaters.

S0 sign up early so you don’t miss this ground breaking event which also supports the hobby. April is always a good month to shake off the winter cobwebs and start thinking about boating again.


11 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Texx, with both your boat and car expertise, perhaps you are best qualified to answer this question. And if not you, perhaps another WB reader can.

    Exactly how is design and construction superior in the Canadian boats?

    Stunning styling of a big Ditchburn is, of course, immediately apparent. And the fit and finish quality appears to be equally so. Probably the Dusenbergs of the water.

    But I’m curious whether there is much, if any, difference in hull strength, seaworthiness, ride quality, longevity — ie architecture and bones — between a top shelf Canadian boat and a top shelf American one. And, if so, how so?

    [As I have both Canadian and U.S. citizenship, I can ask this question with complete neutrality — nothing offensive or defensive expressed or implied :)]

    • Mark Edmonson
      Mark Edmonson says:

      Alex being from Michigan all my life and seeing both boats all the time in our area, I think the Canadians hand/custom built each of their boats, where Americans mass produced them. But I think the real reason is they had better beer to drink! Happy Holidays

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    Mark. But of course. I forgot about the beer connection. Might explain venerable models such as the Greavette “Golden,” the Duke “Dopplebock,” and the Minette “Moose Drool.”

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Brian – Good call… Blythewood is actually listed in the directory as a 37 footer, my mistake. The “5:30AM gremlins” got me again…

  3. Texx
    Texx says:

    Alex – In response to your question regarding the differences between the American and Canadian built boats from the early 1900’s, my knowledge is limited at best.

    From what I have learned, in the early days many of the Canadian designed / built launches were more “custom” built to order, rather than production boats. As a result many of the early boats were one-off designs, built to satisfy the customers specifications / desires in the Muskoka Lakes region.

    Each builder from the period incorporated their own specific design elements which sets them apart today, including variations in hull designs (round-bottom vs V-bottom) and hull displacements for increased speed and performance. Frame designs using steam bent white oak were also used in some applications.

    The early Canadian built boats utilized a range of wood materials such as oak, cedar, elm and a variety of traditional mahogany.

    Derived from the early Muskoka launches, the later speedboat designs displayed unique architecture and characteristics in terms of hull design, cockpit layout, engine locations and drive arrangements. The magnificent hardware was, in most cases, specific to the marque.

    Many of today’s most knowledgeable restorers from the Muskoka Lakes Region such as Paul Brackley, Peter Breen, Tom Adams & Gary Clark (to name a few) who work with these boats could certainly address your question accurately.

    Maybe this would be a good subject for a story one day… or better yet, a great question to ask at the upcoming Wooden Boat Expo and Seminar in April.


  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    Texx, thank you. That’s interesting. The hardware is gorgeous to be sure. I can’t attend the Seminar. Kid duties call. Plus, I’m ADD so anything called a Seminar makes me run in the opposite direction (even if it were about my greatest passion). Unless someone who attends writes a story in WB, I’ll die forever wondering. That, or die accepting Mark’s highly plausible beer theory as de facto.

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