Gravenhurst Celebrates “Miss Canada IV Day” – Toronto ACBS Celebrates “Fine Lines” Saturday

A few weeks ago on Woody Boater, we ran a story about “Miss Canada IV” a famous hydroplane that was built at Greavette Boatworks in Gravenhurst, Ontario in the winter of 1948-1949. The unique 33′ two-step hydroplane was commissioned by EA Wilson, and driven by his son Harold Wilson, who gained worldwide fame and set a North American speed record of 143 mph with “Miss Canada IV” in 1949. After a prestigious racing career, “Miss Canada IV” was retired to Ingersoll, Ontario. (In case you missed it, you can see the entire story of “Miss Canada IV” on Woody Boater by clicking here)

Since 1992 “Miss Canada IV” has been on display at the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum, in Ingersoll, Ontario. On June 25th in an official ceremony, The Town of Ingersoll bid farewell to the “Miss Canada IV” and work began to relocate the speed boat to her original home in Gravenhurst, Ontario after 61 years.

“Miss Canada IV” was transported back to Gravenhurst where the boat will be restored and become a feature in “Harold and Lorna”, the upcoming television docudrama about the lives of its original owner/driver Harold Wilson, his racing mechanic wife Lorna and the amazing racing dynasty spearheaded by Harold’s father Ernest Wilson.

Fellow Woody Boater Jamie Smith is the Executive Producer of the TV Docudrama “Harold and Lorna”, is serving as a consultant on the “Miss Canada IV” restoration team, and is the Past President of the Toronto ACBS Chapter. Jamie was directly involved in the relocation process recently and shared some “Behind the Scenes” photos of “Miss Canada IV” being relocated from her home in Ingersoll to her new home in Gravenhurst. Here she is being carefully removed from the Ingersoll Sports Hall of Fame Museum building… Based on this photo, we could almost pass this off as a rare Barn Find…

And then being carefully lifted on to the transport truck with a crane…

Once the 33′ hydroplane was successfully loaded on to the transport truck, Jamie captured this shot of her unique two-step, triple-knuckle bottom. The black areas are flat, and the white are the shape of the steps… very cool stuff.

After her short trip north from Ingersoll to Gravenhurst, “Miss Canada IV” was on display at the Gull Lake Toronto Outboard Racing Club’s event in Gravenhurst on June 26th. This was “Miss Canada IV’s” first public appearance in 21 years. There were more than 1,000 people at the two-day event, and many people stopped by to share their stories about the boat, as far back as her World Water Speed Record attempt in 1950. Interesting to note the canvas banner that they found folded up under the boat in the museum in Ingersoll, which worked perfect to display the boat at the event, adding some patina to the display.

On Saturday July 9th The Town of Gravenhurst will be hosting a “Welcome Home” event for “Miss Canada IV” in conjuction with the Toronto Chapter ACBS Antique & Classic Boat Show in front of the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre. It will be proclaimed as “Miss Canada IV Day.” The Welcome Home Event at The Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre will begin at 1:30pm.

This weekends Antique and Classic Boat Show, which is hosted by the Toronto Chapter ACBS, is an annual event attracting thousands of visitors to the Gravenhurst area, and it is Canada’s largest in-water boat show. In addition to Kittyhawk, visitors at this 31st annual show can expect to see up to 100 vintage craft – both in the water and on the land.

This year’s show theme of “Fine Lines” includes the line drawings of well-known boats, the beauty of design, and the historical lineage – all will make this year special. The popular cardboard boat parade and Dory construction program for young boaters will continue to be a hallmark of the show as well as the addition of a series of seminars to further attract those interested in boat restoration and history. Included in the land displays are the Field of Dreams, vendors, and approximately 100 antique and classic cars organized by the Pink Slips Car Club. Admission is $10 at the gate.

This years boat show theme is “FINE LINES – A Celebration of the design and documented preservation of Vintage Boating.” Here is a great story we found in Classicboat, the quarterly Toronto Chapter ACBS publication, about how they came up with this years boat show theme.

Fine Lines

By Scott Dunsmoor, 2011 Theme Committee Chair

Every year the Board is challenged by the decision of determining the theme for the Boat Show, and recently we have attempted to extend this theme into the various events throughout the year as well. This year’s theme is a little different. In the past we have highlighted Builders: Burt Minett, Shepherds, etc.; Geographical areas: “Boats of Gravenhurst”; Boat Type: Hardtops, Gentlemen Racers, and Outboards; and Experiences: “Go Slow Boating”. This year we are further extended our imagination by naming the theme “FINE LINES – Celebration of the design and documented preservation of Vintage Boating.”

We are very excited about the possibilities with respect to this theme in that it is open to a wide variety of interpretation, but allow me to establish an element of focus based on an understanding of its creation.

The initial idea came to me when I considered the extremely valuable resource that we have collected throughout the years in the Line Drawings of some of the most beautiful boats that we have been privileged to share as a group with the owners – past and present. These Line Drawings represent a perfect record of these crafts and will in all likelihood exist long after the boats themselves are shown at our events for all to marvel.

From this initial idea our imaginations grew. One of our other valuable resources that should be recognized is the highly skilled men and women in the trade of wooden boat restoration and more recently boat building. Many of our advertising business partners have ventured into the world of boat building as part of their repertoire. These immaculate creations start in the same manner as the original vessels that we all admire – with the creation of line drawings. Of course, these line drawings are the valuable secrets of the different builders, but we hope to hear throughout the year stories regarding how these creations came to be – what were the motivations of the design, their influences, what changes and revisions were undertaken.

We also are looking forward to stories from our members. We want to hear about the kit boats that are built in garages with your kids – all from a set of Line Drawings and plans. We want to hear from you if you undertook a project to build a boat personally – where did the Line Drawings come from? What was the motivation of choosing the design? I know that one of our members found the complete set of drawings for his race boat in the Smithsonian Museum.

Part of every Summer Boat Show and one of the strong influences for David Wiggins (author of a number of Classicboat articles) joining the club all the way from Essex England, is the Line Drawings that we collect and their use in the construction of scale models. These models are always a highlight of the Boat Show and without the Line Drawings these incredible accurate models would not be possible.

The possibilities seem endless; we have newly released line drawings to unveil at the summer boat show, we are ready to recognize and celebrate the beautiful work of our business partners as we highlight their replicas of the vintage crafts that we all admire, we are excited about the stories that we will uncover from our membership and model boat builder friends – and the list just starts there. Enjoy the year of “FINE LINES.” – Scott Dunsmoor

For more information about the Toronto Chapter ACBS and the 31st Annual “Fine Fines” boat show, you can click here to go directly to their web site.

Thanks to Jamie Smith for sharing his photos of “Miss Canada IV” with us, and also to Kathy Rhodes – Editor, Classicboat Magazine (the Toronto Chapter Publication) and Director, Toronto Chapter ACBS for her generous assistance.

Images of original Chris-Craft line drawings from 1949 were provided by Woody Boater.


4 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    We’re looking forward to the show on Saturday. For anyone attending – stop by the Antique Boat America booth and say hello!

Comments are closed.