Hey Woody Boaters – Let’s Have A Lock Party! (A What?)

1Driftwood, built in 1939 by Dukes.

“Driftwood” – built in 1939 by Dukes.

OVER THE YEARS WE HAVE COVERED A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT AND UNUSUAL EVENTS HERE AT WOODY BOATER, but I can honestly say that we have never celebrated the birthday of a Lock – until today!

A Lock Party is like a Block Party for classic boaters in Ontario, Canada and these folks celebrate the areas maritime history at every opportunity. And the best part – it’s a perfect reason to get out and use their classic wooden boats to join the party.


The old boat with the pretty green top.

Fellow Woody Boaters Julie & Chris Bullen were on hand for the recent Lock Party to celebrate the 100th birthday of Lock 45. As you will see, these Lock Parties are also wonderful spectator events in the summer, as they experience the classic boaters “rise for the occasion” Get It? Rise for the Occasion… – Texx

(A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.)

Hey Woody Boaters – Let’s have a Lock Party!
Lock 45 is 100 years old!
Story & Photos by Julie & Chris Bullen

Lock 45 on the historic Trent Severn Waterway system is the last lock to Georgian Bay, it is still operated by hand as it was in the beginning. There are 45 locks on the system which meanders 386 Kms (240 miles) northwest from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. The Trent Severn Waterway system is a National Historic Site of Canada, controlled by Parks Canada.

Many a classic boat has travelled through this system of locks over the years, so it’s fitting that they are back to celebrate the birthday of the last lock on the system.

3Edith II built in 1905 by Fay and Bowen_Owned and captained by Gerry Lodge

“Edith II” built in 1905 by Fay and Bowen Owned and Captained by Gerry Lodge.

Construction of the system began in the Kawartha Lakes region in 1833 with the Lock at Bobcaygeon. Finally after 82 years the waterway was completed. They were a few reasons to build the system, first logging, however the loggers did not like the locks.

Canada Canals

Secondly, transportation of goods and thirdly, a safe passage though Canada’s interior to avoid any invasion from the USA. Today it’s a terrific place to boat and really from here you can go anywhere in the world provided you have a big enough boat.

Saturday, July 25th we got together with a bunch of old boat guys and put on a show. There were pipes and kilts, dignitaries, locals and vacationers. A huge crowd gathered around the lock to recreate the first lockage 100 years ago.


“Traveller” a perfect social party boat.

Our good friend Scott and family brought along the oldest boat “Traveller” built in 1894 by Jake Swartsman of Waubashene along with the whole family and a few lock masters of the past. I had no idea how special that boat is to Gloucester Pool. However after this event and hearing the many stories of the boat, I now know why Scott and his family brought her home.


“Edith II” carefully navigating through the busy lock.

“Edith II” a 1905 Fay and Bowen from Lake Muskoka made the trip. Peter Breen brought along a few friends and 2 boats.


Entering the lock – “Traveller”, “Driftwood” and “The Jeffery”

“Jeffery II”, built by WH Mullins Co and “Driftwood”, built in 1939 by Dukes. The big blue topped boat is “Lockerbie”, built in 1906 by George Askew Boat builders, in Hamilton. At the back is “Myna Lee”, built in 1934 by Port Carling Boats, check out the seats on either side of the engine. Another famous Pool boat is “Sevlo” she is a big Ditchburn, built in 1922 that has been ferrying customers to the Severn Lodge for over 60 years. The Breckbill family also own a very rare Dart boat built by Greavette. Just to make a few of you go huh?

6in the lock - Copy

The gaggle of wooden boats gathers together in the lock.


Manually releasing the water out of the lock.


Traditional pipers and family of the first Lockmaster.

9opening the gate

Manually opening the lock.


The lock gates open and everyone feels taller than when they entered the lock. Now if we can just get the old motor to start again…

11_Myna Lee_ built in 1934 by Port Carling Boats_ Owned and captained by Josh Freeman

“Myna Lee” built in 1934 by Port Carling Boats – Owned and Captained by Josh Freeman.

12_Sevlo built in 1922 by Ditchburn Boats

The elegant “Sevlo” – built in 1922 by Ditchburn Boats.


“Zepher” – a rare Peterborough runabout.

After the re-creation the celebration continued with a day of fun, however the boaters took advantage of having a bright sunny day and went boating. Chris and Scott arranged a rendezvous for the club to see the sites and visit a couple of special places.

We cruised up to the crazy marine railway which takes you out of Gloucester pool and through to the rest of the Trent-Severn waterway. This was a temporary measure until a proper lock was built. It’s now the second railway. It’s one fun ride sitting on your boat and looking over a cliff.

18_marine railway

The amazing marine railway, an impressive example of vintage Engineering.

After a photo shoot we cruised back down to the home of Scott and family. Scott is the 4th generation to be on the’ Pool’ and his kids (the 5th generation) have got the boating bug in their blood. After seeing a wonderful collection of boats and an earful of Pool history, lunch and refreshments, we went to Sandy’s across the bay. Sandy is known for his extensive outboard motor collection.

15_sandys place

Sandy’s place – Party central.

It goes beyond outboards to signs, race boat history to even a few early snow machines. The day goes by so fast when out on the water and after that it was back to the ramp to help all those that trailered in get out and on their way home.


Inside Sandy’s place…


More inside Sandy’s place. (Wow! – Texx)


Reserved parking for Greavette Sunflashes only at Scott’s place.


Scott always gets the ladies!

Julie and I did not leave as we were having just way too much fun and had a place to stay. So… Sunday morning brought more boating and a visit from Sandy and his Morgan replica of “Nuisance”. She is powered with a supercharged 454 Chevrolet. We took the 2 gold cups boats out for a few runs up and down Little Go Home Bay.. After that it was an afternoon of slow and more elegant boating in “Traveller” and “Edith II”.


“Amelia” the drone captures a cool shot of “Nuisance” speeding across the lake.


Another shot of “Nuisance” from the cockpit.


“Riot” and “Nuisance” having some fast fun.


A slightly slower pace for the twin launches.

A special thanks to Ron Breckbill for organizing the re-creation and to Sandy Kennedy for opening up his collection. Finally an even Bigger thanks to Scott and Derra from suggesting that we put this day on our agenda, and for being such wonderful host.

Scott and Derra

Scott and Derra


Vintage Scott & Derra from back in the day.

From sunny Ontario, Canada always looking for a classic boating adventure,
Julie and Chris Bullen.

Thanks for sharing your great story with us today, a nice departure from the busy boat show coverage.


13 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    What a great story and boating event. Only in Canada can you pack that much history, boating and fun into one weekend. We have talked about organizing an event for out Michigan chapter on the Trent Severn Waterway. This rekindles the need to put that together. Thanks Chris, Julie and Texx!

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I could drop a boat in the Erie canal right up the street, take it to the Seneca Oswego canal, cross Ontario, and then take the Trent Severn and make it to Hessel in time for their 2016 show.

  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    It really was a fun day. You don’t realize how much stuff you didn’t see at Sandy’s until you look at the pictures for a while :). Also, Scott & Derra’s place is so beautiful and it was gracious of them to invite us.

    I love the Sunflash parking picture as Potts I is a 1962 Sunflash Mk. I (first year was 1960) and Sea-J is a 1972 Sunflash Mk.IV (last year 1973). So, you can really see the evolution of the model.

  4. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    Texx thanks for posting the story and making it look so wonderful. It was a special weekend that will be remembered for quite some time.

  5. Steve H
    Steve H says:

    Great story and thanks for bringing back full size images. My dad and I had planned a similar trip years ago that never happened. Maybe someday we will make the trip Snazzy and Pastime will make the trip. Speaking of which….

  6. Doug P in the PNW
    Doug P in the PNW says:

    Towed boat from LA many years ago and did the canal, most interesting was the lift lock in Peterborough

  7. Rich
    Rich says:

    Great weekend and perfect run. One of my favourite parts of the Trent waterway. Sandy had Supertest Gas with the original 1960’s pricing at the pump. Got to love those fill-ups!

  8. Cobourg Kid
    Cobourg Kid says:

    Wonderful report Chris and Julie , I only wish i had known about the event, instead I spent the day hanging drywall at the family cottage at Go Home Lake, just 15 miles away from all the woody fun …. Ratts!

  9. Carol & Bill Wingfelder
    Carol & Bill Wingfelder says:

    Pleased to hear things worked so well for the celebration. Only wish we could have joined you with our 1915 Ditchburn ‘VILOA’.

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