Miss Canada IV And Her Lucky Charm – Revealed At The Toronto ACBS Spring Tour

Miss Canada IV Being Framed, Greavette Boat Plant - Winter 1949

On Saturday, April 21st the Toronto Chapter ACBS held it’s annual Spring Restoration Shop Tour which this year was hosted by a total of eleven boat restoration shops in the Muskoka, Ontario area. This is a very popular event and was very well attended once again this year.

One of the wooden boat restoration shops in the tour schedule was the Tom Adams Boat Builder shop in Port Carling, where the historic “Miss Canada IV” race boat is being restored for the upcoming movie “Harold & Lorna”. Here’s the report from our friend Harry Wilson, son of the famous race boat driver Harold Wilson and also a press release from the Miss Canada IV Restoration Team and Muskoka Film Works Inc announcing their new website.

Texx – Tom’s shop received its 1st visitor at about 10:30 AM – And by the time Tom and his wife Cindi, Mark Wretham, Jamie and me cried “Mercy” at about 4:15 PM, Tom’s shop had seen at least 200 visitors, most of who stayed a minimum of 30 minutes.

Tom and staff did a great job in preparing for the tour: Home-made refreshments for visitors and working slobs alike, 5 story / picture boards, a soundtrack of a 3,000 HP Rolls-Royce Griffon V-12 roaring to life that made “Miss Canada IV” vibrate like she once did and like she will once again, and to top it all off, Tom removed some of the skins he had installed on the boat’s keel knuckle bottom so that visitors could see and appreciate the work underneath.

The top comment from visitors, other than the off-uttered – “Wow”, was “Boy, there are a ton of things going on in the design of that bottom!” Indeed there are.

Top marks go to Victor Fabricius, all the way from Georgia to Muskoka, just to join in on the fun. Very Impressive! Here’s a few shots from Tom Adam’s Shop.

“Admiring the Bow” – When Tom deconstructed the boat in November, he found a small, badly decayed heretofore unknown envelope attached to the forward frame with 4 tiny brass screws. He could barely make out the pencilled inscription: “One for Mr. Wilson, one for Harold, one for Charlie V”.

Inside were the delicate remains of 3 four-leaf clovers, Clearly, this was the work of Greavette employees early in the winter of 1949 who hoped to bring good luck to the boat. Could it have contributed to the fact that nobody was ever hurt in her, she ran at some pretty impressive speeds, survived a warehouse fire and years sitting outside, abandoned, was rescued by Detroit’s Harold, Libby & Charles Mistele (current owner of Miss America IX) who ultimately appointed my dad as her steward and donated her 1st to the Port Carling museum, then to Ingersoll, and is now coming back to life thanks to Bobby Genovese? Who am I to argue against that long run of good luck?

Admiring The Bow Where The 1949 Good Luck Charms Were Placed

“Bottoms Up” – Participants in this year’s Toronto Chapter ACBS Spring Tour were treated to a sneek-peek of the amazing and complicated structure inside the famous Greavette multi-step hydroplane.   

The Soon To Be Completed Miss Canada IV Attracting Attention

“Pointing” – That’s director/producer Bill Plumstead pointing out some of the features of “Miss Canada IV” to interested guests. Bill’s connection to “Miss Canada IV” began when as a young highschooler invited to a buddy’s Muskoka cottage in 1949, he surfaced in an early morning swim to witness “Miss Canada IV” roaring by a few hundred feet away. He never forgot, and it was his idea to make a movie on the story he was afraid was about to be lost.

Pointing Out History To A Few Of Our Spring Tour Guests

The remarkable craftsmanship and attention to detail by boat restorer Tom Adams.

Tom Adams Makes Everything Out Of Wood

“1st step” – Shows the partial skinning on the first step of the multi-step bottom.

1st Step On Miss Canada IV & Story Board

Jamie Smith (center) – Executive Producer of “Harold & Lorna”, Miss Canada IV Restoration Co-ordinator and fellow Woody Boater has been actively involved with the ACBS and Toronto Chapter ACBS for many years.

Bill Mooney (website designer) Jamie Smith (Exec Producer & Restoration Co-ordinator) and Brian Ferguson (fan)

The original rudder, steering wheel and fin from “Miss Canada IV”.

Restorer Tom Adams explains some details of the project with an interested visitor.

Below – Fellow Woody Boater Harry Wilson meets fellow Woody Boater Victor Fabricius, all the way up from Georgia. Victor was also in the Muskoka area to attend a Dispro (Disappearing Propeller) Owners Meeting in Gravenhurst on Lake Muskoka Sunday… Then the following day it began to snow and Victor quickly hit the road, and set a course back to the south.

(I have to add that Victor is a “Friend” on my Facebook page and I am sure he is one of the busiest men on the planet… I get tired just reading about Victor and his vigorous workout routines running and cycling around Georgia. – Texx)

Harry Wilson – Muskoka Film Works Inc.

Thanks Harry for the update from the 2012 Toronto Chapter ACBS Spring Tour – Another successful event by the Chapter and the participating Muskoka area boat shops. – Texx

Toronto, Ontario – April 25, 2012 – The Miss Canada IV Restoration Team and Muskoka Film Works Inc today announce the launch of the website dedicated to the Canadian husband-and-wife racing team that put Canada on the world powerboat racing map.

Offering a rich tapestry of articles, photographs and videos covering the couple’s 20-year career in the racing spotlight, the site covers the making of Harold and Lorna – the movie on their racing lives – along with the boats they raced, the team behind the boats, and the restoration of their last and fastest hydroplane, Miss Canada IV which in 1950 became the first boat to eclipse the 200 mph water speed barrier.

Director Bill Plumstead saw Harold and Lorna Wilson testing Miss Canada IV in 1949 for her debut on the world’s stage. He never forgot the experience, most notably the roar of her engine and her mile-long rooster tail. It will have been 62 years when he watches her fly over the water again this summer, this time through the camera viewfinder.

Miss Canada IV - Flat Out

Miss Canada IV is being restored for Bobby Genovese in Port Carling Ontario by Tom Adams, using the original Douglas Van Patten plans. A 3000 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon, identical to the engine that powered the 1950 assault on the world speed record, is being rebuilt by Peter Grieve of Flight Engineering in England.

Supported by the popular “Harold & Lorna and Miss Canada IV” facebook page, haroldandlornamovie.com provides in-depth information for movie fans and history buffs, slide shows, sneak previews into the movie and updates on the restoration of the race boat. When the movie is released and Miss Canada IV takes to the water late this summer, Canadian and international interest in the team that campaigned her will jump once again.

For additional information:

Jamie Smith (Restoration Team Co-ordinator) – jds470@sympatico.ca
Harry Wilson (Muskoka Film Works Inc) – harry.wilson@haroldandlornamovie.com

14 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    This boat is worth traveling to see. And hear!

    Loved the three, 4-leaf clover story. What a neat find.

    Just think, if the boat were renamed Lucky instead of Miss Canada IV, fellow racers would be able to say…

    “Catch Lucky! He’s got Lucky Charms!”

    And the driver of the boat would be able to say…

    “Always after me Lucky Charms.”

    Ahhhh, this ad brings back warm memories of Saturday morning cartoons. That, and man-made cereals totally devoid of nutrition, heavily infused with a rainbow-load of food colorants with numbers after them.

  2. Michael Unruh
    Michael Unruh says:

    Awesome story! I’ll be applying for my passport soon so I can make the tour next year.

  3. Bill
    Bill says:

    i was out in lake huron fishing early one morning with a buddy of mine years ago just north of the mouth of the saint clair river the lake was like a sheet of glass and we could hear a big roar and here came miss supertest out of sarnia ont. out into the lake for a test run what a sight that was i know what mr plumstead is saying about remembering

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Great story Bill, thanks for sharing it with us.

      It’s amazing how the sights and sounds of those old vintage hydroplanes stick in our memories all those years later.

      Brave pilots too…

      • Bill
        Bill says:

        texx i grew up a little north of port huron and my dad loved the thunderboats so he used to take me to the races in detroit i got to see chuck thompson wild bill cantrell and legands like that run boats like short circuit miss bardhol,such crust the gayle boats man when they fired those babys up your head would rattle these new helicopter engines just dont match up to the thrill of the old piston jobs

  4. Harry Wilson
    Harry Wilson says:

    When Miss Canada IV’s Rolls Royce Griffon propels her once again down the Muskoka Lakes, I’m sure the world will hear her a’coming… figuratively, and quite possibly literally!

    I live for that day…

  5. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    The shop tour was well worth the trip north especially to see MCIV in person. Tom Adams and crew are doing an amazing job on that very complex bottom. Hope I can make the launch and looking forward to the movie.

    Meeting Harry Wilson was a highlight and consider him another Canadian friend who goes out of his way to make visitors feel welcome as interested woody boaters. Now I’ve got to work off all those butter tarts, Tim Horton donuts, and other home made goodies they were providing at the shops. We made 8 of the 11 shops and wish I had more time to spend at all of them.

  6. John D. Unsworth
    John D. Unsworth says:

    The Spring Tour was a great success here in Muskoka. The Miss Canada IV restoration was fascinating.

    Another stop on the tour was at Clark Wooden Boats which is restoring the Wa Chee We, a Fisher-Allison Class race boat, its sister vessel, the Ionic III, having raced in that event in 1922, and both built by Ditchburn. Both boats along with Miss St. Laurence, (built by Ira Cupernall, Thousand Islands) which also raced in that event, were 3 foot extensions of the bottom design of the Rainbow I, which won the event twice.

    A video of the discovery, raising and restoration of the Wa Chee We can be viewed at:

    We hope you will enjoy it.

    Best Regards
    John D. Unsworth

  7. Mark Cuppernull
    Mark Cuppernull says:


    I’m searching for information on the speedboat “Miss Saint Lawrence” built by my great great uncle, Captain Ira Cuppernall, in 1923.

    Capt. Cuppernall also built “School’s Out II”, and “Pan” and captained the steam yacht “Lotus Seeker” for the Edwin Holder family of Thousand Island Park.

    Does anyone know where she now resides?

    Thank you for your kind help in this matter!


    Mark Cuppernull
    Captain, United Airlines

    95 Lee Street,
    Winchester, VA 22601
    (908) 268-5420

    • Jeffrey Wilkey
      Jeffrey Wilkey says:

      Edwin Holden was the name my great-great granfather, (My mother nee Ellen Holden)I still have some photos of the boat the, Lotus Seeker, & was inquiring among the family to see if it had been rebuilt after a boiler explosion.- in 1899….

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