1948 16Ft Lakefield
16.5FT 1929 Peterborough Muskoka
Mr Rork’s canoe was made by the Brown Canoe Company in 1915
Iceboat to sail up and down the ice
When my Brother told me I had to go see his friend Rod’s collection of boats, I didn’t waste a minute to give him a call. We picked a day and met up at his family cottage on Stoney Lake.
The first thing I saw when I pulled in his laneway was a 1948 16’ Lakefield cedarstrip boat. This boat was in the garage and Rod lowered it down from the rafters to show it to me. At one point, this boat was covered in Red, Blue and green paint, you name it and it sounds like that paint was on it. It had been laboriously removed. What a beautiful clean boat, looking almost brand new. The stern had been cut off shortening the boat a couple of inches to put a new transom on it. Looking at the ribs on this boat I noticed they were square compared to a half moon shape. Rod gave me a little history lesson and explained that this was one of the differences between Peterborough and Lakefield cedar boats.
From there we moved down to the water to see two more boats, the first was a 16.5’ 1929 Peterborough Muskoka. This boat has the original seats except for the centre stern seat, original floor boards and decals. Due to the hull design of the boat, splash rails where not required. Another great thing about this boat is it is powered by a 5.5 hp Golden Jubilee Evinrude that Rod found in the dump, fixed up and had it professionally painted. We know that 1959 was Evinrude’s Golden Jubilee year – 50 years in Outboards.
Right next to this was a 1960 Lyman from the great town of Sandusky, Ohio. These are U.S. made boats and famous for their lapstrake construction and hull design. This boat had been restored and the stern has been modified for a 40 hp Yamaha.
When we finished up with the boats in the water we went through Rod’s canoe collection and from what I took in, this is where his passion for wooden boats and the water started. The fun thing about these canoes is you can sail them too. Now for me, I didn’t know you could sail canoes so we took them out of the boathouse and put them in the water. His dad’s canoe was made by the Brown Canoe Company in 1915 and was in incredible shape. The canoe is totally original except for the bow deck that has been replaced with two new pieces of cherry. Rod has two sets of leeboards that act as a centre board when sailing, one set made of wood and the other made out of metal.
When Rod was young one summer he decided that he was going to save every penny he had from his summer job to buy his own sailing canoe for $120. Making 15 cents an hour he was able to save $60. His dad paid the other $60 to make the purchase and he has been sailing ever since.
The third canoe Rod saved from somebody’s porch where it endured the snow and rain year after year until one day he couldn’t bare to watch it deteriorate anymore. So he made the owner an offer and took it home to refinish. This canoe was made by Walter Walker in 1979. Walter Walker was the lead craftsman for Peterborough Canoe. He has built 3 canoes for the Royal Family over the past 50 years. Those canoes have been on a museum tour and may still be on display at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.
Then tucked up in the rafters for those winter days you miss being out on the water is an iceboat. Now this looked like a fun time. The iceboat was also wood, with 3 steel runners and a mast that rakes toward the stern. Rod said that he’s been timed at over 70 mph and, at that speed one is surprised by the considerable noise from the skates sliding sideways on the ice. Dumping a “sailboat” at that speed can be quite a different proposition.
After seeing all the boats and learning their history, it was time for a delicious lunch. I could really see Rod’s passion for family, cottaging and boats while he told story after story. What a great day I had and I will have to go back when Rod’s next fleet of boats arrive.