CLASSICS ON THE WATER - A new boating season gets quickly underway
Photo by Tim Du Vernet
Built at the Bell laboratories in Nova Scotia in 1928, Tolka will be returning to Muskoka this summer in her role as poster boat for the 2012 ACBS show in Gravenhurst.
MUSKOKA - The May 24 weekend has come and gone in a blur. Just how did it creep up on us so quickly? It seemed like just yesterday that the weather was swinging from snow to wind with hope of warmer days a long way down the road.
Looking out at the sparkling water of Lake Rosseau, winter is quickly forgotten. During an evening paddle, it looked as though Ruth, a century-old Borneman, was out for one of its first runs of the season.
The engine sounded as though it was still coughing up winter’s lube as she steered around Portage Bay. This time of year, the boat shops are in full swing trying to empty their floors of a winter’s worth of work in time for the season ahead. With crews launching boats or serving the do-it-yourself types with parts and varnish, spring is definitely the busiest time of year.
The season ahead looks to be a busy one with commemorative cruises, historic launchings, visits from boats with remarkable histories, as well as the usual riff-raff of Dispros and utilities bobbing about the lakes.
I had the exciting opportunity to follow this year’s Antique and Classic Boat Society poster boat to Seabrook Texas for the Lakewood Yacht club’s Keels and Wheels boat and car show. Recently completely rebuilt from a grey hull, Tolka began her active life in Muskoka and will make a brief visit back to Muskoka this summer, before returning to her current home in Nova Scotia.
Commissioned in 1928 by John Lash, legal counsel for Bell Laboratories in Baddeck Nova Scotia, Tolka is one of the most unusual configurations to come to Muskoka.
With her twin helms, partial hardtop and navy top, she is very representative of the elegance and skill demanded by wealthy cottagers just before the Depression. Builder Peter Breen of Rockwood, Ontario explains that Tolka has just about everything you could have built into a boat of the time.
Tolka won best of show and people’s choice awards at the Seabrook event. Who knows how many awards she can achieve as she tours the United States and then to Gravenhurst for the ACBS show in July.
Speaking of boat shows, this year we will have the opportunity to see at least three shows. The ACBS show in Gravenhurst, the Rosseau show and the semi-annual Muskoka Lakes Association show. The MLA show theme is “Muskoka Traditions.” The idea is to encourage spectators to reflect on how wooden boats are such an integral part of Muskoka summer life.
As usual, I will be keeping you up to date on all of the latest launchings and wooden boating news, of which Muskoka is never short.
Tim Du Vernet is a professional photographer who specializes in photographing and documenting wooden boats, and is the co-author of Wood and Glory, which celebrates the legacy of wooden boating in Muskoka. Tim can be reached at his studio near Windermere at 705-769-3925 or email@example.com.