Motor Boating In Canada [1906]

Canada — Abloom On The Motorboat Proposition

Interest in motorboating in Canada is of comparatively recent growth but is rapidly increasing on account of the wonderful opportunities offered the devotees of the sport to indulge their hobby in the broad territory of the Dominion, covering, as it does, a greater area than the United States, interlaced with rivers and dotted with lakes.

Canada's Pacific coast is one of the finest cruising waters in the world, and it is said that small craft of about 30 feet in length may cruise from Vancouver to Alaska, a distance of about two thousand miles, in sheltered water. Moreover, boating is possible all the year around on this coast. The growth of the sport has been very rapid in British Columbia, particularly in view of the comparative sparseness of the population. The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, of Vancouver, it is said to have the largest fleet of any club on the Pacific coast. It includes the following motor craft: Mow Ping, B. T. Rogers; Electra, R. H. Sperling, Arrow, George H. Robinson; Ariel, George E. Bowers; Agnes, Dr. Bell-Irving; Roamer, John S. Gall; Gypsy, W. J. Taafe; Tillie, G. A. Roedde; Valora, E. Baker; Icola, A. B. Cook; Mignonne, Henry Darling; Juanita, W. C. Woodrow; Camosun, J. N. Henderson; Aileen, H. D. Hulme; Beth, R. P. McLennan.

At Victoria, B. C., is the Victoria Yacht Club, whose fleet consists mainly of sailing craft and auxiliaries. Motorboats, though numerous, are mostly small in these waters, and to date it cannot be said that there are any real cruisers or racers in Victoria. The popular size seems to be from 20 to 25 feet with from 3 to 7-h. motors. These boats are used mostly for pleasure but the rancher and fisherman are beginning to see their utility and even 35 cent gasolene is not stopping their gradual advance into commercial use.

Nanaimo, British Columbia, is an ideal place for motorboating as it is situated on the East Coast of Vancouver Island about 70 miles from the south end. The Gulf of Georgia is about 4 miles in width between Nanaimo and Vancouver, B.C., but small islands are so numerous to the southeast that one does not need to stay in the harbor even if it is blowing a gale on the gulf, as there is sheltered cruising for hundreds of miles among the islands. The only aquatic organization is the New Castle Boating Club, where several launches are kept. The largest of the club fleet belongs to George Fletcher, president of the club; it is a 36-foot torpedo stern boat built on speed lines, with a 10-h. Palmer motor.

Nelson, British Columbia, is the home of the Kootenay Launch Club, probably the first Canadian motorboat organization, as it was founded in 1903. There are twenty-nine members who own thirty boats. Commodore Busk owns two boats, the Flirt and the Wenonah. The latter is an English-built cabin launch, 47 feet long with a quadruple expansion steam engine and tubular boiler. The Flirt is also a steamboat, as the Commodore has a prejudice against gasolene engines, though it was interesting to meet his new steamboat being towed home by a gasolene motorboat recently. The following is a list of the fleet: Flirt, C. W. Busk; Faughballach, Malone & McPhee; Noorna, L. B. deVeber; Mermaid, S. S. Taylor; Pioneer, Gus Erickson; Edith, Gordon Hallett; Three Sisters, G. A. Hunter; Arthur B., J. A. Gilker; Klondike, P. Nelson; Anona, Carl Larson; Cigarette, George Thurman; Marx, Jeffs & Sharp; Airey, C. E. Miller; Ethel, F. E. Morrison; Gracie, C. Fernau; Nanoya, Leslie Hill; Pup, A. A. Adams; Miliota, H. G. Fisher; Pellee, J. J. Malone; White Wings, K. K. Bjerkness; Oriole, Bard & Curran; Ingold, I. C. Schermerhorn; Isabel, Joseph Carter; Josie, R. E. Lemon; Mums, C. G. Broadwood; Lurline, Thomas Morley; Blue Bird, Weeks & Dangerfield; Shamrock IV, G. W. Taylor; Wenonah, W. D. Busk.

These boats are used on Kootenay Lake and on the south arm of the lake, or more properly, the Kootenay River, on which the town of Nelson is situated. These waters afford a splendid field for the use of motorboats. Kootenay Lake proper is about 80 miles long by several miles wide, and being situated in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, is surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery. The Kootenay River, from the outlet to Nelson, is 20 miles in length and varies in width from a few hundred feet at the narrows to about a mile at the widest part. Kootenay Lake is generally calm but sometimes in high winds is too rough for small boats

The motors in use at Nelson are purchased from different makers in Canada and the United States, and in some cases are bought together with the boats and sent in complete, while in other cases they are fitted in boats made at Nelson. Among the latter is the Nanoya, an open boat 20 feet long, built in Nelson by George Hale & Company and fitted with a three-cylinder, four-cycle 4½ x 4½ Duryea engine. The number of motorboats will be largely increased this year and the tendency is to get faster boats with much greater engine power. The demand is likely to be for boats about 20 to 25 feet long, fitted with light engines from 5 to 15 horsepower.

(Excerpts transcribed from The Motor Boat, April 25, 1906, pp. 1-9)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page — LF]