Feb 14, 2019

Grew 1956 RunaboutArthur Grew (1885-1952) opened a boathouse on Lake Simcoe at Jackson’s Point in 1907. Here he built canoes, rowboats and sailboats, some of which he hired out and others he would sell. Though relatively small, the business prospered for two decades until the Great Depression hit. In 1932, Toronto businessman Clarence A. Kemp (1893-1977) bought the business, but kept Grew and his employees on to build the boats as before, while he looked after financial matters.


In 1939, Kemp took over The Gidley Boat Company, located in Penetanguishene. Established in the 1890s by Henry E. Gidley (1864-1933), it had been a large and successful manufacturer of motor boats on Georgian Bay, but was left struggling after the Depression. Kemp maintained both plants, merging the businesses under the name of “Grew Boats Ltd.” Before long the company was working on military contracts, producing a variety of vessels, including 38’ Crash Boats and eight of the 112’ Fairmile patrol boats. After the war, Grew Boats returned to the building smaller pleasure craft.


Grew BoatsKemp sold off the Penetang plant in 1950, along with the Grew name, to a group of investors from Toronto. The Jackson’s Point shop, which produced 14’-16’ wooden outboards, was split off as “The Bonnie Boat Company” and was soon sold to a different buyer. Under its new ownership, Grew Boats rode the post-war boom to great success, becoming one of Canada’s largest boat builders. A major re-fit of the factory was completed in 1957, with a variety of stock wooden boats being manufactured, including both inboards and outboards, as well as large cruisers. Grew’s did not design its own boats, however, but licensed models from American manufacturers.

Production shifted to fiberglass boats, and in the 1970s a new, larger factory was built near the original one. At this time, Grew’s employed over 100 people. From the late 1970s, sales began to decline and the business eventually closed in 1989. The Grew brand was later resurrected, with boats being manufactured at a plant near Owen Sound, but this closed in 2011.

 

• Gerry Hatherly

Gerry Hatherley is a researcher and writer for the Archives at Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre. His main focus has been on the vintage boat builders of Muskoka. Gerry lives in Gravenhurst, ON, and has deep family roots in the region.

This article is the CYOB’s second in a series of articles and photos. The series is nine at the moment but Gerry is working on another six or seven.  Other articles in the series include: 

Bastien Boats of Hamilton, ON

 

Destinations

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Mackinaw IslandA favourite destination for many boaters and tourists alike is the lovely Mackinaw Island. Sitting in Lake Huron on the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac in the state of Michigan, it covers almost ten kilometres, of which 80% is park land. It was a sacred place of the Anishinaabe and home of the Gitche Manitou (Great Spirit) some 700 years prior to the arrival of the first Europeans.

According to legend, the Island was created by the Great Hare, Michabou, and was the first land to appear after the recession of the Great Flood.

Read more about the Mackinaw Island...

 

Boat Reviews

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Jeanneau NC 1095Andy Adams

The reinvention of the family cabin cruiser

We will probably look back on 2018 and 2019 as the years when power boats were reinvented by the combined forces of a booming U.S. economy and the wide-spread development and introduction of so many amazing new outboard engines. The result has been the development of many remarkable new designs!

One of the most inventive designers and builders is Jeanneau, and the NC 1095 is their new flagship outboard cruiser by Centkowski & Denert Design.

 

Read more about the Jeanneau NC 1095...

Lagoon 46Lagoon has been building catamarans for too long to make a false move. That’s why when the management felt that their tried-and-true 450 model, long a cruising favourite and winner of transatlantic events such as the ARC, was getting near retirement age, they went back to a team that has designed many successful models for them: Nauta Design for interiors and VPLP design with Patrick le Quément for naval architecture and exteriors.

We spoke with Nauta Design’s Massimo Gino about his work with Lagoon.

“Along with the many custom superyacht projects we do, we have been collaborating with Lagoon since 2009.

Read More about the Lagoon 46...

DIY & How to

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Ground Bus BarGrounding is always an interesting idea when on a boat. Can a boat be ‘grounded’ when it’s in the water?


Electrical ground is a term used to describe the reference point in an electrical circuit from which voltage is measured, a common return path for electric current, or a direct physical connection to the earth.

Connection to ground is also important in order to trigger protective mechanisms in the event of failure of internal insulation, and also limits the build-up of static electricity.

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

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Most of us have heard of fuel additives, whether it be for gasoline or diesel. But which one to ...