In 1791, a 36 foot sailboat from Spain, captained by Don Jose Maria Narvaez anchored off Point Grey and ventured into Burrard Inlet. The sailors noted several native settlements that were eager to trade and came close by in their dugout canoes. One year later, Captain George Vancouver arrived and set about surveying the coastline. After this flurry of activity the area remained undisturbed and it would be 70 years before the beautiful timber would be cut, sawmills built, and larger ships arriving in a steady stream. This, my friends, was the beginning of Gastown and its many drinking establishments. As the main transportation was by water, young men with time on their hands, when they weren’t boozing, built their own sloops.
As summer becomes a distant memory, see if you can close your eyes and recall those glorious days when you spent more than one lazy day hanging around the general store at the cottage. Not only was it a great place to purchase some penny candy, but also the place where you could eavesdrop on conversations that your parents said you should know nothing about...
The Three Fires Confederacy (Potowatami, Ottawa, and Ojibwa Clans) welcomed La Salle in 1679 when he sailed into Lake Huron. Already established as the Hub of the Great Lakes, they helped to create a center of trade and culture with the French in the village of “The Rapids” after the War of 1812. By 1836 the town was renamed Port Sarnia and incorporated in 1856. With the natural wealth of abundant timber, the discovery of oil, and the arrival of the Great Western and Grand Trunk Railways, Port Sarnia grew to become the City of Sarnia at the beginning of WWI. It was now a significant transshipment port for western grain and, with the establishment of the Polymer Corporation to manufacture synthetic rubber during WWII, it was now a major petrochemical centre.
What is it that keeps most of us active and involved with our friends when the sailing season ends? Even though I am a very active skier who tolerates the cold February slopes, just waiting to get into spring, corn skiing, I still dream of those lovely days on the water and look forward to launch as the best day ever...
An interest to be on the water, do things on the water, and enjoy it with friends who like to do the same, is the driving force behind just about any boating club in the world. Add to that a driving desire to continue to improve upon what you have, so that your club becomes a destination to meet friends outside the sailing season, and you have a truly wonderful experience that has helped to form this club; a club that would change its name five times before finally settling on the Britannia Yacht Club.
You won’t find a prettier site in all of Canada (although I am sure that the west coast sailors would probably disagree!) nestled on the Chester Peninsula extending into Mahone Bay along the south shore of Nova Scotia, with both a front and back natural harbour. The bay is dotted with about enough islands for each day of the year. The village was founded in 1759 during the French and Indian War. Setters from New England were given Shoreham land grants for the area we now know as Chester and the Tancook Islands. These people were known as Planters, as they farmed the land and were also fishermen. During the American Revolution, some Yankee privateers tried to plunder Chester.
Imagine a club that has been around for 125 years, that used to rent their club house, finally built a club house only to have it go headfirst into the lake, that rebuilt the clubhouse on an island that didn’t used to exist, and then not be able to get there unless you whistled to someone from across the inlet at Ward’s Ferry, to come get you in a rowboat! Sounds unbelievable…it’s the legacy of the Queen City Yacht Club
In 1793 Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe and his wife used to picnic on the island, although it was really not an island at that time, rather a peninsula coming out from the eastern end of the city. As the only way into the harbour was through the western gap, he decided to make Toronto (then York) the military centre of Upper Canada and Gibraltar Point (now Hanlan’s Point) would guard the entrance. Fort York would eventually be built across the western gap to help defend the city.
The Heart of It allAs an attractive destination for sailors and cruisers alike, Midland Harbour doesn’t really have to try hard to impress; the waters of Georgian Bay attract yachts of all sizes from all over the globe. With a history steeped in lumber and boat manufacturing, Midland Harbour today is an integral part of a thriving town, boasting the largest freshwater marina in the world amongst its offerings. The hometown of Sarah Burke, Glen Howard, Adam Dixon and David Onley to name a few, Midland is the heart of the North Simcoe area, the centre of the neighbouring Georgian Bay communities.
In the heart of the Huronia wilderness, the Jesuits established the first French outpost outside of the area we now know as Quebec. It was called Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons in 1639. Wendake, “the land apart”, was the ancestral homeland of the Huron nation. The Wendat were a matrilineal society of skilled traders and farmers. They introduced the ‘three sisters’ (corn, beans and squash) to the French and taught them how to grow these crops in mounds. Sadly, the mission was to last only 10 years. With the Huron decimated by disease and rising tension of more frequent Iroquois attacks, the Jesuits burned the mission to the ground and moved all inhabitants to nearby Christian Island.
Great performance in a versatile, modern design
For the Canadian Yachting readers who are not yet familiar with Beneteau’s broad range of power boat models, the Gran Turismo 35 may come as a bit of a surprise. Our test boat is a head-on competitor to the North American built express cruisers and the latest day boats that are coming on the market.
The GT35 has the style and amenities to match the best new designs in it’s size range, the stern drive power to deliver exhilarating high speed performance plus, it still adds in an overtone of Euro style.