By Katherine Stone
Docks are well-lit and wide to accommodate dock carts.
Steeped in tradition that goes back to one of the oldest towns in Canada west of Quebec City, is Penetanguishene. This bilingual community of 9,000 is located in the middle of Huronia on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay in Simcoe Country, Ontario. The name is believed to have been derived from Algonquin (also believed to have come from the Wendat, Abenaki and Ojibwe tribes) meaning “place of the white rolling sands”. Penetanguishene Bay, with its shallowness and high rising hills was the perfect place to fish and hunt for these Native peoples as early as the year 800.
An 18-year-old coureur de bois named Etienne Brule, was sent to the area in 1615 to learn the ways of the Huron (Wendat) peoples. In this manner the governor of New France hoped to establish and secure the fur trade commerce. The governor himself, Samuel de Champlain, followed two years later to wage war with the Hurons against the Iroquois (who were arch enemies of the Huron and aligned with the English) to consolidate the trade of valuable fur pelts, so much desired in Europe. He had such an impact on the area, he is referred to as “the Father of Huronia”. Still standing today is a 25-foot high cross marking the spot where he landed in Penetanguishene Bay.
The first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, arrived in the late 1700s and saw this location as a perfect navel base to shelter the British warships to protest their investment in the fur trade. Little did he know that this location would become ideal during the War of 1812 when the British would construct a naval dockyard. The topsail warship schooners, HMS Tecumseth and Hewash, found their permanent homes there after the war and were believed to have sunk at their moorings in 1828. The HMS Tecumseth was raised in 1953 and is preserved in a display area at Discovery Harbour. The site has been reconstructed with building from the historic Naval Yard and two replica sailing ships, HMS Tecumseth and Bee.
Eventually closing as a military base in 1856, the site maintained over 20 vessels housing over 70 people and supplied British posts with cargo and supplies in the northwest. Many of the Metis fur traders who had moved with the British to Penetanguishene, settled in the surrounding areas. Many French-speaking families from Quebec were then lured there on the promise of cheap fertile land. Following soon after, were English-speaking settlers chasing the logging industry. Marked by this bilingual communion, many of the present-day families are descended from the Quebecois settlers.
Only 90 minutes north of Toronto, Penetanguishene is surrounded by the waters of Georgian Bay – truly a boater’s paradise with the best freshwater boating in the world. Often people are confused when they hear references to Penetanguishene and Penetang, thinking that they are two towns. The story I’m told by the locals is that they shortened the town to Penetang when the Grand Trunk Railway came to town. Either someone couldn’t fit the long town name on the railway station sign, or Penetanguishene was just too hard for non-locals to pronounce! I’d say it was probably a little of both.
Now that you realize just how connected this town is to the water and how enterprising their citizens are, it is not hard to understand why Bryan and Gwenda Hindson picked a marine site in the southwest corner of Penetanguishene Harbour as a business that, “Could survive in periods of recession and expand in times of prosperity”. After doing extensive research, the couple settled on a marina with 35 slips and incorporated in 1976, having the faith that they would succeed as a recession proof business.
Kelly and his brother Justin grew up playing, living and working at the marina and were involved with all its operations at very young ages. They took ownership from their parents of the largest independently-owned marina in Georgian Bay in 1999 and then Kelly took full ownership in 2008 and continues to run a very successful operation. Kelly and his wife Larissa and two children Jessica and Braydon contribute to the family atmosphere of the marina by offering burgers for boater appreciation day, pumping gas, grabbing a line on the dock or selling ice cream. Family has always been part of the Hindson motto. Kelly emphatically believes that, “The beautiful location and friendly, knowledgeable staff are what have attributed to the success of Hindson Marina.”
Adding to their location in Penetanguishene, Hindson’s acquired Killbear Marina, just west of Killbear Provincial Park in June 2018. One of the many reciprocal benefits that this wonderful addition to the “family” allows is 2 free transient nights during the week or one free night on weekends for Hindson Marina customers. Even before that, Accounting Executive Shirley Dusome, has been working with the company since 1988 and continues to work full time in the Hindson Marina office. Truly a group that keep family and friends close.
From the very beginning, because the Hindsons were always trying to upgrade their management skills, always attending workshops and adding innovative ideas, they were intrigued by the concept of Dry Stacking or Dry Docking boats, as it appeared to be very economical. Many of their customers were intrigued too because it was like valet service for your boat. All you have to do when you want to go boating is to call the marina before your arrival and they will have your boat launched and ready to go. When you return, just like a valet, they will power wash your beauty and return it to the dry stack storage. Easy Peasy!
Depending upon your budget, Hindson’s offers three options to store your boat for the winter: covered indoor heated or cold storage and outdoor storage. With 24-hour gated security year-round you can’t find a safer place with this many options. Whether your boat is on the hard or in the water, the experienced and certified marine technicians, who are provided with ongoing training to further develop their skills, can help to maintain, repair or replace just about anything on your boat. With their extensive parts department, you’ll find help and advice anywhere you turn. Hindson’s skilled technicians are now available wherever you are, with two mobile service vehicles they can take care of your service needs no matter where you are in Ontario.
Also on site you will find representatives from, Georgian Harbour Yacht Sales Inc. and Greenline Hybrid Yachts. Craftsmen and other marine services include O’Rourke Boat Repair, Woodwork by Kevin, AHOY Textile Fabricating and Diverse Rentals & Vacations. The harbour can accommodate yachts up to 65 feet for overnight, a week, month or the full season. Take your pick of drive-to slips, double slips or four-way tie offs. Hindson’s also has just about any boating amenity you can think of; a well-stocked chandlery, an ethanol-free fuel dock with diesel, high-octane/regular gas and marine oils, pump-out, travellift, hydraulic trailer, mast crane and storage, block/cube ice, dockside slip electricity (30 and 50 amp service) fresh water and complimentary wireless internet.
To keep everyone happy, including the family pets (who are very welcome) the team at Hindson’s has also added a heated in-ground pool and a playground that includes swings, toys, slides and a tether ball. There are coin-operated laundry facilities, scads of clean, heated washrooms and hot water that never seems to run out in the private, individual showers. In case your boat isn’t equipped with a BBQ or you have a lot of guests, Hindson’s has large BBQs, picnic gazebos and floating hotel accommodations available to all members. Special social events are organized by the Hindson patrons which include Wine & Cheese events, a Boater Flea Market, a Family Fun Day & BBQ, Canada Day red & white ice cream served at the fuel dock and, new this year, a Thank You Thanksgiving.
Only steps away from the Trent Severn Waterway, North Channel and 30,000 Islands you and your family can explore the sheltered anchorages, sandy beaches, crystal clear water of Beckwith Island, Giant’s Tomb and Beausoleil Island. Undoubtably Hindson’s is the friendliest marina because it’s like coming home to family and friends. Roza and Berc Caylakyan have been boating for almost 30 years starting at Honey Harbour and when they bought their present boat they met Kelly at Hindson Marina. The way he accommodated them was so impressive that they decided to stay. For the past 12 years they have enjoyed being part of the Hindson family because you are a somebody not a number. The marina is very large, features clean washrooms and showers. Over the years Roza and Berc Caylakyan had many repairs done on their Bayliner and always found the mechanics very knowledgeable, accurate and they charged a fair price. From the top guy to the young staff at the gas docks they are ready to go the extra mile to make your boating experience absolutely great.
Bob Phipps adds to that by saying, “From the chandlery to the service department to the management, the people here go out of their way to be pleasant, courteous and helpful. I’ve been boating at Hindson’s for 15 years and there is no other marina I would rather be at.”
Kelly believes that the beautiful location and friendly, knowledgeable staff are what have contributed to the success of Hindson Marina. Come for a day, a week, a month, or the entire season and join the Hindson family – true to their motto, “You’re with friends & family!”