Oct 10, 2019
After working for a time at J.H. Ross Boats in Orillia, Sam Botting (1891-1954) moved to Lindsay in 1921. He and a partner bought out an existing boat shop located on the Scugog River (64 Ridout Street) and the business was renamed the Lindsay Boat Company. They did repairs and built a line of canoes called “Big Chief,” as well as skiffs and the occasional motor boat. Botting took over sole ownership in 1926.
After the liquidation of the Disappearing Propeller Boat Co. in Port Carling, Charles J. Barr acquired its assets and in 1926 made a deal with Botting to continue building this line of boats at his shop. This kept the Dispro in production, but at nowhere near the previous rate. The Lindsay shop made use of materials left over from the Port Carling factory and sometimes used former employees as well. Along with this contract work, Botting still built canoes and did other work as before. In 1931, Botting filed a lawsuit against Barr over a debt and the following year he was awarded the majority of Barr’s Dispro assets. (A man named Thompson bought the remainder and partnered with Botting for about a year before selling out his share.) Dispro production had been suspended during the lawsuit, but afterwards Botting resumed building them under the name of “The Lindsay Disappearing Propeller Boat Company.”
Botting built Dispros on a small scale (and in only three models) until the end of 1936, when he sold the rights to Greavette’s of Gravenhurst. During the Dispro’s Lindsay era, only about 170 of these unique boats were built. After this, the business reverted to its old name and went on for three more years. In late 1939, Botting sold the property and closed the shop. He later worked for some other Ontario builders, including Shepherd Boats.
– 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 fifth 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: