By Katherine Stone

“The best kept secret in the city”

Ever thought about joining a year-round boating club where you didn’t have to own a boat to be able to cruise or race with friends? How about placing yourself in an environment where learning is the focus of the club? Imagine coming down and hopping on a boat that is already set to go, with no maintenance worries? I can see that I am beginning to pique your interest, especially the part about being able to go boating without the expense of purchasing and maintaining a boat!

Enter Humber College, where award winning faculty and flexible learning are at the heart of the Humber College experience. Courses in boat handling and navigation were offered in the college classrooms starting in 1972. The college knew that if this was to be successful, they needed to acquire some access to water to include the practical aspect of boating. So, a parcel of land was leased from the city of Toronto (formally Etobicoke), upon which a small building was erected just off Lake Shore Blvd. West on Humber Bay Park Road West in 1984, opening their doors as a year round facility to be known as the Humber Sailing and Powerboating Centre (HSPC). The idea of the club soon followed in 1988. Together they form the largest sail training centre in Eastern Canada.

The picturesque Humber Bay Park is actually two parks divided into an east and west portion joined together by a pedestrian bridge of unusual design. The park is west of downtown Toronto on two spits that straddle the Mimico Creek. Over 5 million cubic metres of land fill were used to create the park which is bordered on the east by the Humber River and was opened in the summer of 1984.

Adam Saunders, a local real estate agent recounted that, “After the fall of New France to the British, M. Rousseau received permission from the British to settle with his family on the site of the French Fort in Toronto at the foot of the Humber River. When Lord Simcoe arrived from Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) with a number Loyalist soldiers, M. Rousseau guided the ships into the Toronto Bay (now Toronto Inner Harbour). Lord Simcoe renamed the Toronto River the Humber after the Humber River in England.

The history of the Humber Bay neighbourhood began when a schoolhouse was built and with thirty-five eager, freshly scrubbed students, it opened its doors in 1888. When summer arrived the children would tend their family vegetable and fruit gardens. It is not a coincidence that the first Farmer’s Market for the Toronto area began in Humber Bay at Park Lawn Road and the Queensway where the Ontario Food Terminal is now situated (www.torontoneighbourhoods.net). The Humber River provided the growing city of Toronto with the energy source and a communications link that it needed to flourish. Humber College, which now services more than 83,000 full-time and continuing education students has taken on that heritage, dedicating itself to the communication of ideas and energy that will foster lifelong learning. Their new president and CEO, Chris Whitaker, is very supportive of the HSPC that owns the building, docks, and boats that service the club and students.

Tim Kendall, Manager of Operations for HSPC, explained that the Centre operates all year, with unlimited sailing on the club boats from the beginning of May to the end of September, as well as sailing and social events being held throughout the year. The members organize and direct the activities of the club, working alongside the commodore, the Advisory Committee and the HSPC staff. The members also help with dock and boat maintenance, as well as launch and haul-out.

Sailing instructors and club members provided the crew for two sailboats to assist 14 year old Annaleise Carr with her non-stop swim across Lake Ontario in August 2012. 

HSPC has three main focus areas: Training in sail and power boating skills, corporate team building and the sailing club. With private and group instruction, corporate events and the club activities of mentoring, racing, weekend flotillas and casual sailing, there’s always a lot going on when you have a site that is in operation 12 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Tim and his team are committed to promoting the boating industry as a whole, from yacht clubs to the chandleries. HSPC is often the first stop a prospective boater will make and Tim feels that it is their responsibility to ensure that the experience is a good one.

A member since 1984, Alistair MacKenzie, says that, “You gain experience without owning a boat and build your sailing hours. We teach them all, even the nice lady who showed up for her first day of sailing classes on the water with only her high heels to go on the boat. We end up with three types of members who go on to own their own boats, take more courses, or become instructors themselves.”  In fact, on my way in to meet Alistair and Tim, I ran into Diane Reid who had just finished teaching a Basic Cruising course at HSPC. Diane is sailing the 2013 Mini Transat Race from France to Guadeloupe as the One Girl’s Ocean Challenge.

Sail Canada (formally CYA) courses are offered in Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Keelboat Cruising, Introduction to Keelboat Sailing and Coastal/Celestial Navigation, with courses in basic power boating, diesel engine maintenance, performance sail trim, docking, and manoeuvering.  You can even acquire your Toronto Harbour License, VHF Restricted Operators Certificate (Maritime), Pleasure Craft Operator Card, or International Certificate of Competence. Hunter 31 sailboats (all under five years old) are used for the Basic sailing courses, while a Hunter 39 is used for the Intermediate and Advanced courses. There are also Catalina 309s, J/24s, Martin 244s and Sharks to round out the fleet.

Although casual sailing is offered seven days a week, on Wednesday and Friday nights you can roll down to the club after work and take out the Martins, Sharks, and J/24s to race. The Club’s policy of “never leaving anyone on the dock” ensures that you will always get to participate, with everyone taking a turn at the helm. Prospective Club members require their Basic course or equivalent experience and can progress toward achieving Club skipper by participating in the Club’s Mentoring program to improve their skills. The Club is very safety conscious and all club boats must have a qualified skipper and at least one qualified crew.

Sue Tucker says it is, “The best kept secret in the city”, but one that everyone should know about. Over 300 students/year come through HSPC’s doors to learn to sail, improve their skills, and/or become Club members. Because they are tied to Humber College, the focus is always on learning in a fun and safe environment. 

Sue was thrilled to mention that they put a proposal together to the Club’s Advisory Board and entered a boat in the Women on the Water (WOW) regatta this past June and had a blast!

For only $2,485/year or $800 for one month to join the club for adults and only $350/year for juniors, they certainly have a great deal going! Best of all, the club has reciprocal privileges. As Humber Sailing Club (HSC) is not a “traditional” club with visitor docks, recreation amenities, food, and beverage facilities, there is little that they can offer other clubs. However there are a dozen local clubs that offer friendship rights or reciprocal privileges. In return, what do these other yacht clubs receive?  Not only do they get a discount on courses, but also the opportunity to introduce potential new members to their club. Not a bad arrangement, for sure!

HSC members become not only life-long learners, but also friends (and yes, they have had their fair share of weddings that have happened because of this). Each winter they get together to charter a sailboat down south for a bit of warm weather sailing. Every day you come sailing you can sail with different people or the friends you met the week before.  Help make their “best kept secret” something that everyone wants to know more about! Come to share your passion by taking a course or end up staying for a lifetime. You have the choice and can check it out yourself at:

Humber Sailing and Powerboating Centre; 100 Humber Bay Park Road West; Toronto, Ontario  M8V 3X7  or contact them at 416-252-7291 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.humber.ca/sailing or www.humbersailingclub.com.

Photo Captions
Photo 1: Sailing upwind in Humber Bay
Photo 2: Floatillas are a great time to put navigational skills to the test
Photo 3: All hands on deck makes short work of maintenance
Photo 4: Open house guests get their first taste of sailing
Photo 5: Fleet includes 31' Hunters and Catalinas as well

Related Articles

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 14:28

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has confirmed that it will compete in the 2013 New York Yacht Club.  Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, bringing the competition to 20 international teams.  Founded...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 15:49

The 45th Annual Southern Straits Classic is set for March 29-31, 2013.  The West Vancouver Yacht Club (WVYC) is making preparations to host its Annual Southern Straits Classic for the 45th...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:23

The 2013 First 36.7 North American Championship (NAC) Organizing committee is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2013 First 36.7 NAC.   Scheduled for September 5-8,...

Friday, 08 March 2013 16:09

This will be a familiar question for most boaters when they first buy a boat and need to keep it someplace; what does one look for in a yacht club or marina? Is it the convenience, the atmosphere,...

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 14:28

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has confirmed that it will compete in the 2013 New York Yacht Club.  Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, bringing the competition to 20 international teams.  Founded...

Friday, 05 July 2013 12:27

Skippers and sponsors still have time to join the action at this year’s National Bank Easter Seals Charity Regatta on Saturday, July 13. With media sponsorship from Canadian Yachting West,...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Tankoa recently unveiled its new Linea Sportiva by Luca Dini in a live Zoom event. Conceived and ...
Without the optional bow thruster, getting the new Dufour 430 out of the impossibly crowded docks ...
Last September, we had our first encounter with a World Cat 280 DC – X and it was quite impressive! ...
In the February 2020 issue of Canadian Yachting magazine, we featured our review of the Neptunus ...
A luxury sport cruiser like the all new Prestige 420S has it all—lines that are easy on the eyes, a ...
Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that ...
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

 

 

Boston Whaler 230 VantageBy Andy Adams

The famous Boston Whaler slogan, “the unsinkable legend” has always expressed a safety promise that from their very beginning, set a Boston Whaler apart from other boats, and it’s clear to me that the designers take this heritage seriously.

The Boston Whaler 230 Vantage maintains the virtues that have made Whalers such an enduring success and now the designers have skillfully captured those virtues in a handsome and somewhat more traditional dual console design.

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Over the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova ...
The new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming ...
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...
Ontario’s best-kept secret, the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic site holds the key to ...
Located on the sunny south shore of the harbour, the Marina is on pilings over the water, offering ...
The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is ...

Brackley Beach PEI National ParkOver the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Lower Canada (Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario) gathered in Charlottetown to discuss the idea of bringing these diverse colonies together and forming a country. These discussions laid the foundation for what ultimately led to the Confederation of Canada in July, 1867.

Today, PEI continues to influence the rest of Canada as a vacation playground, known for its laid-back attitude, carefree pace, remarkable food scene and tremendous recreation opportunities. That’s especially true if you choose to explore the island the old-fashioned way – by boat.

Read More

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Last summer there was tremendous interest in buying a boat to have fun in the restricted world ...
The boat buying or selling market is hot now and has been since the late spring of 2020. Sean ...
Last issue we got up with Montreal sailor Marc Robic who has accumulated a lot of tips and tricks ...
While some parts of the country are lucky enough to have year-round boating, there are plenty of ...
A Transducer is a device that is installed below the waterline that provides underwater data to a ...
Spring has finally sprung! At least it has weather wise here in Montreal, so it is with great ...
For most of us, the thrill of being aboard is associated with the motion of the water, wind in our ...
An important, but often overlooked maintenance item on any type of boat is it’s steering system. ...
Insurance may not be exciting but it is important. Check at launch. We all know we need to spend ...
Before you launch: Inspect all around the hose clamps for rust and replace as necessary. Double ...

2002 Doral 330Last summer there was tremendous interest in buying a boat to have fun in the restricted world ofCOVID19. People hauled boats to the end of their driveways with “For Sale” signs. Sailboats and cabin cruisers appeared in Kijiji and Craigs List and it sounds like most were sold to new boaters. But, are they happy owners now?

Last fall we interviewed Rob Hopkins, General Manager at Bayshore Yacht Sales. Bayshore operates at six Georgian Bay marinas and are partnered with Maple Leaf Marinas LP. Rob was quick to agree that web sites like Kijiji can work for boat buyers, especially at the lower price levels for private sellers and buyers looking for a deal.

Read More

 

  

Boat FirePhoto Courtesy of Leslie Harper

Boats aren’t inherently combustible. They aren’t firetraps, and they aren’t any more or less dangerous with respect to fire breaking out than an RV, trailer, car or airplane.

But there are certain ingredients that make fires a potential hazard. And because of this, boaters should be aware of that potential, and take steps to minimize the chances of fire breaking out.

 

 

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
A Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet is ideal for streaming music, but it's often stowed safely away ...
Binoculars are a valuable tool on board any boat but they're often stowed, rather than within ...
Most SUVs drive about equal but the Subaru Ascent is just that little bit different or quirky ...
Exchanging business clothes for bare feet, Ann and her husband, Steve Manley, founder of PORTS ...
From streaming a repair video to downloading weather data, there are countless reasons to have ...
With 10 diameters from 11" to 30", there's a Schmitt & Ongaro Marine stainless steel Destroyer ...
The Grengine UltraLite and an ultra-portable folding 80-Watt solar panel. Combine the versatility ...
Have unwanted residue from removing stickers, decals, tapes, labels or adhesives? Release ...
When people think of boats, they imagine clean, white and glistening. Cleaning fiberglass hulls ...
Many boat soaps rely on chemicals so harsh, they end up stripping wax from your boat and are toxic ...

News

  • Prev
Volvo Penta’s DPI Aquamatic sterndrive is now on the market as a triple installation. This new ...
Last issue we proposed a contest for you and the folks at Big Bumper have stepped up with a prize. ...
A true Canadian Sailing Legend passed away on July 18th 2021
Reminder from the National Environmental Committee: Before you sail, know the rules about whales! ...
Parks Canada has advised the public to expect higher than normal water levels and flows during ...
The Collingwood, ON–based Limestone Boat Company plans initially to offer Vision outboards to its ...
The Weather to Boat app is now available to download for FREE in the app stores. Dynamic, Powerful, ...
If your flares have a manufacture date of 2017 or earlier they have or will expire this year. You ...
At the end of May in lovely Ravenna, Italy, the launch ceremony of the new RSY 38m EXP took place ...
You can celebrate the Bluenose for ten cents on a dime or for as much as $1,000+ with the Canadian ...

Cast OffOn Saturday, my boat finally splashed. You could tell it was happy and I was too.  This has been painful. Nonetheless, I have not yet left the dock nor had a social moment aboard.  My excitement has been limited to standing and admiring the scene while thanking the boat gods for vaccines and declining case numbers.

You are likely experiencing something similar as marinas and boat clubs gingerly step forward amid caution and distancing signs.  There is a collective sigh of relief heard across the land because the timing of the delayed launch appears to coincide with a national heat wave. It would have been infuriating to sizzle on the hard with the escape boat stuck in its cradle. I’m grateful for getting this far.

Read More