Queen City Yacht Club in 1939Imagine 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.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you are on the east coast, in the Prairies, or on the west coast, sailing clubs often seem to be born out of a desire to be on the water with a group of like-minded friends, and if you don’t have a place to hang out, then you use member beaches until you do. Such was the case with Wabamun Sailing Club (WSC) in Northern Alberta. 

The formation of Glacial Lake Iroquois, at the end of the last ice age, was to have a lasting effect on the boating activity on Lake Ontario. Many years ago, as the lake eroded, it left geological records through alluvial deposits from the Bluffs, which then settled westward to form the Toronto Islands. More recently, the erosion rate picked up quickly in the 1940s when cottages were being built along the bluffs to capitalize on the breathtaking, enticing waterfront view of this “geological wonder” and a unique feature in North America. The result of this consistent and dramatic erosion in the Scarborough Bluffs, has created an impressive portion aptly named Cathedral Bluffs.  The Bluffs were first named by Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, in 1793. She wrote in her diary, “The [eastern] shore is extremely bold, and has the appearance of chalk cliffs, but I believe they are only white sand. They appeared so well that we talked of building a summer residence there and calling it Scarborough.” It runs for 15 kilometres from the Eastern Beaches to West Hill, and soars up to 90 metres at its highest point. A stylized version of The Bluffs appeared prominently on the flag of the former City of Scarborough before it was amalgamated into the City of Toronto. Nestled in the middle and protected on all sides you will find one of the friendliest places on Lake Ontario, Highland Yacht Club.

I remember vividly awaiting the beginning of the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) which also marked the end of the summer, though I wonder now that I must have been crazy awaiting the end of summer! What I was waiting for were the water ski demonstrations in the channel that bordered Lakeshore Blvd and Lake Ontario. Memories of those beautiful ladies perched upon a handsome young gentleman’s shoulders in those gorgeous bathing suits, all tanned and athletic, were enough for me to wish that I knew how to water ski. Oh my how fashion and sports have changed. Little did I know then that the Hudson Yacht Club was making headlines all across Canada and the USA in the 1950s and 60s with one of the best and most active water ski programs in Canada.

A Sense of History and a Bright Future

Club historians are always the heart of a yacht club’s soul and are to be revered and saluted for their tireless work of keeping the club’s archives intact and accurate. David Page is just one of those people, and he sure made my job pretty easy when it came to the beginnings of Kingston Yacht Club.

The Coast Mountain Range and the Insular Mountains that form Vancouver Island make it a truly unique geographical area. Generally it is a region of heavy precipitation, but the mild temperatures and long frost-free periods are the rule and that certainly doesn’t categorize it as Canadian.

Prior to the white seamen arriving in the area now known as the Uplands, some dozen or so native groups who all spoke Salish inhabited and played lacrosse on the sandy beaches that still remain on the coast from Sidney to Beecher Bay. These were coastal, seafaring tribes who always travelled by water, never land, and were, for the most part peaceful.

The power of one is a dominant proclamation that resonates within many small, casual, easy-going boating clubs throughout Canada. These boating fraternities were often started with the vision of one person, who was soon joined by others to create a community of people who loved the water and wanted to participate in outdoor activities that involved a lake. In the early 1960s, a few people in the tiny village of Deauville, Quebec (population just over 3,300 people in 2006) came together to form Club Nautique on beautiful Petit Lac Magog.

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!

Third Oldest in North America, Located in Both Canada and the United States.  Every boat needs a port to call home and her owner benefits from a sense of camaraderie by sharing interests and his or her experiences with other boaters – hence the need for yacht clubs and marinas. So, I thought I would start by taking a look at a unique yacht club – one that has the distinction of being the only yacht club to have locations in two countries – both Canada and the United States.

Who doesn’t love the folklore and myth of sea monsters? Some say it’s the fodder for ancient sailing logs and others fill story books with these mysterious creatures. Ogopogo, also called Naitaka the lake demon, makes its home in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia where legend tells of first sightings by the First Nations peoples. The first white settlers were not fussed by this superstitious lore until the first recorded sighting by Mrs. John Allison in 1872. To this day, the sightings persist with consistent reports of a creature some 20 to 50 feet long, with a horse shaped head and an undulating serpent like body!

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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....................

 

Hanse 418By Katherine Stone

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Discovery Harbour MarinaThe Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf of the membership. Their Directors work with members to find solutions to issues in British Columbia. Members receive quarterly newsletter, with contributions by other members all along the BC coast.

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