Apr 26, 2018

Owen Sound Fair 1961Although the two organizations are not exactly the same, initially the Canadian Power Squadron’s organizational structure was predicated on the United States Power Squadron. Indeed in those early years our organization was fortunate to be able to repeatedly glean plenty of information about the types of boating courses as well as the content of those courses that were being requested by our local boaters.

When sailors and others returned home from World War I after having learned the importance of formal marine training they wanted to pass along their marine knowledge and good boat handling skills to fellow boaters. Very quickly CPS became an ever expanding fraternity of local groups who organized themselves in to “squadrons.” These local squadrons were dedicated to the purpose of increasing marine knowledge as well as general enjoyment by providing instruction in all aspects of boat handling particularly navigation, for power and sail boats.

HQ 1961It did not take very long before CPS was supported by squadrons across the country each applying to be formally recognized by requesting their squadron’s Warrant from CPS’ Headquarters. Consequently CPS’s Governing Board was becoming quite large and increasingly unwieldy with every Squadron Commander being recognized as a Director of CPS. It is interesting to note that at the time each Director was obliged to pay their expenses. In the fall of 1958 at CPS’ 10th AGM, Mr. S.GordonMcCandlish was elected as Chief Commander. One year later with the continuing increase of CPS squadrons the formation of Districts was approved. Each District was to have its own District Commander and District Training Officer.

HQ 1965

CPS’s organizational structure was subsequently restructured into the three tiers that remains today to allow for an intermediate level of organizational responsibility. Chief Commander McCandlish successfully amended CPS’s constitution in 1959 replacing Squadron Commanders with District Commanders as Governing Board members. Following in the tradition of Past Chief G.W. Bowman, who initiated the instruction of CPS’s Boating Course in Canada in 1938, (Chief Commander Bowman was also CPS’s first Squadron Commander of a Squadron and CPS’s first Chief Commander) Chief Commander McCandlish presented CPS with the S. Gordon McCandlish annual trophy for the District with the most improved performance in advanced courses during the preceding year.

With CPS membership growing exponentially CPS’s Headquarters was indeed bursting out of the Neville’s garage. By 1958 headquarters needed to relocate to a double-fronted storefront on Royal York Road in Toronto. At this time, because of the many duties in producing, preparing and printing boating courses for an ever-increasing number of squadrons as well as organizational administration CPS hired professional staff – a manager as well as clerk-typist.

The standard slate of courses that squadron training officers could teach included Piloting [Cost $20.00, Seamanship [Cost $12.00], Advanced Piloting [Cost $15.00], Engine Maintenance [Cost $17.00] and Junior Navigator [Cost $20.00.]

Conference Piloting Contes

It is interesting to note that CPS’ 1960 AGM was held in Toronto at the King Edward Hotel. Having CPS’ AGM hosted at an Ontario location had been the practice since the beginning but then in 1963 for the first time CPS’ National Annual General Meeting was held outside of Ontario in Vancouver. The other change from the general practice was for the first time CPS’ general membership were actively encouraged to attend. Four years later CPS’ National Annual General Meeting was held at the Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax.


One year later, the then Chief Commander Bill Booth made the grand announcement that CPS’ Governing Board was recommending the construction of a purpose-build
Headquarters. Vice Commander Sam Crump deserves acknowledgement for his expertise in helping to manage CPS’s headquarters construction project. CPS’s national headquarters opened for business in September 1965. Chief Commander Booth’s Executive Officer Alan W. Eadie was elected as Chief Commander at CPS’s 1965 AGM Chief Commander Eadie was also made an honorary member of USPS in 1965. Due to Canada’s Centennial yea the 1967 CPS AGM was held in Ottawa with Mr. H.S. Reese being elected as Chief Commander.

One small bit of CPS’ colourful history, albeit very controversial by today’s standards was at the 1968 AGM held at the Seaway Towers Motor Hotel in Toronto, Chief Commander Howard S. Rees said, “We (CPS) have completed 30 years of service and with continued growth there are now 106 Squadrons with some 8000 members and 1700 Lady Associates.”

It would not be until 1973 before the organization’s Bylaws were amended and women would be able to join as full members of CPS. Before this time women were able to take the Piloting Course and pass but they would only be recognized as Lady Associates. Prior to this significant change CPS was a gentleman’s organization with women being passengers on their husband’s boats.

(Author’s note: For more information please refer to CPS Lady Associate? What a shock by Past Chief Doreen Hinksman at www.cps-ecp.ca.)

Today, CPS, now known as the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP,) remains as a charitable, membership-type organization incorporated under the Companies Act of Canada. CPS-ECP is open to all large and small, sail, power or other watercraft users. Specifically, CPS-ECP through its network of local squadrons is a dedicated group of watercraft users primarily interested in two fundamental aspects; marine knowledge and fun.

Purely and simply, CPS-ECP is a dedicated group of volunteers interested in increasing marine knowledge and pleasure through boating education.

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