June 28, 2018
a three-cabin, 44ft le boat at the lock in Newboro Ontario
On June 13 the charter company le boat officially opened its first charter base in North America at Smiths Falls on the Rideau Canal. Le Boat’s managing director, Cheryl Brown, welcomed guests and representatives from Parks Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism to their North American new head office in the former Lockmaster’s house.
Cheryl began her presentation by describing her first moments on the Rideau Canal as a “pinch me” moment! From her first trip to the Rideau she found the destination breathtaking beautiful as she described the villages and the scenery.
Canadian Yachting magazine Editor Andy Adams inspects the purpose built charter fleet
Le Boat has over 900 boats currently in service in bases in France, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Great Britain. Brown described The Rideau as,” like the best of Europe, we absolutely LOVE it.”
It took some time for le boat to consider coming to Canada and the initial visit had a lot had to do with the great work and persistence from representatives from Ontario Tourism who saw the potential and aggressively sold Cheryl on the opportunities here on the Rideau. On her initial trip, although she also saw this wonderful opportunity but was somewhat skeptical as the canal was hardly being used at all. Was there a hidden secret?
Once the decision was made to come to Canada, business plan was drafted, 16 boats were specially designed and built for the Rideau and the marketing began. In this his first season, as of the official opening they are approximately 75% sold out, not just to Canadians and Americans but also from guests from around the world.
Parks Canada and Ontario Tourism have done a fantastic job making sure all the facilities are first-class and that many of the villages, shopkeepers and merchants along the river are ready to welcome visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors will learn that the Rideau Canal was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th Century and that the Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operating and canal system in North America.
CY’s Greg Nicoll and Cheryl Brown, Managing Director going through the locks in Smith Falls
The guests at the official kick off were treated to a collection of local vendors who came to show off their wares and services to the visitors and dignitaries in attendance. Right in the middle of Cheryl Brown’s opening remarks a major storm ran through Smiths Falls. With rain pouring down and thunder in the background, Cheryl was undaunted in her excitement for the achievement of her team and her partners.