Sept 12, 2017
When Bernie and Jean Luttmer moved to Toronto in 1971 they bought an International 14 sailboat before they bought a bed. The next question (after they got the bed!) was where to store the boat; they found a spot at Ralph Swan’s Marina at the foot of Liverpool Road in Pickering ON. In 1976 the Luttmers abandoned their “real” careers (Bernie was an engineer with a pool company; Jean was a Consumers Gas home economist) and went into the boat business full time.
Forty-one year later, the couple is hanging it up having turned the original 20-slip marina and cottage where they lived into a serious boat dealership and significant waterfront development.
Over the years, they have sold Vandestadt and McGruer Sirens and Sirius, ‘perhaps 5-600’ Catalina sail boats of various sizes, Grew/Chris Craft and Larson powerboats and various other lines including recently Dufour. Over the years, Frenchman’s Bay has been a base that included outposts in Penetang, Montreal and even Wilson NY where the branch continues. Over the years, many Canadian boaters have purchased boats from Swan’s and the docks of eastern Canada remain crowded with boats that got their start with Bernie.
The new owner is an experienced industry person, Jan Ploeger, also of Dutch extraction as is Bernie, who has worked at Swan’s and at Crate’s. Bernie and Jean plan to take it easier, do a lot of traveling and skiing. Bernie will still keep his hand in the marine industry as Canadian distributor of Jet Thruster, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of water driven bow thruster systems.
Jean and Bernie wrap it up after 41 years. Photo credit: Greg Nicoll
In a nice return to roots, Bernie and Jean have moved from the house they lived in nearby to a small cottage right on the shore of Frenchman’s Bay.