We have sad news to report as Canadian boating icon Victor Duhamel, the pioneer of Legend Boats, has passed away at age 82.
The well-respected brand has been a figurehead of Canadian boating for over 50 years and has played a pivotal role in Canada's boating landscape and retail economy. The Whitefish, Ontario company was the first Canadian boat manufacturer to offer complete packages including a boat, motor, and trailer -- which offered a simpler and more enjoyable buying experience to go with the company's well-built products. Legend has been a longstanding benchmark for the Ontario economy, and the Canadian boating market at large, while earning a reputation for quality products and excellent customer service.
The company currently designs and manufactures over 30 models of aluminum fish/ski/cruise boats, four deck boat models, and over 40 models of pontoon boats that are distributed through over 60 Legend dealers across Canada.
We send our condolences to the entire Duhamel family and everyone at Legend. Please see the press release below:
LIVELY, ONTARIO - It is with deep sadness and profound respect that we announce the passing of Victor Duhamel, the dynamic and pioneering co-founder of Legend Boats.
Born on February 15th, 1941 in Lively, Ontario, Victor's early years at St. Charles Catholic High School laid the foundation for his innovative spirit and business acumen. From humble beginnings selling tires at Duhamel & Dewar alongside friend and business partner Carl Dewar, to being inducted into the Canadian Boating Industry Hall of Fame, Victor's journey was nothing short of remarkable.
A visionary who saw beyond the waves, Victor transformed the Canadian boating landscape. As co-founders of Legend Boats, he and Carl sensed a niche for boats designed by Canadians for Canadian waters. With trailblazing moves like the introduction of the country's first fully-priced boat catalogue in 1988, Victor always navigated uncharted waters with confidence. Other industry-firsts, from the revolutionary rear bench that converts into an extended casting deck, to the introduction of sleek molded consoles in aluminum boats, stand testament to his unparalleled creativity.
A Titan of Industry
“I will always remember Vic as a visionary in the marine industry,” says Jamie Dewar, co-CEO and son of Carl Dewar. “His innovative approach to business set new horizons, but it was his deep love for people that truly made waves in our hearts and the industry.”
Beyond his business milestones, Victor's personal attributes echoed the greatness of his professional achievements. Known for his warmth and friendliness, Victor’s interactions were characterized by a genuine smile and an authentic interest in those he met.
A Family Man
“My father Victor was an incredible family man who worked hard to help create memories for our customers, our work family and our partners in business,” said Marc Duhamel, President and co-CEO. “My father shared a love and passion for everything outdoors. He believed strongly in family and always made time for what is truly important in life, the time we spend with family and friends.”
“He was an incredible husband to my mother, Ruthann, who he fell in love with at first sight and was married to for nearly 60 years. He was an incredible father, grandfather and great grandfather, who always supported each of us to be our best. He was a valued mentor who always took the time to teach and share his experience. An incredible story teller, my father lived life to the fullest and has shared more stories than I can ever recount. He shared these over and over and we will miss them.”
“He will be fondly remembered by everyone he met. My dad would meet people and form the deepest relationships with them. He loved everyone and always wanted to hear their story. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten. His legacy will endure.”
The King of the Road
Dubbed the "King of the Road" by the Sudbury Star, Victor's love for North American landscapes was evident. His passion for RV travels showcased his insatiable wanderlust and zest for adventure.
“When I think back of the times with Dad, we spent a lot of time together traveling,” said Jeff Duhamel, Business Development Manager. “My father’s adventurous spirit was passed on to us at a very young age. He was an RV enthusiast. With my mom Ruthann, myself, my brothers Todd and Marc, and my sister Nicole, my Dad has taken us in an RV all over Canada and the USA.”
“The things we have seen and done may be more than most get to experience in a lifetime. His generosity and curiosity took us not just to places but to meeting all types of people from literally all over the world. He would talk to anyone, about anything and always found each person he encountered fascinating in their own way.”
“My father was a natural born salesperson. To him it was not about the sale but rather the relationships he made and built that mattered to him the most. I sit and think about how many families he helped create memories with over his many years in the marine and RV world.”
“Dad, your strength, dedication and love have built a strong family foundation. Thank you for guiding us along our way to make our lives full of success, loving families and memories made together.”
A Legacy That Transcends Generations
His legacy is not just etched in the innovations he brought to the industry but also in the vibrant family business that continues to thrive. With his sons Marc and Jeff Duhamel at the helm of various facets of the business, and his grandchildren gearing up to carry forward his indomitable spirit, Victor's legacy is poised to sail into the future.
Victor's passing is an immeasurable loss to the Legend Boats family, the boating community, and Canada. He leaves behind a sea of memories, innovations, and a legacy that will continue to influence and inspire for generations. Details regarding memorial services and remembrances will be communicated in due course.