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National Vintage Boating Day Runs Saturday August 8th with Events Across Ontario

National Vintage Boating Day is hitting the water this Saturday August 8th with a series of fun events across Ontario lakes. Throughout Muskoka, Georgian Bay, and the Kawarthas boaters will gather between 10:30 am and noon to showcase their rides and spend the day boating.

For anyone unfamiliar, vintage wooden boats have a strong tradition in Canada, and Ontario especially. After the end of WWI an influx in recreational past times hatched the growth of the boating and the cottage industry. That passion for boating carried through the 60's with the 'boom, bust, echo' of the Baby Boom generation, and led to the development and preservation of a wooden boatbuilding tradition. Cottage regions are full of vintage designs that can be seen cruising throughout Muskoka, the Kawarthas, Georgian Bay, and beyond. The Muskoka Antique Boat Show was originally scheduled to run in conjunction with Vintage Boating Day but was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, so club members are organizing a strictly on-water event with social distancing measures between vessels. The Toronto chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society has put together the following list of events for Saturday:

A message from the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Toronto Chapter:

Sunshine glancing off gleaming mahogany, a quick glimpse of fibreglass fins flashing by, the graceful glide of wooden canoes. These sights and more can normally be seen at vintage boat shows on any given weekend throughout Ontario.

But, as with so many other events this year, boat shows have been cancelled, and boaters no longer gather in large groups.

Instead, a number of groups have banded together to hold National Vintage Boating Day on Saturday, August 8 from 10:30 a.m. to noon (local time). Vintage boaters across Ontario and beyond will gather on local waterways during that time.

With a goal of having as many vintage boats as possible on the water at the same time in a variety of locations with a minimum of contact and trailering, the event is open to all vintage boats (any boat built up to and including 1991, or any wooden boat). No registration is required, and boaters will be provided with guidelines for social distancing while boating.

Routes have already been developed for Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Lake of Bays, and Gloucester Pool, as well as Pigeon Lake in the Kawartha Lakes. More route information will be published at as it becomes available.

Those interested in creating their own event are welcome to do so. Simply choose a starting point and email with the details to have your route information added to the ACBS-Toronto website. Please note that while we are promoting National Vintage Boating Day, this is not an ACBS-Toronto sanctioned event.

Details for Boaters:

Here are the confirmed routes so far:

Lake Muskoka

Assemble by 10:30 a.m. on Mirror Lake just south of Port Carling on the Indian River. Guides will lead the flotilla on a gentle cruise.

Lake Rosseau 

Assemble by 10:30 a.m. in the bay on the Indian River opposite Echo Point near the canoe cut. Guides will lead the flotilla on a gentle cruise.

Gloucester Pool

This slow-paced cruise will begin in Little Go Home Bay, head around into Whites Bay to the mouth of the channel to Big Chute and down the Trent System, through The Narrows into Little Lake and return via the Back Channel. Assemble by 10:30 a.m. or join along the route.

Lake of Bays

Assemble by 10:30 a.m. at the west end of the Narrows. Cruise through the Narrows toward Dorset, pass under the bridge into Little Trading Bay, then break to head for home.

Boaters who do not wish to make the journey to Little Trading Bay, could cruise the bay closer to home base.

Pigeon Lake (Kawartha Lakes)

Assemble by 10:30 a.m. at the west side of the Gannon’s Narrows Bridge (Pigeon Lake). Cruise to Bobcaygeon, turn around at Gordon’s Yacht Harbour, and return. Those who wish may find docking space and explore the town.

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