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Sunday, June 30, 2013

100 years of boating in Muskoka being marked on the water in Gravenhurst

   Out to Sea column for June 29/13
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Boats and water mean summer fun in Muskoka, the land of an amazing 1,600 lakes.
   Known as Ontario’s “cottage-country,” the area extends from Georgian Bay to the northern tip of Lake Couchiching and to the western border of Algonquin Provincial Park.
Crowds gets a closer look at classic Muskoka wooden boats in Gravenhurst.
   The popular resort area, about two hours north of Toronto, is ready to celebrate 100 years of boating.

   Start your engines
   “The Greatest Boat Show Race in Canadian History” comes to the Muskoka Wharf on Lake Muskoka in Gravenhurst from July 4 to 7.
   Show day is next Saturday for the Antique and Classic Boat Society of Toronto’s 33rd annual event that features an “unprecedented gathering of champion race boats and drivers.”
   On view and in the water will be a collection of 130 antique race boats and modern high-powered watercraft.

   Rick McGraw, organizer and co-chair, calls it a “unique opportunity to see some of the world’s most historic and modern race boats ever gathered in one location in Canada.”
   The four-day event will feature boats powered by First and Second World War aircraft engines that became world champions and Grand Prix record-holding race boats.
Miss Canada IV is the featured on-water race boat at the Muskoka show.
   As well, North America’s top Hall of Fame race boat drivers will be featured including Lorne Leibel, Mark Rotharmel, Jim Thompson and Norm Woods.
   More than 8,000 people are expected to pack the wharf and surrounding area for the festival and museum exhibit Race Boat Glory – Muskoka Legends Live On.
   “This brings to life the owners, designers, builders, drivers – and of course the boats – that have given Muskoka a special place in the history of Canadian and international powerboat racing over the past 100 years,” said Rick Terry, president of the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre.

   Classics and high-tech
   Joining the lavishly restored classic wooden “Muskoka boats” and motors from yesteryear will be some of today's high-tech water toys.
   Among the vessels at the show will be Little Miss Canada IV, a 1937 wooden race boat that set a world speed record exceeding 200 mph.
   In 1950, Harold Wilson drove the Greavette two-step hydroplane powered by a 3,000 horsepower Rolls-Royce Griffon V12 to the record.
   Other boats include My Sin, a Gold Cup hydroplane; Irishman; Wa Chee We; and Chuckwagon.
   Activities include Movie Night featuring Racing with Legends on July 5 at the Gravenhurst Opera House.
   On July 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be the LEGO building of Miss Canada IV at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre where the featured boat is Miss Canada III.
   Race boat exhibits and activities in water and on land run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 7 at the Muskoka Wharf.
   The show opens with the Canadiana Grand Prix with boats circling the bay while at the centre will be a seminar on the Miss Supertest Story.
Miss Supertest III, a Canadian-designed and built hydroplane, is on view at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre.
   Brunch and lunch cruises are available on the historic Segwun and Wenonah II steamships and from noon to 1:30 p.m. is an on-water parade called Boats in Motion.
   For doers and dreamers, there is a “Field of Dreams” with boats for sale and a flea market to find those restoration parts and projects.
   Events wind up on July 8 with a Sea Flea Festival, cardboard boat building and parade for children, BMX/FMX Stunt Show ($10 ticket) and a Rolling Stones Tribute Show.

   Need to know
   Events take place in Gravenhurst at the Muskoka Wharf, 685-2 Muskoka Rd. N. and Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre, 275 Steamship Bay Rd.
   Admission is $13; no charge for children to age 12. Details: http://adobe.ly/14aqFKG; acbs.ca

   Touring ships
   Here’s another spot to see some of the tall ships visiting the Great Lakes this summer.
Fair Jeanne will be one of three tall ships at Harbourfest in Port Stanley.
   Three of the ships will be at Harbourfest in Port Stanley, south of St. Thomas, from July 26 to 28.
   The fest features Liana’s Ransom, a steel-hulled schooner; Schooner Challenge; and the brigantine Fair Jeanne, with cruises and dockside tours available.
   Entertainment includes a Beatles’ tribute band, Juno winner Jack de Keyzer, a midway, pony rides from Farmtown Canada, beer tent and food vendors.
   Members of the King’s Company and the Royal Scots will be camped outside the Port Stanley Legion, with skirmishes taking place at Little Beach at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 27.


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca


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