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Rain, Rain, Rain. Go away! Spring brought Ontario flooding, the wetness continued into Jun, a very wet month, not one 24-hour period without rain. The Pre-event and Boat Show organizers were a bit on edge with a schedule of 5 straight days of boating and outside activities coming for the boat show week July 5-9th.
The week starts off with a dinner meet and greet on Tuesday with the folks who came early to go boating and see a bit of all the lakes here in the Muskoka area. We started the boating in the beautiful Lake of Bays. On Wednesday morning, approximately a 50-minute drive from the show site we splashed in at the east end of the lake in the town of Dorset. We immediately had a stop for coffee, a treat and a tour of the Bigwin steam ship. The ship was originally launched in 1910. She had a fire and was left for 15years (1925) at which time she was repaired and brought to Lake of Bays as a Taxi to the Bigwin resort on Bigwin Island for the next 45 years. Today she is a cruise ship power by Elco’s electric drive.

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From here we were invited to see a friend of the ACBS Graham Ferguson. Graham has a boathouse full of great boats and a few artifacts that are great to see. Heather Belle is also a former steam ship converted to electric drive. A very pretty day cruiser. He also had a boat in her 100th year, a 1917 Minett name Marie. From here we were off to lunch at Port Cunnington, but not too fast as we cross the lake to see the historic Bigwin resort, many of the original buildings are gone but the essence of the past is reflected in the new structures.
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We had a great time, sharing stories at Port Cunnington and the spread they put on was fantastic. After lunch, many headed to Baysville the town on the south end of the lake. There they found some shops and the lake of Bays brewery, after a few samples the boats headed back up the lake to load up and head to Gravenhurst for the next day’s adventure up lake Muskoka to Lake Joseph.
With the sun still shining on Thursday we had an early start to head way up Lake Joe to another friend of the ACBS Jeff Reid. Jeff has a beautiful property tucked in a little bay. Jeff has many boats to admire and we were also treated to the lovely gardens which the family enjoys as much as the boats. Jeff has a boat turning 100 next year - Hope II is a Ditchburn from 1918. Silver King is also a Ditchburn that raced and blew up on the Detroit river. She looks much better today. Jeff also started up Shadow to the delight of onlookers. It has quite a wind up.
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After Jeff’s we cruised to the Lake Joe club to have lunch at the Water’s Edge restaurant. More chatting and eating. It was time to head home down the lake through the lock in Port Carling and back to Gravenhurst about an 80mile trip.
On Thursday evening and those rain showers are threating the Friday poker run. Thunderstorms really make it impossible, emails were sent out and options were given but this was all for not as the event started off with some cloud and cool air that soon moved on and the sun came out again. The poker run had 5 stops ending in another boathouse this one also had many fantastic boats and has been on the run 3years in a row thanks to Murray for his generosity.
The winner of the Poker run was Ray Wilson riding in Sandsu a Breen boat. Ray came up with a Flush. The runner up was John Henwood with 3 queens. John was in his boat an Alsberg. It’s a speedy little rocket.
With all the prevents done a big storm came through Friday night knocking out the power to many areas around the show site. This made it impossible for some boats to get to the show as they were stuck on lifts. The days started off cool and cloudy but quickly cleared up. This year’s show celebrating 150 years of Canada Themed Birch bark to Fiberglass was a big effort. The Boat show committee took it upon themselves to make many changes to make things different and more exciting. We moved all the show to one side of the street and made it Free to name a few.
We had a full agenda and free boat rides to Boot. 300 rides with a huge array of boats. Also, the crowds enjoyed new boats never seen at the show - Heldena III , BB, Eulipion , Pink Hour and Tumbling Dice to name a few.
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From my vantage point we had a great show once again with lots of positive feedback, the efforts of all the volunteers and organizers should be very happy and proud of the efforts made to preserve the heritage and legacy of these floating works of art and history.
The celebration was capped off with a Sunday Brunch at the historic Windemere House on Lake Rosseau. To our surprise we could boat to the event we got a sprinkle of rain but not a worry was had. How we managed to get away with all those days without a rainy day is beyond me we all must be blessed.

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 It’s March and winter never seems to leave. This year especially, we had some nice weather in February and the groundhog said it was to be an early spring. Then old man winter got the giggles and brought back the cold and the snow. 

There is a special place to go in March to get away from such madness. For 30 years Sunnyland Chapter and the folks in the Lake district of Florida have been putting on a huge event. It seems to be a combination of several factors all working together that are not likely to be duplicated. It’s the first show of the year and its held in a place that’s warm or, hot. There are a bunch of snowbirds living in the area that have a passion for classic boats and it’s a great community

 of people willing to jump in and volunteer. They also get a lot of support from the city of Tavares. It therefore attracts folks from all over the U.S. and Canada. It is so popular it’s sold out. Many of the locals, well most, except for maybe 3 boats, leave them at home so we all have a chance to come.
The event actually starts a week before the show. Many arrive on the Saturday before the show to launch their boats in the St Johns river. We arrive in Jacksonville and put our boats in at the Florida Yacht club. Guy and Laurie have been members there and use that as base camp. Sunday is a test day to make sure your sleepy boat is in good working order as we travel over 100 miles in 4 days down the St John’s to Sanford. The sights


boatshowdockfood and comradery make for a memorable trip. Some have done the trip all 30 times and Guy has put on the trip himself for 20 years. That’s a dedicated group.By the end of the trip its Thursday, we pull out and head straight to Tavares and put the boats back in the water, on Lake Dora. The show is setting up and will be in full swing Friday morning. The boating is not over, this is not a drag our boat 1600 miles and look at it at the dock event. Friday Gerrald Dake heads a large flotilla as we go for a boat ride through the very cool Dora canal. The same canal that the filming of the African queen was located so you know it’s very junglely looking. Once you pass through the Dora canal you’re on to Lake Eustis for a short bit then onto the Dead river which leads to Lake Harris where you find Hickory Point park – our destination for a yummy picnic lunch complete with pulled pork, BBQ chicken and live music.Saturday brings a normal boat show atmosphere. However, since we are here for 3 days we have time to take in a seminar in the Tavares city hall and its air conditioning. Yes, it’s time for a break from the sun but who’s complaining. Seminar’s go on all day so pick one that is of interest then after go sit on a patio and have lunch or a refreshment and relax with your friends. Sunday the last day of the show - it’s all gone by so fast and now ma

ny are ready to load up - by noon the haul out of 120 in water boats that are all trailered in goes very smooth - my boat is always better on the trailer for the ride home then the ride down.
Wait - if you’re not ready to head home Gerald is off to the St johns River for a north bound cruise -yup another 5 days of boating with friends. Maybe next time for us.
Thanks to all those Sunnyland members who tirelessly put on a show for all ACBS members around the country. Terry Feist has been the show chair for 20 years and was honored by Hagerty at this year’s event. It’s been another great start to the boating season thanks to Sunnyland.

Cheers
Chris 

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 An Important note in Photo 3( above). This is Jeffery Breen in his first boat build. He took home most outstanding contemporary boat at the show Congradulations to him.  

For more photos see our facebook page  

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