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Tuesday Tales from the Archives: Wooden Boats

February 12, 2018


The first wooden boat builders in the Muskoka area were the indigenous people using local materials to construct canoes.

In the autumn of 1865, the first steamship keel was laid near Gravenhurst. By the latter part of the 19th Century, Muskoka became the location of many boat builders.

Miss Canada IV BoathouseAfter the invention of the gasoline engine in the early 1900s, many companies began to make larger and faster watercraft. Many of these boats won races and were recognized world wide.  Today, boats built and restored in Muskoka are highly sought after.

There were twelve major and several smaller boat builders in Muskoka 100 years ago, including: Earl Barnes, Borneman, Clive Brown, Duke Boats, Ditchburn Boats, Greavette Boats, Minett/Minett-Shields, W.J. Johnson, Matheson, Disappearing Propeller Boat Co., Port Carling Boatworks, McNeil-Norris.

Question: How many are in Muskoka today? Answer: 9

  • Brackley Boats
  • Butson Boats
  • Clark Wooden Boats
  • Duke Boats
  • Curtis Hillman
  • Osler Boat Works
  • Stan Hunter
  • Tom Adams Boatbuilder
  • Windsor Boat Works