MLA Antique Boat Show celebrates 125 years with many of Muskoka’s finest

A perennial family favourite is the MLA’s Antique Boat Show in Port Carling, which just happens to be this weekend. We have posters dating back to 1986 because it is birthday weekend in our cottage and it’s a birthday weekend activity for the whole family. Our MLA Antique Boat Show posters are part of our family history.

Here are the deets:


When? Saturday August 11, 2018, 10AM – 4PM

Where? Port Carling locks & James Bartleman Island

Price? Admission is free!

Mark August 11, 2018 in your calendar as the date of the MLA bi-annual Antique Boat Show in Port Carling.  This year’s theme will be “Celebrating 125 years” featuring many of Muskoka’s oldest surviving boats, many more than 100 years old.  Muskoka’s antique and classic boats are a unique treasure in the world and draw the attention of the most informed collectors.

This summer they will celebrate the stories of some of these remarkable boats.  They expect more than 70 boats to be on display and their proud custodian’s to be available to answer your questions about their history in Muskoka.

The first boats in Muskoka were rowing skiffs, sail boats and steam powered boats beginning in the 1860’s.  Canoes, rowboats and sail boats were built in Muskoka but the most of the steam powered boats came from southern Ontario and New York State.  Larger Muskoka built boats burst on the scene in the early nineteen hundreds with the advent of gasoline engines.

This year’s poster boat is from the in between years.  The Heather Belle was built in 1902 by the Marine Engine and Machine Co of Harrison New Jersey.  It was powered by a naphtha engine which was designed much like a steam engine but instead of boiling water it operated by boiling naphtha.  As frightening as this sounds it operated at lower temperatures and pressures than steam and did not require a licensed steam engineer to operate it.  The Naphtha also acted as a lubricant so required less attention while under way.  The Heather Belle was repowered with a gasoline engine and was operated for many years by George Thorel of Thorel House near Morinus on Lake Rosseau.

antique boat poster

antique boat poster 2

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