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River Memories

On the first of each month, Ian Coristine sends to all TI Life subscribers, a link to his website to pick up one of Ian’s famous photographs to use as a Wallpaper image. This month's photograph was his all-time favorite. As he explains on his site “For this month I’ll share with you a scene I was thrilled to capture, likely the most historically relevant image I’ll ever shoot on the River. As always, I’ll look forward to the stories you might share about it .”

Photo by Ian Coristine ©

1000 Islands Photo Art April 2010 Wallpaper photograph by Ian Coristine.

Photo by Ian Coristine ©

One of Ian’s answers was sent by Paul Riley, now living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ian sent it along to TI Life saying, “Paul, What you're telling me in these notes would make an outstanding story for TI Life. That format would also allow you to share photos, where mine won't.”

Ti Life is pleased to share Paul’s memories… Enjoy: River Memories.


Re: April's Wallpaper,

Some things in the photo don't line up the way my memory says they should, but then perspective, and memory are fickle things, so I'm going to say that is the "Fair Jeanne" heading towards the entrance to the" Lost Channel."

You are looking over the bottom of Benson's Rift, and the first gap there is between Rabbit Island and Trois Isle., where the old Benson Boat House used to be. The second gap, just behind and to the right and only partly showing, is what we called "Hell's Gate" swinging around the top of "Constance Island" and heading into the "Lost Channel. The little Island almost centre stage and making up the left side of "Hell's Gate" has a dock there now, you can see the beginnings of the dock under the trees on the right hand side of it. The “Fair Jeanne” will proceed down river behind that Island and between Constance and Duck Island then Constance  and Georgina.

If I'm wrong, the “Fair Jeanne” may never be seen again, or worse , she may be the St. Lawrence ll, which would increase the mystery factor.

You have managed to hide almost all signs of civilization. Its interesting how memory works, it’s the currents, a little metal post off in the distance on Georgina , the beginnings of that dock at Hells Gate, stuff like that, triggers it. If I'm wrong then it's amazing how the mind can arrange things to support its conclusion.

Whether right or wrong, I captained the old Snider 1000 Islands tour boats through this area from 1978 to 1980, then bought the Miss Brockville lV and ran her as the "Island Heritage " from 1980 to 1998.   In the early days we ran three boats from the old Mount Airy Hotel in Ivy Lea. the Miss Brockville lV at forty feet, the Miss Brockville Vlll, at 52 feet, and the Miss Brockville Vll at 65 feet. The Sniders, Charlie and Everett, had sold the boats to John Taylor in 1977 or 1978. All the boats were great old Canadian tour boats, the Brockville lV the oldest, originally a "Kiddo" built by the George Cranker in Ivy Lea in 1929. The pride of the fleet though had to be the Brockville Vll, built in 1952, at 65 feet with a fifteen foot beam, with twin Cat D 333's, she held 130 people, and we took her everywhere, including Smuggler's Cove by Virgin Island and down Benson's rift swinging around the foot of Trois Isle and up through "Hell's Gate" and into the Lost Channel".  I believe we were the last of the Canadian Tour Boats to regularly run this route. Mike and Gene Snider ,  of The Paul Boatline out of "A" Bay, no relation to the Canadian Sniders, occasionally ran the Paul, Paul lll and Spray Vl over to the Canadian Islands and would head down Benson's Rift and then continue on out to the Canadian Channel, but that was about it. That was back in the days when the American boat lines billed their tours across the border as "The Canadian Wilderness Tours"!

Running boats that size through these channels was an adventure. Throughout the summers of 1978 to 1980 there were a bunch of young kids, teenagers, spending their summers on Duck Island. They had a great time harassing the tour boats, water skiing up Benson's Rift just before we'd head down, going close by us and spraying our passengers. One time a  skier actually came alongside and got onto the boat and then dove off. Not very funny at the time, and quite dangerous, but thanks guys, makes for great memories! I used to think they should have lived on Brat Island, which is close by!

We used to continue on down the side of Hill Island and come out onto the Canadian Channel between Nine Pine and Reveille Island. Just at the turn there, there was a house on Hill Island. I believe it once belonged to the Wiser family, of whiskey fame. Well, there was a bedroom window that opened out onto the boat house roof, and their kids would wait for us to come along , then scramble out onto the roof and wait for me to get on the loud speaker - “One, Two, Three,  - jump!” , and off they'd go into the river. This became a daily ritual pretty well, and lasted for several summers.

So many memories, the Labor Day "Punch" served up at Boldt Castle when the concession was contracted out to the same fellow every year, can't remember his name. Well that punch was liberally spiked and if you did a few runs to the Castle you were feeling pretty good by the last one, and the tales told, Charlie Snider carrying a flask in his back pocket, which he would have needed coming up to "A" Bay in the summer of 1956 when hurricane Hazel hit and blew the windows right out of the boat!, or Everett running aground at the foot of Mary Island in the Brockville Vll while bringing her over to the yacht house for winter storage, we used to keep the boats there, and Everett running in a panic all the way from the foot of Mary to the Boldt Yacht House to get help from Charlie.
I remember Peter Johnson holding the wheel of the "Ida M" in his hands and shrugging while the" IDA M " lazily spun in circles off of Senator Island. The wheel was no longer connected to the boat!

The Snider Tour boats were wonderful one off creations. The Miss Brockville lV , if one looked closely, had lines that weren't exactly true on either side, a little more tumblehome on the port side at the stern than on the starboard.

The boat had been rebuilt in 1959,  resurrected really, from the remains of an old "Kiddo". She was lengthened by ten feet, and widened with four new planks rising above the original gunnels. This would have been done in Brockville, where, I heard, the Sniders had a boat building shed right down in Tunnel Bay, with a marine rail ramp to haul the boats in and out.

In 1993 , Alex Mitchell and I went at her and brought the hull down to bare wood, and there was the original boat, the old hull being B.C. red cedar, the new white cedar from the east. The shadow of the original boat was revealed, a ghostlike appearance from the past. It sent shivers down your spine to see it, and was quite exciting really.

The hardware on board was scavenged from anywhere - other boats, vehicles and so on. One day a passenger was checking out the engine room vents, nice louvered bronze like pieces, and said to me, " you know, those are from a ‘Greavette’ a classic boat  from Gravenhurst, Ontario.” The wheel on the other hand came from a 1920's Dodge truck.The centre insert, where the horn would have been, was a beautiful old art deco-like Dodge Ram. The Snider's ran a moving company in Brockville, as well as their tour boats, and its my guess the wheel on Miss Brockville lV steered a Snider Moving Van around the city streets of Brockville for many years before guiding folks around the Thousand Islands.

The Miss Brockville lV was a trouble free boat. A straight inboard, no "V" drive like the two bigger boats, and with mechanical steering, from that Dodge steering gear, connected to a rod that went thirty odd feet back to the rudder arm, she was pretty well fool proof, unlike the hydraulic systems on the bigger boats, which on occasion left one with no steering.

The Brockville lV was Everett's Boat and much like Everett himself from what I heard of him, I only met him once or twice, quiet and dependable.

The Miss Brockville Vll and Vll both had open bows with seats for the more adventurous passengers. You had to go down a couple of steps and through a small hatch in the forward bulkhead, right by where the Captain sat, then up a couple of steps and out to the bow. The Captain could close the hatch.

You may be able to imagine the great fun ensuing when the passengers outside were getting soaked from the spray on rough and windy days, a highlight for everyone on board!

And the jokes we inherited, passed on down for Lord knows how many years! When passing across the foot of Mary Island towards Zavikon, "If you look over the side you can see the international border on the bottom of the river. The coast guard paints it on the ice in the wintertime, it’s a special red lead paint, and when the ice melts in the spring it sinks to the bottom." Invariably someone would perk up , " Oh yeah, I see it" , and we'd wind up, "Oh, about that border, they say the fishing's great here, and they are right, we catch a boatload of suckers every time we tell that!" -or- about Sunken Rock Light House," the coast guard rents it out to newly wed couples in the summer so the new bride can get some light house keeping experience!" - or about the little island with the tiny house by Boldt Castle called "Just Big Enough" -  " George built that for his mother in law, he'd take her over in the spring and pick her up in the fall!"

Good grief they were bad jokes, but they must have had something, cause they always got a laugh and were probably told for 70 years or so, and probably still are.
Something to be said for a live commentary.

Those times somehow seemed more innocent, certainly the river and the border were much more open, virtually non existent really. When I started working the boats they came equipped with a long pole with a clothes peg on the end. It took a while before I found out what they were used for. They were  used for reporting back into Canada Customs. We had to fill out customs reports, in triplicate , Form "9ITN" I recall, but instead of coming in to dock, the customs officer would come out to the end of the dock and out would come the pole with the 9ITN's held by the clothes peg and the officer would grab them as the boat cruised by. There we go, the bureaucrats were placated and we could get on with our day.

Different mindset back then, somehow I don't think we'd get very far with that proposal today.

I worked with these wonderful old boats for 20 years, 1978 to 1998. Most of those years as owner operator of Heritage Boat Tours, with the Island Heritage, and later the lovely little Quebec import, the Alouette. During that time I figure we carried hundreds of thousands of people. Many requests over the years, "Can we get a picture with the Captain? "I'm sure we are in many photo albums around the world, stuffed away in storage lockers and on book shelves, brought out once in a while for a trip down memory lane to that Paradise called the Thousand Islands.

What happened to the boats? Those poor old girls are completely dependant on fate and the whims of human enterprise. I've heard the Miss Brockville Vlll ended up on the St. Lawrence near Montreal and has been all fixed up and is doing well. I last saw the Miss Brockville lV, now Island Heritage, down in Prescott for winter storage, looking very much the worse for wear. Tourism suffered a lot in the Islands what with 911 and the tightening of security, and a wooden boat is an expensive proposition, they are very much high maintenance ladies.

Sad to say the pride of the fleet, the Brockville Vll was hustled across the border many years ago to evade something or other and has ended up lying in Bonnie Castle Yacht Basin with a broken back. Those big Cat D 333's weren't given enough support when she was blocked up and that I'm afraid did her in. She will never see the water again, barring some obsessed, very wealthy wooden boat lover deciding to resurrect her.

You never know!

By Paul Reilly

Paul Reilly grew up in Montreal and discovered the Thousand Islands in 1976 while, as he says, “driving the Parkway to Queen's University”. A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, majoring in Philosophy and Theology, Paul goes on to say, “he of course, found his spiritual centre not in graduate school but in the 1000 Islands and spent the next twenty odd years living and working on the River”. He now lives with his wife Elizabeth in North Vancouver, B.C., but comes back to the Islands every couple of years to once again "rat around" the mighty St. Lawrence.

Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Brian Johnson
Comment by: Brian Johnson ( )
Left at: 8:51 PM Friday, April 16, 2010
Hi Paul,
Great article and also brought back many memories for me, too!!
I well remember the Snider brothers and their spotless fleet back in the early days of the 70's when I 'skippered' the Miss Rockport II for Rockport Boat Line. Lots of fun!!
Later with Gananoque Boat Line, too!
And, yes, I do remember you, yourself, piloting through the maze of islands back 'in the day'!
I still do... now and then...

brian johnson
Dennis Balchius
Comment by: Dennis Balchius ( )
Left at: 1:59 PM Saturday, April 17, 2010
Enjoyed quite a few trips with your boatline. Stayed at Mount Airy Inn. $7.50 per day with meals. Around 1955-1960 ish? Did the thing of handing items on and off your boat while waterskiing. Once was handed beers, but have no idea how the passenger had them on your boat. Great memories.
Thank you. Denn
Peter Glazier
Comment by: Peter Glazier ( )
Left at: 10:31 AM Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The VII is no longer around.I used to check up on her every so often over at the Bay.I enquired about her fate last spring and was told they took her apart with a backhoe.
Fond memories of sitting on Sniders docks on warm summer mornings listening to the engines warm up.
Paul Reilly
Comment by: Paul Reilly ( )
Left at: 1:52 PM Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Very sad to hear that about Brockville Vll, but it doesn't surprise me.
Nothing like the sound of those big diesels rumbling away was there?
Peter Glazier
Comment by: Peter Glazier ( )
Left at: 8:37 PM Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sad indeed.There was another boat that I heard was destroyed by fire.It was operated by Pilgrim Tours and dry stored near Route 12.I think it was the largest in the area back in the day.It must have had a beam of 20'!!
Ted Bradford
Comment by: Ted Bradford ( )
Left at: 4:32 PM Monday, May 3, 2010
A wonderful article Paul, great memories!!! Years and years ago, I spent many a summer underneath the Canadian span on Constance Island and will never forget one evening as the sun was going down, as I putted along in the main Canadian channel, seeing 'ol number VI heading up along the north shore toward Ivy Lea with no passengers and "flat out" in a wide open plane. She was completely on top of the water. I couldn't believe my eyes. I think it's safe to assume there were no passengers on board at that time of the day. I hope to see her plying the waters again this summer.
Peter Glazier
Comment by: Peter Glazier ( )
Left at: 9:21 AM Saturday, May 8, 2010
Another nice sound was from large wooden cruisers of the day - the Romico, the Caritas, and the Ned B Henderson,[USBP] any of those names ring a bell for people on the Brockville side??
Ed Burns
Comment by: Ed Burns ( )
Left at: 6:58 PM Monday, June 21, 2010
..Great article indeed. I just came across an old picture of "The Island Wanderer" that was part of the Snider Fleet. Anyone remember the year it was built?
Chris MacNaughton
Comment by: Chris MacNaughton ( )
Left at: 9:46 AM Friday, June 25, 2010
The Romico belonged to Maj. Gen. Brownfield and his wife. She was one of the Comstock daughters. The Romico was HER baby.

Mrs. Brownfield would take guests out on Romico for dinner and a cruise on the River. In those days one 'dressed' for dinner. Although the captain employed by the Brownfields would take Romico out to the River from the Engine Works dock, at the conclusion of the evening one could plainly see Mrs. Brownfield, in her dinner dress, at the helm nursing Romico into its spot on the dock.
Audrey Wargo
Comment by: Audrey Wargo ( )
Left at: 1:52 PM Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Thank you for the wonderful article. My family owns that little island, center stage of the photo. In the 50+ years that we have been navigating those waters, we never knew the passage where we have our dock was called "Hell's Gate", although trying to dock our flat bottom, steel hull houseboat with the swift current all those years WAS hellish! Thank you for so much information and all the memories!
Fred Piehl
Comment by: Fred Piehl ( )
Left at: 8:40 PM Sunday, September 26, 2010
It is so interesting to read about the Sniders and their boats. I purchased a boat from Captain Snider in the early 80s. It's a 35 foot runabout built by the Hutchinson Boat Works and came with the name "Miss Brockville VI". It is powered by a 331 cu in Chrysler hemi which apparently the Sniders had installed in the 50's. The boat gives an exceptionally smooth ride on the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee which can get choppy and rough at times. I would love to learn more about the boats of the Snider brothers and the history of Miss Brockville VI in particular.
Paul Reilly
Comment by: Paul Reilly ( )
Left at: 2:15 AM Monday, September 27, 2010
Fred, I remember the Brockville vi. I think the Sniders held on to her for a few years after they sold the business at the Mount Airy. She was for sale at that auction they had at their old warehouse on Pine Street . Right? Her hull was painted a lime green colour , very distinctive.
Sorry I can't give more information on her history than what you supplied.
Great to know she found a good home though!
Mrs. M. Dudley
Comment by: Mrs. M. Dudley ( )
Left at: 1:08 AM Saturday, October 16, 2010
I am a descendant of Benjamin Kirker, Kirker Point, Rockport, Ont. CA. My father was a school teacher and we spent all summer, every summer on the River. It was a tradition in our family to run out to McLaughlin Point and wave to the beautiful old tour boats as they toured the great St. Lawrence. I well remember many of them and the Captains that would blow their hornin greeting back at us. Back in the 1950's we all enjoyed simple pleasures and appreciated the awsome, mighty River in it's natural, rustic, beauty. We could swim off the dock until, like clockwork, at 5:00 o'clock Miss Kingston would come by, then it was time for supper. Wonder where she is now.
Peter Freitag
Comment by: Peter Freitag ( )
Left at: 10:22 PM Thursday, February 10, 2011
About 15 years ago, I spent a day on the St. Lawrence River with friends who boated there often. We did this once or twice a summer and I have fond memories of the times we spent there, before I left Northern New York. On this particular day, I remember seeing a boat named the Alouette and was dumbfounded. Could this have been the same small tour boat on which I had ridden as a child, summer after summer, when my family and I vacationed in Ste. Agathe des Monts in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec? Each year, the trip around the Lac des Sables was a highlight for me. I listened carefully as the guide explained in both French and English what we were passing, the hotels and lodges and houses owned by prominent people from Montreal. Thank you for letting me know that the boat I saw in the 1990s was the same as the one I remembered so happily from my youth. Perhaps one day I'll return to the North Country and get the chance to sail on her again.
Lawrence Edgley
Comment by: Lawrence Edgley ( )
Left at: 2:31 PM Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Paul enjoyed reading the comments and pictures of the Snider tour boats.I was very interested in the Picture of the Miss Brockville VII captained by Charlie Snider.I had the opportunity to captain this vessel part time under the name Miss Ivey Lee II from Mount Airy.This boat was built in the 50s by Clifford Hunt who also built the Miss Rockport II and also designed and over saw construction of the Pilgrim V in Alexandria Bay N.Y. Miss Gananoque of the GBL line. Charlie's brother Everett Snider was captain of the Miss Brockville V built by Ed Andress in Rockport.
jeffrey goodhue
Comment by: jeffrey goodhue ( )
Left at: 2:03 PM Friday, February 24, 2012
my father ray kirker goodhue-kirkers point was named after his great grand parents-i as a young boy in the fifties was a mate on the miss rockport-what fun it was.i remember all the sightseeing boats out of the bay-and the double deckers out of kingston
jeffrey goodhue
Comment by: jeffrey goodhue ( )
Left at: 4:15 PM Friday, February 24, 2012
kirkers point was from my father-raymond kirker goodhue great grand parents-when i was a kid in the fifies summering on kirkers point i was a mate on the miss rockport and what fun it was
Lawrence Edgley
Comment by: Lawrence Edgley ( )
Left at: 11:19 PM Monday, February 27, 2012
Jeffrey do you remember who the Captains were at that time? I was deckhand on the Miss Rockport and the Miss Rockport II in the early to mid fifties with Capt. Tom Massey - Capt. Oliver Kahnt - Capt. Tom Edgley - Capt. George Houck. Was a very rewarding time of my life.
Comment by: Amber ( )
Left at: 8:57 PM Thursday, March 29, 2012
Lawrence, George Houck was my Great Grandfather. His daughter Connie was my Mom's Mom. Any info or pictures you have from that time you could share? I've been researching my family history and it would be greatly appreciated!
Bob Langmuir
Comment by: Bob Langmuir ( )
Left at: 2:09 PM Monday, April 2, 2012
Wilemina Heneritta Brownfield was my great aunt. I never met my great uncle, he died before I was born (1960). The "Romico" was named after The RO yal MI litary CO llege in Kingston. We used to take the Romico out every Sunday after church. Later on, before my great aunt passed away, the boat was captained by Glen Easton, son of Boo Easton. Truly a majestic boat. 45' 9" in length and power by (2) Chrysler marine engines, and I believe they were gas not diesel. I think the ROMICO ended up in St. Catherines, Ont...
Bob Langmuir
Comment by: Bob Langmuir ( )
Left at: 3:20 PM Monday, April 2, 2012
Wilemina Heneritta Brownfield was my great aunt. I never met my great uncle, he died before I was born (1960). The "Romico" was named after The RO yal MI litary CO llege in Kingston. We used to take the Romico out every Sunday after church. Later on, before my great aunt passed away, the boat was captained by Glen Easton, son of Boo Easton. Truly a majestic boat. 45' 9" in length and power by (2) Chrysler marine engines, and I believe they were gas not diesel. I think the ROMICO ended up in St. Catherines, Ont...
Ed Burns
Comment by: Ed Burns ( )
Left at: 3:47 PM Monday, April 2, 2012
My dad worked for Jack and did some of the maintenance on Romico; I actually got to, very briefly, step aboard one Saturday morning, around 1957 as I trailed behind him at "The St. Lawrence"....Dad did not have his diesel licence so I think your right about the engines.
I always wondered where the name came from; I don't think dad even knew....
Lawrence Edgley
Comment by: Lawrence Edgley ( )
Left at: 7:27 PM Monday, April 16, 2012
Amber, Your great grandparents George and Evelyn Houck were in partnership with George and Edna Fletcher as owner operator of the of the Rockport Boat line,which they started in the early fiftys. Three boats in the fleet Miss Rockport and Miss Rockport II and a small cabin criuser.Running a 1-1/2 hour tour in Canadian and US waters, with stops at Boldt castle. There was a souvenir and lunch counter at the docks, operated by Evelyn and Edna and my mother Dorthy Edgley was the short order cook. George's father Charlie Houck helped tye up the boats when they returned, and rest of the time with his white cap was at the road with folders in hand waving in prospective customers.A great gentleman he was with a nick name POP. The boat line was eventualy sold to Grant Lucy and family who ran it for a number of years, then selling to the present owners. Sorry I haven't any pictures of that time to share. Hope this info is of interest to you.
Comment by: Amber ( )
Left at: 9:48 PM Monday, April 16, 2012
Thanks for taking the time to write back, my Mom and I were just speaking the other day about the snack bar and how she would get sandwiches for George when she would go up for the weekends. That's unfortunate about the photos, though I'm sure one day I'll stumble across some eventually. I have George's fiddle, which my Mom told me he would play for tourists as well, which I am trying to get repaired. Great to hear from you.
Margaret Santon
Comment by: Margaret Santon ( )
Left at: 8:40 PM Saturday, August 4, 2012
Back on June 4th 1959, I was in Gananoque with my Grade 8 class from Scarborough. We were headed for Ottawa and spending the night in a hotel near the docks where we were to board a tour boat that looked just like the ones in your article. About forty of us took the tour and were on the way back when we hit a rock which tore a hole in our boat. We were sinking in the middle of the river. A small runabout came close to us a took a rope from us to pull us into shallow water near an island. Then we all had to go from side to side to keep from rolling over as we waited about half an hour fot another boat to pick us up.
Comment by: annette ( )
Left at: 8:49 PM Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I worked for Wilemina Heneritta Brownfield the year before I left for University.
I will always be indebted to the Langmuir's for their kindness.
Thank you for the very enjoyable read.

Comment by: jim ( )
Left at: 3:47 PM Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Does anyone remember details about the Mount Airy Inn. I stayed there many times with my parents because relatives owned it. I remember them hustling to prepare lunch and dinner for the tour boats as they docked. It was very special to me. Has anyone visted lately?
Dennis Balchius
Comment by: Dennis Balchius ( )
Left at: 11:03 AM Thursday, November 29, 2012
I remember the Mount Airy Inn very well. I kept a small, inboard fishing boat in their boathouse for many summers. I also remember George and Ray in their roles of excellent hosts. Had many refreshing saunas and plunges into the cold river. Our party played poker and fished most of our waking hours. My wife and I fell deeply in Love there. We were married for 17 years and had one semi-perfect son. They were the good old, wonderful days of the early 60's.
john mitchell
Comment by: john mitchell ( )
Left at: 4:15 PM Wednesday, February 20, 2013
hi,to whom it may concern.. i tore down the old snider bros barn in brockville .i have the orginal have written cost of building ledger for miss brockville v11 &theof msbrv111 ser#193083 1954 also lists of passengers costs and their signares.this green hard covered book is for sale. call mitch 613-257-4867 or e-mail
Andrew Neeteson
Comment by: Andrew Neeteson
Left at: 11:54 PM Wednesday, April 3, 2013
You may be interested to know that the Island Heritage (Brockville IV) is still intact on blocks in Iroquois. Its been many years since she's seen service (2008, I think). Built in 1928 in Ivy Lea by Cranker Brothers Boat Building the boat was rebuilt in 1956 and was pert of the Snider's Boat Lines for many years.

Sadly, Heritage Boat Tours came to an end in 2008 when the Boathouse Restaurant property was sold to the competing Rockport Boat Line. Unable to find a suitable new home for the boat, I decided to concentrate on my Brockville operations and the island Heritage ws put on the hard. Five years later, we still get calls from people looking for nostalgic cruises that Paul and I delivered.

I am presenting talking with the folks at the Antique Boat Museum with a view to donating the boat for their soon to come Canadian Facility. Hopefully they will see the value in restoring and preserving this beautiful boat.

Until a deal is complete, I am still open to all offers for this gem of 1000 Islands history.

1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises 613-345-7333
Ted Thonson
Comment by: Ted Thonson ( )
Left at: 4:49 PM Monday, July 8, 2013
A great article about a time and era that is slipping away. I drove for George & Edna from 1959 to 1965, the Miss Rockport 11 was a new boat then, built in Rockport by Clifford Hunt and had two Chrysler Majestic 6 cly. engines when new. I knew the Edgley boys who both drove for George. Tom Massey and his dad Tod, my brother Bruce, Gene Cirtwel.
I also drove for the Gananoque Boatline when they were still running wooden boats. The Lyndia 12 (Percy's boat) was the fastest tour boat on the river. She had two Hemi V8s.
Oh by the way I married a great grand daughter of that old blind fiddler of Fiddlers Elbow.
Eric Pinckney
Comment by: Eric Pinckney ( )
Left at: 7:13 PM Sunday, August 18, 2013
A boat very similar to these types operated on Keuka Lake, NY, in the Finger Lakes for a few years in the early 1980's. To my recollection, it was often mentioned that it was a former TI tour boat. All that I remember is that it was wooden, long, narrow, and went by the name "Keuka Queen."

Additionally, a shorter/smaller "twin" boat sat on blocks on the shoreline and served as a ticket booth for the venture.

Many locals here have often wondered what happened to that boat, let alone its history before she came here.
Ed Burns
Comment by: Ed Burns ( )
Left at: 11:22 AM Tuesday, January 14, 2014
...a question for Ted Thonson ( Amhertsview Ont ), 2 posts up.
Did Gananoque Boat Line pick up passengers in Brockville? I was on the Island Wanderer in 1953 and I can't remember where we started out from.....and did they stop over in Rockport or Ivy Lea..?

Doug Matthew
Comment by: Doug Matthew ( )
Left at: 3:47 PM Sunday, February 9, 2014
To Ed
I was a deckhand for GBL in 1953.We did run/pickup special bus loads from other places- but the normal trips only left Gan and stopped at the Castle.
Ed Burns
Comment by: Ed Burns ( )
Left at: 5:13 PM Monday, February 10, 2014
Hey Doug, thanks for the info. The "Island Wanderer" was, indeed, part of the GBL fleet, ...right?
I have a picture of it that my grandmother took that day, I believe, when we stopped over at Ivy Lea.
Anne Betts
Comment by: Anne Betts ( )
Left at: 4:35 PM Monday, May 19, 2014
I just loved reading this article! My Grandfather was Nathan Cranker and I do have a few pictures of "boats in progress".
Ron Pottinger
Comment by: Ron Pottinger
Left at: 1:09 PM Friday, August 29, 2014
I remember as a child, my Dad, Charlie Pottinger, a long time auto mechanic at Bushfield Motors here in Brockville, getting a phone call on a Sunday morning from Capt. Snider saying: "Charlie! Miss Brockville IV isn't running too good, could you come down and see what you can do with her!"
My Dad would always go down to Snider's boat docks, work on the engine, get her to run like a top, and afterwards, Cap would give Dad three free tickets so Mom, Dad and I could enjoy a cruise of the 1000 Islands. This happened many times over the years. Wonderful times never to be forgotten.
Great people, the Snider's! Ohhhh!........ the good old days!
Lanna Verroche
Comment by: Lanna Verroche
Left at: 11:01 PM Monday, February 29, 2016
My father, Fred owned the ROMICO in the late 70's, it was docked at Niagara on the Lake Marina and we cruised the Niagara river every Sunday for many years. I'm quite sure he bought it from the original owner in Brockville, it was made by Egg Harbour. He sold the boat to someone in St Catharines and it was docked at Port Dalhousie for a long time. It kept the ROMICO name all those years. It was a beautiful boat ! If anyone knows where the boat is, I would love to hear.
Peter Johnston
Comment by: Peter Johnston
Left at: 6:26 PM Thursday, December 29, 2016
Paul, thanks for the memories. I am (I think) the Peter "Johnson" mentioned in the Ida M loss of steering incident. I worked for Rockport Boat Lines Lucy family for a few of seasons beginning in 1974. I don't think it was I who skippered the Ida M in that incident however there were so many memories generated by the times and place I may have forgotten. The work week May to Labour Day was 70 hours over 7 days. One day off every 2 weeks was granted in my second season. Further fogging of the files may have occurred as the daily after work itinerary saw us in an Alex Bay watering hole every night. You mentioned the Paul Boat Line of A. Bay who were dubbed the pop bottle line as a result of Gene or Mike Snider cold caulking a waterskier who had delivered a sprayed water broadside through the open windows of the cruise boat. A babe in arms on board was nearly drowned. The waterskier unwisely made a second pass. The skipper rightly incensed hurled an empty glass Coke bottle at the attacker. Nobody was more surprised than he when it connected fairly upon the thick head of the assailant who was luckily only mildly injured. The skipper was unjustly charged with assault. That summer I composed the song "The Pop Bottle Line" sung to the tune of "The Rock Island Line". It provided a few chuckles on the dock at Boldt Castle.
Brad Smith
Comment by: Brad Smith
Left at: 3:37 PM Saturday, June 17, 2017
A terrific article and wonderful pics that brought back a lot of great memories. I had the pleasure of working for John Taylor and his lovely wife Nat during the summer of 1979, captaining the three tour boats and helping out around the hotel when not on the water. Other skippers that summer included Captain Doug Whittall from Toronto and Captain Phil Sherman from Montreal if memory serves me. A truly "coming of age" experience that I will always remember fondly. Thanks Paul for the article and thanks John Taylor for giving me the opportunity!
Jim Morrison
Comment by: Jim Morrison
Left at: 3:23 PM Monday, August 27, 2018
Captain Paul Riley's article makes a fitting eulogy for the 'Island Heritage' and the Alouette
After he sold the two craft,a number of captains alternated carrying passengers from all parts of the world who came to explore the 100 islands.
After finishing their last working season I had the privilege of seeing them safely delivered from the base in Rockport to winter storage at Iroquois - with a brief layover in Brockville, and on to what was to be the end of their working career.
It is my hope that The Island Heritage will find a home with the Antique Boat Museum ( see Andrew Neeteson comment above). The Alouette would also be a fitting addition there- or as a family excursion craft!
As a boy, I remember enjoying tours with captain Charlie and listening to his colourful, descriptive narratives. Later on, I would often hitch a ride with Captain Paul , and his mate George, to get a lift to the Castle, and then taxi on to A Bay for a day's outing - making sure to catch the last boat home!
They may be resting safe ashore- but their legacy - and the myriad stories,and memories they helped create - will live on.
James Angrove
Comment by: James Angrove
Left at: 9:11 PM Monday, November 5, 2018
I worked for Everett and Charlie in 1969 and 70 when i was 14 and 15. I was the first mate helping little old ladies on and off the boat, serving cokes and chips, handling the ropes and docking at Boldt Castle. First time I got drunk on a day off i ended up sleeping it off in the back of Miss Brockville IV at the dock. In the morning Charlie made fun of me as the side of the boat had some remnants of me hurling through the night. The vodka came from a friends dad's yacht we were drinking on.... to remain nameless. :) The most stressful time is when we broke a fuel line and the diesel ended up in the bilge. The engine quite and we were not sure what it was. Then we smelled the fuel when we opened the floor hatch. Everyone threw their cigs overboard. We had a full load of clients and we were adrift in the Brockville narrows.. fast water. We gafted the Island at Needles Eye and tied off. Miss B V came and took the passengers and me and Charlie road out the night on the boat until morning. It was great working for those guys. Sometimes I got to use the microphone and tell the stories of the Islands to the guests. It was probably part of the inspiration that landed me in the film business for 20 years making ski movies around the world. James Angrove,
Paul Reilly
Comment by: Paul Reilly
Left at: 5:44 PM Wednesday, November 7, 2018
You were not the last or only one to sleep it off in the Brockville 1V.
I can remember finding one of my crew sound asleep, straddling the aisle, head and shoulders on one seat, feet on the other, magically suspended in the middle.
I also remember the Coca Cola cooler on the Brockville V11, a collector's item now. I wonder if it was salvaged when she met her end.
As for diesel fuel, at least it was not gasoline,
We used to have an ongoing discussion about the safety of diesel fuel. The accepted opinion was that you could throw a lit cigarette or match into the fuel tank and it would go out., not igniting the fuel.
Fortunately, or maybe not, no one ever had the courage to actually try it.