News from the Archives v06-2
- Created by: Albert Fulton
- Date: 1997-06-01
- Provenance: Collected by various members of the Toronto Island Connections group, scanned by Edward English, OCR by Eric Zhelka, PDF by Eric Light
- Notes: v06-2
Vol 6 No 2 June 1, 1997 One Dollar
The September 1996 contained of 2 trimarans built on Algonquin, Kia by Ray at 29 the early ’60s, and the recent Little Wing by Chris Perd.ue at 8 Nottav:a. the new boating season underway, we shall take a look at another boat bmlt on Algonqum. “Frank’s Folly” was created by Frank Lawton in his backyard at 18 From Canadian Weekly, June 20, 1964, by Alan Edmonds, who lived nearby at 12 Omaha:
• ‘ • j
sophy. He says: “When I began to
build I felt strongly that there had
to be something more to life than
just living, working, raising kids
getting involved in the same sort
of perpetual motion as everyone else.
Somehow it seemed that today no
man is completely free-of depen
dence on others or debt, or to do
a job from start to finish and feel
proud of your skill.
“But there’s something about a
sailboat that is entirely free. You
can come and go as you and
depend only on the elements. That
boat is something that’s entirely
mine. It’s paid for. I built it pretty
well by myself, though Jriends
helped some, and in it I can go any
where and do anything I fancy.”
• The ocean-going sailing boat The nearly completed boat, a ketch, Frank Lawton has spent five years loomed six feet from lawton’s back building in his backyard is almost door until April, when he sold the a Made of it is 42 feet house, launched the hull and set long, with a 14-ft. beam, and dis- about finishing it afloat.
placement of 22 tons. It was built As yet, the boat has no name, so he. his wife and three children though Lawton suspects his 15- could leave Canada behind and sail year-old daughter Christine has away into the sunset. already dubbed it “Father’s Folly.”
Yet Frank lawton has never He knows neighbors-carrlf”Frank’s skippered anything than Folly,” and his wife Freddie (Wini a 14·ft. sailing dinghy, says he fred), who has taken a course in couldn’t “from one side navigation and complains about of a big puddle to the “playing second fiddle to a boat. and admits that if he’d known what has christened it “Ironsides.” he was in for, when he laid the But for the five years
he would never have begun. Lawton has been gazing upon the Lawton, a chunky, 15-ft. high hull in which he sees man of who earns $150 a week the realization of a dream of free. as an engraver, built the boat while dom-Hand a nightmare when I living on Algonquin island, one of think it won’t be completed for
the Toronto islands which house another two years.” a community of about 1,000 and In a sense, the boat is an expres which landlock Toronto harbor. sion of lawton’s philo
Though the keel of Lawton’s philosophy was not laid until June 14, 1959, he began 18 months earlier by buying for the plans of marine architect AI Gamble. Also an islander, he had designed the ketch for himself, but found he couldn’t proceed with it.
Then lawton built a $700 shed as a backyard shipyard. It was 46 feet long and 18 feet wide and a third of its walls were of glass
thousands of old photographic each 14 inches by 17 inches with the emulsion carefully washed off. then laminated like the shelf
of an armadillo to make windows. For three months lawton’ took lessons from friend Frank Powlis, a welder and sheet metalworker, who helped in the early stages of construction. lawton had decided to weld the hull, partly because a welded skin is. smoother and partly because “it was cheaper – if I
ALGONQUIN ISLAND ARCHIVES c/o Albert Fulton 5 Ojibway Ave Algonquin Island M5J 2C9 203-0921 or 537-5006
goofed I could always weld the metal up together again.”
The keel is an 18·ft. U· beam of half-inch steel. For 12 months, after it was laid in June, 1959, lawton-sometimes helped by Powlis-cut and then welded to the keel 24 angle iron ribs of quarter
inch steel. By the summer of 1960 he was ready to- weld in position the steel plates which form the hull. Each 4-ft. by 8-ft. plate· weighed 360 pounds. Hefting them in place and welding took another” year.
By the summer of 1961 he had begun to grind and sand the hull plates smooth. The grinder weighed 15 pounds and had to be hefted manually. sometimes above the head. The sander weighed the same. lawton had helpers for part of this job-among them civil servant John Brody, a fellow who caught the bug and is now build ing a boat, somewhat smaller, in his own backyard. /8 1)(J;.,~
The grinding and sanding was at first thought to be a year-long job. “It cost me a lot of friends, too,” says Lawton. “People stopped visiting us for fear I’d ask them to help. It ground me down, too. By the time I was half finished, just before Christmas, 1961. I had a·
breakdown and had to stay off work for three months.
“The boat had become an obses
sion. to think I’d bitten off more than I could chew. I’d been doing my job, putting in another four hours a day on the boat and working 10 to 15 hours a on it at weekends. It was boat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. My wife fed up with it. At that point if someone had come along and offered me $10 for the hull as it I’d have sold out and offered to pay the cartage.”
In February of 1962 lawton was back at work – at his job and on the boat. last summer the grind ing and sanding was finished; by last Christmas the superstructure, including a wheelhouse not on the original plans, had been completed. This year Lawton is working on the interior, putting in bulkheads, stressing the outer skin of the hull and putting in plumbing and wiring.
By next summer he will have finished the salon, three sleeping cabins with two berths apiece, two heads (washrooms) and a galley. Then the diesel engine
$1,500, which will give the boat a cruising speed of 9 knots mph) and a range of 600 miles, will be installed in the dreambo-at.
And in the spring of 1966 Frank lawton’s philosophy will at last set sail in the placid waters of Toronto harbor. It will be worth between $20,000 and $30,000 and will have cost Lawton a little more
than $8,000, fully rigged.
Says lawton: “When she moves off under sail I think I shall feel as though the world were lifted oH my shoulders – and a little lost as well, as though there’s something missing; that I don’t have a chal
to face any more.
“I built that boat for reasons which may sound pretentiOUS. But I also built it out of sheer ance. If J’d had the faintest idea of what I was letting myself in for of the problems that would be around every corner for every for seven years-I’d never have started on the great enterprise.
“I’d never again build a boat in my own garden. It’s too close to the house and the chores. U’s diffi cult, holding a welder’s torch in· one hand and a diaper in the other.”
The Lawtons will not now sail off into the sunset and leave it all behinci. Lawton: “At the start I felt, as everyone feels at sometime, as though I’d been short
changed in life.
“But “ve changed since then, and I know you can’t run away from anything. So now-well, we’ll live on the boat in summer, cruise around the lake at weekends and maybe if I can get time off we’ll sail to the Bahamas.
“But it’ll be nice to know we can just up anchor any time we want.” 0
From Len Barnett, as told to the Archives’ tape recorder:
The Iceoi was the largest steel boat ever built on these Islands. She was created by my friend Frank ‘-‘U’~
THE FIXED LINK by Kathleen
from the April of
passenger vessel industry in Toronto approximately 30 vessels with a passenger capacity exceeding persons. In an operating season more than a third of a million passengers are carried on charters which typically last four hours and include scenic tours of skyline, Ontario Place and and lagoons. It is a ten million dollar industry, not to of dollars brought to area retailers, restaurant owners and parking lot by the passengers. As an approximately 450
Nautical Adventures has Canada’s ship, the Empire which carries 275 passengers, and also a charter the 92 foot Wayward which carries 325 passengers, for more than 15 years in Toronto Harbour. We oppose any kind of fIXed link that will interfere with the safe and efficient passage of any vessel through the Western We object completely to the to commercial traffic as this would have a serious negative us from carrying on business as we have in the past. We believe that
expansion of the airport should not come at the expense of our industry. The services 200,000 passengers per year, less than two the number the charter boats carry in a season.
On an ordinary Friday when all 30 vessels have evening charters have to remain open for quite some while all vessels were passing average of once per day with many operating day tours as well as per day. We use the Western exclusively, as our clients prefer in the eastern end of the harbour. ..
Kathleen is of Nautical Adventures. Her completing another ‘V-“””‘V’JH’~’ conversion similar to the Channel west of drydock, a converted
The channel is about west of markers and is presently and other debris removed, and if you encounter a storm), let us know location and it will be remains high this Bailey bridge used during rl’>,,’nn(:tM cut off that route. dead slow in the Cut, your wake does not more sand. Certain boaters in the lagoon. the shoreline and can …. U.IU””~~ Association and their uV,-,,,”,,;). Please be considerate.
From the Harbour Quarterly, by Ann Beauregard:
the bridge would
vessels transit the gap an
traJllSltmg the gap as many as five times route to the industrial areas
Norm Rogers, is currently Work is proceeding in the Ship
4’deep. Branches, an iron on the bottom (especially Let’s hope that the lake the Algonquin
of your motor and so
observed creating vJi,\_v~~l vessels of the Omaha
With the of the new casino in Niagara Falls, it seems the is fmally ripe to re-establish a ferry link between we haven’t had since the old last run in the late 1950s. A few years ago
were v.ru.JUlUl\JU when a company began advertising the of a hydrofoil service, but safety concerns about the viability on the waters of Lake Ontario soon killed that idea. Bill Jackman, corporate the Port VIV.ULV, says that the city has always kept a berth at the foot of Yonge S1. for someone who carne along with the vessel. The latest entrepreneur to deal Egyptian-born Capt. Ihab Shaker of Shaker
Cruise he found the [35-year-old Capt. Shaker was of the harbour cruise ship Empress of Canada for 7 years.] Built in 1986 to handle the waters of the Atlantic the Marine Courier was purchased by the Newfoundland government at a cost of $7.5 million. It operated out of S1. John’s as a ferry serving remote coastal communities …
Renamed Lake Runner, the ship made its first scheduled crossing on May 5. The Monday to Friday commuter departs Port Dalhousie at 6:45 am and Toronto at 5:15 pm. fare is $12.50 one-way and $25 return, plus Various sightseeing on both sides of the are scheduled. The ship carries up to 300 passengers and provides food and beverage service. A complete June IS Archives. more information, call Shaker at 364-
Vanessa Alexander deposited a copy her pungent 4-page observation on the confrontation between transportation minister Al Palladini and the Islanders aboard the Ongiara on the of January Enid Cridland donated a ticket stub from ‘People’s Ferry Charter Membership’ (Adults $7.50, Students and Children $2.50, good 10 one-way trips). In March 1983 when the Ongiara was dry-docked for repairs, TIRA chartered the 100-passenger Torontonian (an enlarged
of the Shiawassie). Mark Millen and Ford were Claiming it had a monopoly on ferry Metro was not amused. Peter Dean donated a framed photo of a nattily attired group of men, women and children taken at the old picnic pavillion on Centre Island on July 21, 1945. The occasion was the Diamond Jubilee Picnic for the Smith Manufacturing Co Ltd. Do you know anyone who worked for the company who might be in the picture? Bob Kotyk deposited another thick file of his papers pertaining to Island affairs in the early 1990s. Included were copies of 5 Island leases from the 1930s and 1940s. Sandy Krzyzanowski deposited a set of 30 architectural, structural and mechanical drawings from March 1991 for the construction of the new firehall. Sheila Murray continues to donate her Island photos — this time panoramic shots the construction of the new Lakeshore. Roger Pepler donated a section Globe and Mail dated February 15, 1950. Featured in an article about flooding on the Island during a major storm were photos of water rushing past the Shaw house toward lagoon and the Island bus at the Algonquin Bridge with water up to door. The paper was found the ceiling at 14 Lakeshore during recent renovations. Vivian Pitcher and Sandy Krzyzanowski continue to garments bearing Island from the Traders Bench donate them to the Archives’ textile collection. We must have a textile exhibition! Bill Roedde donated a copy of the book about the movie The Violin, which was filmed on the Island in 1973. The film composed performed by Maurice Solway (Larry’s father) who ‘lived’ at 19 Sixth and two urchins who ‘lived’ at 6 Omaha. book with text written by Robert Thomas Allen contains many photos taken by George Pastic during the filming. The enchanting film was nominated for an Academy Award. David Smiley donated 2 of his 8×10 professional quality photos, the Arythmics parading on Adelaide
last October, and sailing on the Bay last February. He also dropped off a snapshot of Ron Handy during the 1970s at 4 Dacotah which found his new abode. Examples of work, including Island scenes, can seen in the sales office of The Pavillions condo development on Queen’s Quay between Spadina and and an exhibition at Metro from June 15 to Julie Whitfield very kindly loaned her valuable collection of several hundred historical postcards so that laser copies could made several Island scenes. One is a very rare photo card of Clandeboye Ave, postmarked August 1907. Adam Zhelka continues to donate copies of materials from his vast TIC collection e.g. photos of 3 different TIC buses on the Island and info about the ferry fleet gleaned from the Coupler 1947 to 1958. These items are all greatly appreciated, and they may be examined during the Archives open houses on Sunday
Previous of this newsletter are kept in stock, and subscriptions by mail are available at $8 year (4 issues).
ODDS AND ENDS
The Trader’s Bookcase: Many thanks to the thoughtful folks who have dropped off books and magazines. However, the outflow (including the bookcase itself on 2 occasions!) has been considerably greater than the inflow. If you pick up a book or a magazine, please return it after you have read it or replace it with another. Thanks.
Frankland Public School Visit: On May 20 Karen Archer again brought her Grade 4 class to the Island for one stop in a series of neighbourhoods which her students have been investigating. The following kind folks permitted the well-behaved class to visit their unique properties and/or spoke to them and answered questions: Sandy Krzyzanowski, the Englars, Bill Duman, the Kotyks, Klaus Bock, Paula Mae Ponesse, the Pitchers, Peter McLaughlin & lain Robertson, Sandy Wood & Don Darroch, and Martin Earle at the Canoe Club.
Recent Photos: Dream Auction (May 3), Talent Night (April 19), Farewell to Chris Wilson (April 13), Lawn Ornament Auction (March 1), Ice Stories (February 14), Birthing Stories (January 17), house construction and renovation, the passing scene, art and photography exhibitions at the Rectory, Here and Now Gallery, Rustic Cosmo Cafe, Heliconian Club, DeLeon White Gallery, Soho Craft Show, and The Gallery by the Bay in Hamilton. Copies are available at the Archives.
Annette VanLeeuwen: Four of Annette’s pieces are part of the current exhibition of the graduating class of the George Brown College Jewellery Art Department at the Sandra Ainsley Gallery (SE corner of York & Adelaide, until June 14). Annette demonstrates that jewellery can be useful as well as ornamental — included are 2 silver condom cases ($750 and $500) and a silver perfume dispenser ($325). One of her condom cases appeared on CITY-TV Breakfast Television — no doubt she will be flooded with orders. Annette can be observed at work in the Craft Studio at the York Quay Centre at Harbourfront.
David Smiley: Twelve of David’s Island photos will be part of an exhibition by 10 photographers on the theme “Work and Working Life” (at the Metro Hall rotunda, June 15-21). Appearing in David’s images are Bobby the deck hand, Mike the milkman, Nick the mailman, and Margaret the garbage person. In the Archives are photos of David’s attempts at photographing Margaret in action. She kept trying to hide behind her garbage truck — the resulting peekaboo shots are genuine!
Toronto Field Naturalists: Free Island nature walks. Saturday, June 21, 7:10 pm, from the Centre Island ferry dock, with Starr Whitmore and Morris Sorensen (the “Urban Naturalist”). Wednesday, June 25, 9:40 am, from the Hanlan’s ferry dock, with Carol Sellers. Bring your binoculars (and lunch on the 25th), but not your dog.
Heritage Toronto (formerly Toronto Historical Board): Free waterfront walking tours. Sunday, June 15, 1:30 pm, starts at Little Norway Park (Queen’s Quay and Bathurst), and ends at Queen’s Quay Terminal. Sunday, July 13, 1:30 pm, starts and ends at St Lawrence Market. Sunday, August 3, 11 am and 2 pm, starts at Union Station and ends at Queen’s Quay Terminal. Lists of all TIN, AGO, ROM, and Heritage Toronto events are kept up to date at the Archives.
Environment Days: Pick up free leaf compost, buy a blue box for $5 or a composter for $15, drop off paint, car batteries and tires, and other toxics. Saturday, June 14, 10-2, Ramsden Park (opposite Rosedale subway station). Saturday, July 5, 10-2, Central Tech parking lot (Harbord & Bathurst). A complete list is in the Archives.
Information Requested: Ina Gilbert has a collection of excellent quality photographs of the family and ancestors of James G Wilson of 1 Fifth St, including 19th century tintypes. Mr Wilson, a widower with no children, was the long-time publisher of The Ward’s Island Weekly, and he printed the professional quality booklets containing fine photographs at the Hawthorn Press on Simcoe St where he worked. Ina would like to contact relatives or close friends of Mr Wilson in order to pass on these valuable family photos.
MARVELLOUS MANITOBA MAPLES by Jenny Bull (12 Dacotah) From the April newsletter of the Toronto Field Naturalists, with sketch by Jenny:
The large Manitoba maple in our front yard provided many benefits to our wonderfully cool summer shade, the perfect branch for a rope and great bird watching opportunities, from downy woodpeckers and brown creepers working the bark in winter to entire oriole families foraging in the summer foliage. When we were still young and foolish, we had even fashioned costumes for a summer solstice party from the abundant bunches of fresh green keys.
As often happens with Manitoba maples, the tree grew at a rather precarious angle. One its largest limbs grew over the house and one summer we had it removed. The following spring, the wound dripped copiously and, because of the angle of the we were able to collect the sap in a bowL We made several cups of delicious maple syrup.
As the tree continued to grow with a massive
spreading CrO\\’11 it was invaded by a fungus.
The bark split and peeled along the length of
branches that eventually died and fell off. The
fungus produced huge fruiting bodies, with
beautiful underneath an
expansive shelf. One spring, a pair of resident
Carolina “”Tens found the fungus convenient
for their mating ritual. When the male wasn’t
loudly proclaiming his temtory from the old
aerial on our roof, used the platform to
feed choice caterpillars to mate.
Courtship with caterpillars
As more and more shelves appeared around the trunk, more and more branches lost their bark and fell off. We became nervous about the huge weight hanging over our house. If it fell, the tree was tall enough to catch the corner of our neighbour’s house as well. After much discussion we decided the grand old lady should come down. Permission was given by the City-this was after the new tree by-law-and do\\’11 it came. What a gap it seemed to leave in the sky! How hot the yard was the summer! But what a great flower bed I was able to establish in all that sun!
We had thought that our second, smaller Manitoba maple would start to thrive with the extra light and space. Unfortunately, it is also badly infected with fungus, and one of its large branches collapsed at the beginning of the winter. But as it is both smaller and further away from buildings, I hope it wiII still be with us for many more years. Having been some native woodland plants, I have been desperately searching for good shade-which a Manitoba maple provides very effectively’