It’s Wayback Wednesday: Air boat



Welcome to Wayback Wednesday sponsored by Cavalcade Color Lab! Every week, we’ll be sharing a vintage photo and asking our readers to chime in with anything you can recall about the photo, other related memories, or even a funny caption. Have some vintage photos of your own? Send them to [email protected] and we may share them with our readers!

This week’s photo comes to us from Judy Vanclieaf. Her grandfather, Dan Watson from Baysville, was a police officer for Lake of Bays McLean and Ridout wards in the 1950s and 1960s.

“A lot of his responsibilities were to police the area cottages for break-ins in the winter,” says Judy. “He built his own airboat (we called it a blow boat) out of plywood and an old airplane engine and propeller. He was then able to safely check on the cottages via water and ice through the winter.”

Although she never had the opportunity to ride in the boat, “I was told by my late mother, that is was very loud when it was in motion,” Judy says. “When I was growing up, it sat in the field behind my grandfathers house. We played on it a lot and pretended we were riding it.”

Here’s another view:

Dan Watson in the airboat he built (the woman with him is unknown)

Dan Watson in the airboat he built (the woman with him is unknown)

Now that’s ingenuity! Thanks for sharing these with us, Judy.

Wayback Wednesday is sponsored by Cavalcade Color Lab


Last week we shared this photo with you:


This 1930s-era image of Main Street taken by Albert Staples, which looks west from near the corner of Brunel Road, elicited some surprised comments from Doppler readers.

Like Mary Takacs-Tinsley who commented on Facebook: “Wow…..a gas station/garage ????”  Or MJ Scooter who said, “Hard to see past the HORSE.”

Others noted long-ago businesses that are no longer part of Main Street.

David Johns said, “Looks like McIlroy’s garage with the gravity feed pumps out front. 1938?”

Vern Vince noted, “No gas station, no hydro poles. 1940/41.”

Bob Forde recognized, “No Eaton’s. Fruit stand at the top of the alley to the wharf. Truck at the pump looks to be 1932 and maybe four years old. I’m guessin’ photo 1936.”

We have a few clues to help us guess the date this photo was taken. One is the vehicles. The other are the overhead wires which, according to Huntsville: With Spirit and Resolve by Susan Pryke, were replaced with underground wiring in 1937. “In 1936, the town council agreed to let the Bell Telephone Company lay a cable under the sidewalk at West and Main Street and continue to their Huntsville office. This was in keeping with the municipal endeavour to have all telephone poles removed from Main Street,” Pryke writes. “In July 1937, when Main Street was being widened, the town replaced overhead wires with underground wiring for all light standards.”

Our guess is that this photo was taken in 1935 or 1936.

If you want to see more Wayback Wednesday photos, click here.


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