Saturday, July 15, 1950
The 3rd annual Brockville Power Boat Regatta was held on a sunny Saturday afternoon on July 15, 1950 along the Brockville waterfront. Huge crowds of boating enthusiasts showed up from near and far to line the shores for this big international race event. Competitors came from the local area and from other areas of Canada and the U.S.
The local hopefuls were, Ward Armstrong in “Sea Change,” Bob MacKenzie in “Little Chief,” Murray Billings in “Roger B III,” and Jack Langmuir in “Running Wild.” There were thirteen races run that day in four classes. The excitement was punctuated by dramatic spills and engine failures, Murray Billings seeing his boat sink after the turn in the first race.
The top award of the day was in 225 cu-in Division I, the “Centennial Cup”, which went to Bob Bogie of Loon Lake, N.Y. in “Blitz III” after a time of 4:43.41/2 minutes. The most successful of the Brockville racers was Jack Langmuir who placed second in three of his four races and earning the first place “Cowan Dairy Trophy” in the 135 cu-in Canadian Division final with a time of 5:28.2 min. After the regatta wound up the winners were presented with their trophies at a special reception held at Fulford Place.
An aerial View of Blockhouse Island during the annual Power Boat races on the Brockville waterfront on Saturday, July 15, 1950.
This view is interesting now because it records the configuration of the Brockville harbour at that time. Thousands of spectators crowded the island shoreline to take in the action which passed in front of the officials raft shown here in the bottom corner.
In the background we can see the arrangement of industrial buildings on Blockhouse Island near the rail line. Included is the notorious Libby, McNeil & Libby pickle factory on the left, and Wells C. Simpson’s Sand and Boating Co. on the right.
On the other side of the harbour are many buildings which no longer exist. On the right we can see the tour boats and property owned by Capt. Wilfred L. Snider which contained the Thousand Island Boat Tours and the W.L. Snider & Sons Moving & Storage business. He was supported in these enterprises by his sons, Charlie and Everett. Just to the north is the glove factory run by Russell R. Shorey.
Next on the water is the large arched building owned by the St. Lawrence Engine Co. Ltd. Notable is their crowded parking lot full of automobiles and boats. The business was owned by John W. Langmuir, and managed by his son, Jack Langmuir, the local hero of the day in his speedy boat,“Running Wild.” To the north is Bill Patterson’s Brockville Glass. At the bottom of Apple St. was located Smith’s Dairy, operated by Glenson S. Smith, and L.C. Dunn’s ice house.
Source: This great photograph is just one of thousands of pictures taken by the late George Eland in the course of his career in Brockville. Many of these photos and negatives are now in the collection of the Brockville Museum thanks to Mrs. Helen Eland and Dr. Adrian Ten Cate. I would encourage anyone who has local items of historical interest to do the same and donate them to our local museum.
The waterfront businesses were identified with the help of a copy of Vernon’s Brockville Directory, 1956. While the races proceeded that day, Brockville photographer George Eland aimed his camera from the window of a plane that was circling overhead. Another photograph taken about the same time was published on the sports page of the Recorder & Times a few days later.
[The above photograph can be viewed full size in a separate window by double clicking on the picture on this page until you reach the enlarged version further in the system]