Tucked away behind the barn at the cottage is an aluminum boat of 1970’s vintage. It’s not just any boat, it’s the first decent boat we had around the cottage and it served us well, in fact it still serves us well, and has outlived two other boats.
It belong to my father. It’s a 14 foot aluminum cartopper, made by a Canadian company called Harbercraft, which is a very cool name. I thought it had something to do with boats and harbours…but apparently it’s the name of the family that build the boats.
Dad bought the 14 foot Harbercraft boat more or less second hand, when I was about 11 or 12 which makes it around the early 1970’s. The boat and a couple more had been slightly damaged on a railcar while being shipped. The seller had bought the damaged ones, kept one for himself and sold the rest.
I believe Dad paid $280 for the boat. Funny the things you remember.
We loaded our Harbercraft boat on the roof of the 1966 Beaumont station wagon and headed off for the cottage. Had it in the water that night in the dark. Two happy guys….we were fishing out of it the next morning and did so for many years after that. What a father and son moment.
That Harbercraft boat carried me as a young fella, equipped with a 9.5 Johnson outboard motor through many a happy fishing trip, and even a few dates with the cottage neighbor girl….she was hot…but I digress….It also carried me over some pretty rough waters including one memorable day in September as we experienced the tail end of a hurricane and I decided to go fishing. The Harbercraft boat and I made it, but only just.
Imagine my surprise to find out that not only is Harbercraft still around, they are thriving. Probably because they make great boats. I found their website and learned that Harbercraft have been making their “premium all-welded aluminum boats” for over 49 years in Alberta and British Columbia.
The Harbercraft boat we have is a far cry from the boats the company build today, at least in design. And even though the boat we own is a pretty plain economy boat, it was a Cadillac in it’s day. The new boats look even better.
Now, almost half a century later, after manufacturing 110,000-plus boats the company has grown from the little family run business that started out in 1959 manufacturing car top aluminum boats which were mostly sold through department stores.
They now have two manufacturing plants and their boats are a far cry from the little 14 foot cartopper that brought my Father and I so much pleasure. I can only imagine what we would have done had we had one of the new Harbercraft boats!
NOTE: Since we wrote this in 2013 it appears that Harbercraft boats has become Kingfisher Boats with no further mention of Harbercraft Boats on their website. I guess this makes this post a history lesson.