SeaBirD boats: a brief history (III)
January 22, 2020 in Uncategorized
The C.J McCulley Years – 1945 to 1959
Immediately after World War II the building of boats for private use resumed. Many inboards were built by the Port Carling Boat Works in Honey Harbour. Outboards and row boats were built in Port Carling.
In 1946-47 the Company was reorganized. The Honey Harbour plant was sold and eventually taken over by C. J. McCulley. “C.J” was not only an accomplished builder but a good business man. He had been involved with the Company since 1920! IN many ways, he was the most successful of the Muskoka boat builders.
The SeaBirD line is largely credited to C.J., who was ably assisted by several family members.
The Company’s boats were sold to department stores such as Eatons and Simpsons, as well as other distributors.
From 1945-to 1959 Port Carling Boats works employed about 25 staff membrs, and produced approximately one thousand boats.
By the late 1950s, fibreglass boats appeared on the scene. During its last few years, the Company sold a number of fibreglass vessels. BY 1959, many of the older workers had retired and it was difficult recruiting skilled wood workers. That, and the emergence of fibreglass sounded the death knell to the Company , which was sold in 1960 to a marine sales and service company. Fortunately, a significant number of SeaBirD boats still ply the waters of the Muskoka Lakes and elsewhere.