On the Newboro Waterfront
August 2, 2010
Saturday evening I set out in my little aluminum boat without a fishing rod. It was time to take a look at the boat’s new home, the Newboro waterfront. We made our way over to the lock where the Land Trust Festival was in full swing. The sizable crowd seated on chairs for the classic rock concert seemed older and more orderly than the revelers of earlier years at the Chaffey’s Locks Corn Roast. The spacious Newboro Lockstation seems well suited to hosting an event of this sort.
The green enamel security fence around the grounds was an impressive touch. I guess there must be miles of the stuff left over from the G20 Summit in Toronto and Huntsville, so it might as well be put to use.
Two young men in a triangular craft laboured through the water below the lock. They struggled to a gap between the cruisers on the 48-hour dock and were helped ashore before they sank. Out came the unpainted plywood dinghy. One of the instant boats had obviously survived the afternoon competition for another voyage.
I drifted over by trolling motor to inquire. Neil McGuire and Thomas Jordan crew The Unsinkable Rideau Ferry. Michael McGuire and my former S.F.D.C.I. student John Jordan rounded out the build team. Their creation placed second in the afternoon competition, but as John’s sister Helen explained, the winners were experienced boat builders, so The Philosophers had an unfair advantage in their use of the three sheets of plywood, a few 2X4’s, some trim and a few tubes of caulk provided for the competition. John added, “They also gave us a pound and a half of assorted nails. No screws were allowed.”
The Unsinkable Rideau Ferry seemed to have a lot of support from the group of boaters on the 48-hour dock for the weekend.
Finger docks have produced many more spaces for cruisers below the lock at Newboro. This is good for special events and day-to-day use because the steady breeze makes this a pleasant summer destination.
Quite a few runabouts had come in off the lake to drift in the bay and enjoy the music on the calm evening. Over next to the resorts, though, the docks were still alive with fishing boats running in and out.
I made a mental note to get over to The Poplars for lunch. As a transient guest you eat whatever they are serving that day, it’s always fun in the informal atmosphere of the fishing camp, and where else are you helped into a slip by dock attendants when you arrive for a meal?
On Water Street the new owner of the cottages on the point has done a very classy renovation of the small dwellings, definitely raising the tone of the Newboro waterfront with unified architecture, landscaping and docks.
Over at the foot of Bay Street her neighbours are delighted with the return home of longtime resident Mrs. Rose Pritchard after a long and difficult recovery from a fall.
Several times I have talked to a fellow from Ottawa who fishes the same area Tony and I do. He mentioned building a house on Swallows Lane over the winter. I finally worked my way down that way to have a look. That’s a lot of house. I think the guy builds better than he fishes.
I’d spent a half-hour earlier in the day on Tony’s new deck under a huge oak tree at the end of Bay Street. It’s always a surprise how comfortable the air along this Newboro shoreline feels with the breeze pushing down the lake from Bedford Mills.
Of course weeds and debris pile in with the wind, but at least the boats are sheltered by the hill from a northerly gale. Speaking of debris, Thursday evening something really gross drifted in. I knew Tony and Anne had a family event planned for the next day, so the dead thing had to go, but I didn’t even want to look at it, let alone touch it. So I started up the outboard and strained the mooring lines as I pushed the unidentifiable thing with a sizable mat of weeds out of our little harbour and around the stern of The Big Chill, Tony and Anne’s cruiser.
But then the weed patch responded to a gust again and headed in towards the launch ramp. Oh well, it was out of my space and no longer my problem.
Turns out it then landed next to the boat of local volunteer firefighter Bob French. Bob apparently thinks differently than most, because instead of passing the dead raccoon on down the line as many had no doubt already done over the previous week, he pulled the thing in, bagged it up (wow!), loaded it into his van, hauled it away and buried it.
I guess Bob looked at the carcass, thought of the trouble it would bring to the people down the shore, and took action. That’s what firefighters do. They think of everybody. You’re a better man than I am, Robert French.