Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Fairmile Motor Boat Company UK designed B model “dog boats” for coastal shore patrol, torpedo boat and submarine hunting. Many were fitted with some serious armor & guns after initial production. Some were built in Toronto, Orillia and Honey Harbour. Canada built a total of 80 of these boats and most ours were used as escorts.
A particular Georgian Bay boat Eighty-Eight named after it’s wartime service # was built in Toronto in 1943 by J.J. Taylor & Son. A local cottager bought it government surplus for $4000. Not a bad deal for a $250,000 well built boat of only a few years in age. She was moved from government storage in Quebec to Georgian Bay in 1947 by the new owner Bill Christie who had her refitted as a pleasure boat. In 1954 he sold her to Pete LePage in Penetanguishene who used her commercially for ten years to transport people and goods in the area. What made this Fairmile boat unique that is was one that had a home in Georgian Bay while the many that were produced at Honey Harbour went off to war never to return to the Bay.
Only two Fairmile B’s remain in Canada on the west coast. Eighty-Eight ended up sunk in Lake Ontario in the late 1960’s near Gananoque, where it was in use as a cadet training vessel at the end of her life.