Lakefield Canoe Company
The history of the Lakefield Canoe Company, and its various incarnations, is a bit twisted.
Dick Persson has been researching many Canadian canoe manufacturers, and has assembled this
timeline for the Lakefield area builders.
- 1858 Thomas Gordon starts building canoes in Lakefield.
- 1870's J.G. Brown (former foreman for T. Gordon) starts his own canoe
company, the Brown Boat Co., across the street from T. Gordon.
- 1892 Strickland & Co. - Lakefield Canoe Works established.
- 1904 T. Gordon Canoe Co. merges with Strickland & Co. The new company is
called Lakefield Canoe Building & Mfg. Co.
- 1909 T. Gordon's youngest son, Gilbert Gordon, forms Gordon Canoe Co.
in the nearby town of Bobcaygeon.
- 1919 The Lakefield Canoe Building & Mfg. Co. is reorganized after
several years of struggle. It reemerges under the name Lakefield Canoe & Boat Co.
- 1926 Charles Gordon, older brother of Gilbert Gordon, takes over the
Gordon Canoe Co. in Bobcaygeon. The company is now called Gordon Boat Works & Co.
- 1938 The Brown Boat Co. closes its doors.
- The Brown Boat Co. which closed its doors in 1938 was purchased by George
Cook who started "Sailcraft". This company was partly closed during the war. They built
sailboats up to 1956 and later also tried their hand at building fiberglass boats.
- 1938 The Lakefield Canoe & Boat Co. declares bankruptcy.
- 1939 R.T. Bell purchases the company and its assets. The company emerged as the
Lakefield Boat Factory.
- 1942 The Risher brothers purchase the Lakefield Boat Factory and it
emerges as Lakefield Boat Co.
- 1950s The Gordon Boat Works & Co. in Bobcaygeon becomes Midway Marinasometime in the
- 1961 Stuart Peel who had worked for Peterborough Canoe Co starts his own
business Peel Marine with Walter Walker as foreman/builder.
- 1962 Jack Richardson, the former General Manager of the now defunct
Peterborough Canoe Co. purchases the Lakefield Boat Co and renames it Richardson Aquacraft,
also called Rilco Industries. The company closed down around 1969.
- All-Wood Canoes: Nearly all Lakefield area builders marked the canoes
with a model number. It would be found stamped on a thwart block or inside stem.
- Canvas Canoes: At least for Richardson-era wood canvas canoes, the
best identifying feature is the planking. The planking is unique for a wood
canvas canoe in that it is full-length and tapered such that no goring is
required. This is reminiscent of the manner in which all-wood cedar strip
canoes are also built. So far, I have not seen this feature on any other
make of wood canvas canoe.
|Lakefield All-Wood Canoe Models|
| ||Model Number|
|14'6" x 28" x 11"||0||20||40||60||80||100||120||140||160|
|15' x 29" x 11"||1||21||41||61||81||101||121||141||161|
|15'6" x 30" x 11½"||2||22||42||62||82||102||122||142||162|
|16' x 31" x 12"||3||23||43||63||83||103||123||143||163|
|16'6" x 32" x 12"||4||24||44||64||84||104||124||144||164|
|17' x 33" x 12½"||5||25||45||65||85||105||125||145||165|
|17'6" x 35" x 12½"||No #||No #||No #||No #|| || || || || |
|18' x 36" x 13"||No #||No #||No #||No #|| || || || || |
- ORBI - Open Rib and Batten Canoes, Basswood, Iron Fastened, Painted
- ORBV - Open Rib and Batten Canoes, Basswood, Copper Fastened, Varnished or Painted
- FBI - Flush Batten Canoes, Basswood, Iron Fastened, Painted
- FBV - Flush Batten Canoes, Basswood, Copper Fastened, Varnished or Painted
- CRMJI - Close Rib and Metallic Joint Canoes, Basswood, Iron Fastened, Painted
- CRMJV - Close Rib and Metallic Joint Canoes, Basswood, Varnished or Painted
- LSI - Longitudinal Strip Canoes, Basswood, Iron Fastened, Painted
- LSV - Longitudinal Strip Canoes, Cedar, Varnished or Painted
- LDS - Light and Dark Strip Canoes, Copper Fastened, Varnished
- Butternut and Pine or other Canadian woods
- Walnut or Redwood and Cedar
|Data from undated catalog marked "Lakefield Canoe Building and Manufacturing Company, Limited"|
|Other All-Wood Canoe Models|
|Canuck||16' x 36" x 11"||Flush batten basswood or cedar, painted outside, varnished inside|
|Pioneer||various lengths||Wider, deeper, and more tumblehome|
|Trapper's Special||10' x 29" x 12|
12' x 31" x 12½"
14' x 33" x 13"
|Painted in dull colors|
|Klondike||Length 14' to 23'|
Beam 35 to 52"
Depth 17 to 19"
|Longitudinal Strip basswood or cedar|
|Racer||16 x 30" x 11"||Custom built|
|Lakefield et al. wood & canvas models|
|Model||Length x Beam x Depth||Weight (lbs)||Other|
|Tripper||15 x 35 x 12||57||2 seats, 1 thwart|
|Lightweight||15 x 35 x 12||65||2 seats, 1 thwart|
|Voyageur||16 x 34 x 12||70||2 seats, 3 thwarts|
|Camper||16 x 34 x 13||75||2 seats, 2 thwarts|
|Rilco Industries (ca. 1966)|
|Kiowa||15 x 35 x 12||57||2 seats, 1 thwart|
|Cree||15 x 35 x 12||65||2 seats, 1 thwart|
|Tecumseh||16 x 34 x 12||70||2 seats, 2 thwarts|
|Iroquois||16 x 34 x 13||75||2 seats 2 thwarts|
A Real Runabouts Review of Canoes by Bob Speltz