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Read about the history of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons at this national website “History” page:


Now, let us jump to the year 1951 and take a cruise through the ensuing years... At that time, the objectives of CPS were …

Fourteen men decided to take the Junior Piloting course as it was then called. Their year's hard work culminated in the formation of Midland Power Squadron. The charter night was held on January 6, 1952 at Herb Kaiser's Holiday Inn in Honey Harbour.

The official warrant was signed on May 21 of that year. Thus Midland became the tenth squadron of CPS with fourteen members. (Technically, we are the eleventh but Halifax had no members at that time.) The success of this first group of Midland members is remarkable when you consider that Ottawa squadron, created just before us had thirteen members and the original CPS squadron, Windsor, had thirty-two. The Porthole of 1952 contained a picture of the CPS flag being hoisted on the flagstaff of Dr. Weldon's cruiser (The Treasurer) by Ed/V/C Michie of Toronto while L/C Wall and Secretary Kilgour assisted. The other members of this first bridge were Herb Kaiser, the first commander, while James Playfair and Hugh Reisberry acted as lieutenants. We do not yet know a great deal about the activities of the squadron in its first ten years (an ongoing research) except that it continued to train and bring into membership seven to twenty-eight boaters each year.

By 1960, Herb Kaiser had transferred to Parry Sound Squadron, which was formed in 1961. (In his later years, Herb lived in Salmon Arm, BC. His ashes were brought back from there in the late eighties to be scattered on the waters of Georgian Bay near Parry Sound.)

In 1961, the first Advanced Piloting course was held in the basement of George Oliver's home. (At this time the initial course was called "piloting".) This new course, as well as the yearly Rendezvous and fall lay-up parties, were well publicized in the local press throughout the sixties. The winning of the Huffman trophy in 1968 is a tale best left for P/C Lionel Hanmer to tell.

While as a squadron we are not allowed to lobby, we have lent our support over the years to many worthwhile marine causes. One of these occurred during Paul Noack's command when Giant's Tomb went up for sale and was in danger of becoming a private island. In 1970, some of Midland's members formed the Penetanguishene squadron, which received its warrant in March of that year.

Squadron History Back to top Back to top

Midland Squadron’s First Bridge:  (Left to Right)

Back row: Bruce Gilbert, Jim Weeks, CEC. Crealock, W.H. Tremblay, Earl Cumming, Doug Strathearn

Middle row: Jim Hanley, Y.T. (Doc) Weldon, Jim Playfair, Sandy Kilgour, Jim Brechin

Front row: S. Wall, Herb Kaiser (with charter), Hugh Riesberry

Page updated:
10 September 2020

1972 saw the CPS flag cross Canada in honour of its twenty-fifth jubilee. A very young and dashing Dave Hudson joined Paul in paddling it down the Wye River to Ste. Marie Among the Hurons. The squadron celebrated its silver jubilee in 1976 in conjunction with the District Conference at the Delawana Inn. It was a huge and very grand affair. The 'Del' was the traditional graduation location throughout the seventies and on into the mid eighties. They were blearily followed by a rendezvous at Beausoleil.

The talk of the town in 1978 was "The Great Dinghy Race." This was so successful that there were pleadings in the local paper for the squadron to make it an annual affair. Again, in the seventies, our squadron got a lot of local press coverage for all its activities. The annual graduation was considered to be one of the premier social events of the season. The eighties brought many changes and many firsts to the squadron. By now the initial course was called Basic Boating.

Safe Boating Seminars continued to be held regularly to educate the boaters who had not taken courses. Safe boating packets were distributed annually to the local marinas. This was often done as a cooperative venture with Penetanguishene.

Paul LaChapelle was the brave captain who took the Midland ship into uncharted territory with the first of many "Pub Nights". These socials were held after classes to inform students and to give them a chance to discuss their course and interact with other squadron members. The fears that they would become a source of inebriation did not materialize. The first radio direction finding (RDF) chart of Georgian Bay was published in 1982. At this time, these radio bearings were an important navigational aid before the advent of Loran and GPS. The first and only Great Lakes Cruising Club Rendezvous to be held in southern Georgian Bay kept the squadron very busy in 1983. We made coffee, offered donuts, chaffered boaters to town and did escort duty.

Shondecti also saw our members escorting the canoes up the Wye River on the last leg of their journey from Montreal. Midland proudly produced its first glossy magazine edition of the True Course in 1984 and was especially elated when we won first prize at National, beating our arch rival Sudbury in the process. Editorship of the glossy moved from Herb Henderson to Ev Thompson in 1985 and AGAIN we beat out Sudbury for first place honours. After a year of planning and collecting appropriate materials, the first Let's Be Boatwise course in Midland and in the Georgian Trent District produced a baker's dozen of keen and knowledgeable young boaters. The District AGM was held at the Highland. The swimming pool proved to be a dangerous water hazard for one past commander!

We were lucky to be graced by the presence of Chief Commander Cornwell for both our AGM and the conference. Talking with and listening to him was powerful motivation as CPS volunteers. We changed our name from Midland Power Squadron to Midland Squadron.

1986 saw the swearing in of the first 'lady commander'. Her husband had to sit with the wives at the first Past Commanders Club meetings. National watched the formation of this club with interest and wariness but their fears never materialized.

Our last glossy magazine was produced. It should have won first prize but Sudbury was getting a little miffed. In 1987 we changed our name again in deference to our 'stick boat' members and in order not to be confused with a local cadet squadron. Much to the dismay of some members, we became Midland Power and Sail Squadron. The vote was so close we needed a legal opinion to know if it had passed. 1987 also saw the fruition of a long-term project headed by P/C Bill Gibson. A storm warning system was constructed on Midland's town dock. This was intended to assist the many small boats in the area that did not carry a VHF radio. We received many accolades for this initiative.

Our thirty fifth anniversary gave us an opportunity to meet many of our charter members. One of them, Cec Crealock, donated the funds for two navigation awards to be given out at rendezvous.

In the late eighties, we added a new project. Two cruises of member boats with local Big and Little Brothers as guests were hugely successful.

We all wore a bit of tartan to the District AGM at Inn at Christies Mill in 1992. This was to honour Herb Henderson, our new District Commander, and the second from Midland. (He was followed a few years later by our third, John Holgate. Dave Hudson had been the first.). In the driving rain we gave the first Pink Anchor award. This award became a district tradition.

An Instructors' training course held in Midland was hugely successful. An Officers' training course made for a knowledgeable hard-working bridge that was remembered for having a very good time .

The nineties again brought many changes and challenges to squadron. A safe boating expo was held at Wye Marsh. The revamped children's course “Boatwise” was moved to a week-long session in the summer months rather than the previous five-week after-school version. The admirable but hard-to-provide Skipper Saver course was dropped. Other courses were split up into two. Some courses were now available as distance education or on CD's. The controversial Boat Pro course was developed and taught in response to the new licensing requirements. For the first time, instructors had to deal with students who were less than eager, as their attendance was not out of desire to learn but rather to obtain the magic card. We lent our support to the opposition of the creation of Massassauga Provincial Park. and the creation of the Ontario Boaters' Forum. We widened our training grounds to include MNR summer employees as well as cottager groups. It became increasing difficult to obtain keen experienced officers for the bridge. Many arms were maimed to fill positions. In 1994. the tall ships came to town and squadron resources were once again put to the test as we provided safety boats and volunteers.

We honoured Dave Hudson with a district trophy in his name at the 1995 district AGM. The CPS flag once again crossed the country in honour of the fiftieth jubilee and was followed by the USPS flag as well. Our Boatwise grads consistently won top honours in the national poster contests.

Fifty years: a lot of change... a lot of memories... a lot of work but also a lot of fun...a lot of friendships born out of a love of the water and a wish to volunteer.

Marg Thompson

Past Historian

** Given the current state of affairs maybe we shouldn't have dropped this from our pledge! **