Posted on March 19 2014
By Steve Squelch
My association with Bear Mountain Boats started about twenty five years ago.
Canadian Canoes, a small cedar canvas repair and build shop, located in the west end of Toronto, Ontario decided to expand into strip built boats. And, in association with a local community college, they began offering hands on classes to the community.
Ted Moores was invited down to set up two moulds and teach his first class in the art of woodstrip /epoxy building.
This was Ted’s FIRST experience with direct instruction and, clearly, he has gone on to do many more courses and in all sorts of locations—but, that should be his story. For my part, it remains a delightful memory to have been in that first group- a bit like being a pioneer!
The builders were assigned to one of two groups of 4 and I was designated to the group building the Bear Mountain Red Bird 17. We started that Saturday morning and worked through the day and then the Sunday-long days as I recall.
The following week – we worked on average 3-4 hours per night on the boats under Ted’s guidance.
The following Saturday – the 8th day – our boats were ready enough for a test paddle in Lake Ontario at the Humber River. This class started my love for the strip built boat.
During the week, as I got to know Ted, I asked if he would be interested in seeing my friend’s automated production wood working shop. I enjoyed the look on the handcrafting genius that is Ted Moores, as he watched a custom project designed on an auto cad computer and then precision cut , drilled and routered at the same time on unmanned machines. That CNC technology was relatively new at the time. Now, it is common to use the technology to produce the station molds for many of the Bear Mountain designs.
My association with Canadian Canoes and Bear Mountain Boats continued through the years as my fleet expanded to include a strip built Prospector 16 and the Bear Mountain Endeavour 17 and the True North 19/3 sea kayaks.
In 2013 , I was part of a group of builder- paddlers that produced three 26 foot North Canoes , two of which were shipped to Milan, Italy then were paddled over 400 Kilometers following the ancient spice route from Milan to Venice on the Po River and the Laguna de Venezia.
The first of the three, a wood strip-epoxy constructed North Canoe, was built at the Peterborough shop of Bear Mountain Boats under the guidance of Ted and in collaboration with Canadian Canoes and Voyageur Canoes.
Good memories abound with all the various projects and the canoe trips done in these various watercraft.