Antiques Afloat: From the Golden Age of Boating in British Columbia


115 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-919317-00-6




Reviewed by David Mattison

David Mattison is a librarian with the B.C. Provincial Archives and
Records Services Library.


Originally appearing as a series of articles in Pacific Yachting magazine for which the author freelances, this expensive book reflects its specialized but especially fascinating subject matter. There is nothing like a well-cared-for old vessel to turn the head, and the author has taken advantage of the large number of such boats for his guide to some of the more unusual examples.

Covering wooden-hulled motor cruisers built and operated in British Columbia between 1900 and 1940, Antiques Afloat is not so much a history of boat building as a close examination of some of the best examples of master shipwright work. Some of the major Vancouver shipbuilders are looked at in the first chapter. Other topics covered include the famous Classic Boat Festival held in Victoria each fall, a rum-runner, the Maui Lu which motored to Hawaii and back from B.C. in 1973, and a Forest Service cruiser. Possibly the most unusual vessel is the Wanderer which was built in 1926 as the Cora May out of timbers reclaimed from the scrapped Empress of Japan.

Colour and black-and-white photographs of exteriors and interiors help the reader visualize the boats. The photos come from a variety of sources, including archives and a family album, and thus reflect the very best and the very worst of photography. The text retains its origins as a series of magazine articles and no attempt was made to consistently identify salient features of each vessel. An index is included which makes this book somewhat useful as a reference tool. The book is well-designed and sturdily bound.


Vassilopoulos, Peter, “Antiques Afloat: From the Golden Age of Boating in British Columbia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed September 25, 2023,