09 Jul

The Heldena II

I had a chance to peruse the Antique and Classic Boat Show on Saturday meeting a few familiar faces. I find it somewhat difficult to take photos due to the crowds and the fact that boats are static. I prefer to see a gentleman’s racer ripping up the lake. I caught the beautiful 1917 built Heldena II, a 36 foot racing boat powered by a V12 Liberty aircraft engine.

The Heldena was manufactured by J.J. Taylor and possesses  a very impressive racing history including gold cups, championships and world speed records. Her owner Fred R. Miller of Toronto loved to race her and unfortunately he passed away at the young age of 44. Heldena II was sold to the Toronto Harbour Commission and used as a fast rescue boat from 1922 to 1958. She was later saved from a scrap yard in Scarborough, Ontario in 1984 with restoration starting around 2000.

In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

10 Responses
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  1. And the black and white makes this old boy even more regal somehow.

  2. James R says:

    that’s a real nice really old race boat, i find it interesting that a race boat would have passenger seats, i guess it would have doubled as a pleasure boat as well.

  3. J Franz says:

    Came across this pic just by accident and it brought back so many memories of holidays in Muskoka when just a youngster. It’s such an experience now to see these restored boats and the stories they bring – recently the family came up and stayed at Deerhurst, which was quite affordable by the way through Suitelife Vacations and we had the opportunity to see some of these amazing classic boats thundering in the distance – quite a site to see and spectacle of yesteryear to enjoy!

  4. S Lowes says:

    I pass a Suitelife Vacations on Rowntree Dairy Rd on my way to work – is that the one you are referring to?

  5. J Franz says:

    I looked it up to be sure and yes it’s address is –

    Suitelife Vacations Club
    690 Rowntree Dairy Rd.
    Woodbridge, Ontario
    L4L 5T7

    If you go by please say Hi to Marilyn for me!

  6. Jane says:

    It was a great day at the show. So many beautiful old woodies. We got to ride in Miss Canada V, who’s owned by a friend of a friend. Such a thrill!

  7. Matt Fairbrass says:

    I found Heldena in about 1976 rotting away in a backyard in Scarborough on a side street that was off Brimley Rd. They widened Brimley Road about that time to create Bluffs Park Yacht Club. Once the road was done you could see into everyones backyard and I was not old enough to drive but spotted this huge boat under an old tarp. I kept an eye on the boat for several years and it belonged to a fellow named Fred Brough. Fred was a junk collector and boat the boat in 1959 from a boat salvage yard in toronto for $250.00. He hauled her home and it sat in his yard until 1984 when I was finally able to purchase her. I knw nothing about the boat other than it’s name and some little bit of history. I found Helen Miller was still alive and met with her several times and was a wonderful lady with many great stories of the boat. My father Alan and I put in hundreds of hours in her careful reconstruction and research. Sadly my Father passed away in 1992 and the boat was stored for some time until Mike Windsor of Windsor boats helped to finish off the majority of the planking and hull. Unable to continue with the project I decided to sell her and she was purchased by the McGraw family. Some modifications were made that to me spoiled her orginal lines but the owner was set on some changes that were never on the original boat. She still looks grand but I am still sad that the magnificent honduran mahogany log that was purchased for her deck was never used. The log was purchased from Ziggy Newland,an exotic lumber importer and quite a character. He came to see the boat to be sure that this timber that was cut in 1910 would indeed be used for something special. He purchased this log in 1952 from the British Gov’t and it was intended to be used for furniture should it be needed in the future. Its whereabouts are unknown and I suspect it may have been stolen…. I can tell you it cost me $5000 !
    So there is how Heldena II survived the scrap heap.

    Matt Fairbrass

  8. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Matt,
    I really appreciate the background and story on the Heldena II. I hope the new owners have given you the opportunity to crusie the lake in her. She is indeed magificent.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Don Barclay says:

    After high school days as a lifeguard on Toronto beaches I joined the Toronto Harbour Police. As a Lead Hand I had the pleasure of piloting Heldena 11 or as It was then named THP launch No. 3 . Even in 1957 she was still a beauty, but tended to be a bit leaky. Upon hearing that I was off to university in the fall of ’57, the THP had the good sense to fire me. I always wondered what happened to No. 3..
    At that time she was powered by a straight six Kermath engine. I am so pleased to hear about the wonderful restoration. Now if can only find out what happened to semi- cabined No.s 2 and 4 and Taylor built launch No.7. … Thank-you

  10. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Don,
    I’m not sure if you are familiar but a good resource may be through the following website

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