The Traveller has spent approximately 102 years of her 127 on Gloucester Pool. Built in Waubashene Ontario in 1894, she was purchased by the Georgian Bay Lumber company as one of their work boats. In the late 20’s after the Lumber Mill in Port Severn, Christies Mill, burnt down and the establishment of the Trent Severn waterway developed more of a tourism trade, she was left abandon on the shores of the lake. Two local brothers, Herbie and Fred King salvaged two hulls and restored each by adding the top and lengthening The Traveller to its current 31 feet. Fred King’s boat was later call the Severn King. Herbie King and the Traveller became an iconic sight on Gloucester Pool as the Traveller was Herbie’s source of income as a labourer on the lake for many construction projects, taxi, guideboat, and much more. Herbie pulled a hand made barge side saddle using The Traveller.
My Great Grandparents came to live on Gloucester Pool in 1919. Their primary neighbours were the Kings in Little Go Home Bay. My grandmother was born on the King’s farm with the assistance of Mrs King who was a midwife. The connection between the Kings and our family continue for many years until Herbie’s passing in 1980. The black and white photos of The Traveller show my Grandmother, mother, and uncle touring Gloucester Pool going up the Big Chute marine railway in The Traveller.
Later in the mid 80’s Peter Breen purchased The Traveller from the King estate and restored her to her current condition. Peter used The Traveller on the Severn River for a few years before she was purchased by Murray Walker. Murray thoroughly enjoyed The Traveller for approximately 25 years on Lake Muskoka and had it on display at the Murray Walker Boathouse at the Muskoka Steamships Grace and Speed Museum in Gravenhurst. I have been friends with Murray for many years. Murray and Ed Skinner for years encouraged me to purchase The Traveller from Murray’s esteemed collection of vintage boats and finally in 2013 the stars aligned and the circumstances presented such that we were able to make the transition for The Traveller to return home to Gloucester Pool.
The return of The Traveller back to the Pool was an indescribable joy for my family that is very hard to articulate. We celebrated the event with great friends and family. My father Bill truely loved The Traveller and proudly used her on a regular basis touring the shores of the Pool until his passing in 2018.
What we also learned quite quickly is the joy that was experienced by so many other residents of Gloucester Pool who also had a historical connection with Herbie King and The Traveller. We have had many people approach us and tell us how happy they are to see The Traveller back on the lake and recount the stories and connections that they have with Herbie and his boat.
In 2019 The Traveller was the feature poster boat of the ACBS-Toronto Vintage Boat Show in Gravenhurst Ontario. The boat show was celebrating Centenarian Boats. Following behind The Traveller on the highway was a bit of a hair raising experience but the trip was well worth it. We met even more people who heard that The Traveller was going to be at the show and made the trip to see her. We had elderly men in tears of joy as they told their stories of the time that they spent working with Herbie on the boat as young hard working men.
The story of The Traveller is not finished but what it has taught me is the wonderful joy of stewardship. I have owned my Grandfathers Shepherd for almost 40 years and I still consider it his boat, but The Traveller has really taught me that I am not the owner of The Traveller, I am only the caretaker, just like Murray, and Peter, and Herbie. We all took care of The Traveller so that everyone who as interacted with The Traveller can continue to enjoy her as she passes by and remember the stories of building of the dock or the cabin and the people who shared that experience and the past of where we came from.
Check your email.
We’ve sent you a message with a link to verify and activate your account.
(If you don’t see an email from us within a few minutes, check your spam folder. Sometimes things get lost in there.)