I met Harry English’s granddaughter at a boat show a few years ago. She very generously shared with me what she knew about CHIMO.
Her grandfather bought the 1929 Minet Shields from the original owners in the mid ’40’s. He named her Betty after his daughter. He used it to take tourists for rides around the lake. He stored Betty at the marina on the Joe River that his brother Stanley owned. I was there to see the slip when Jorge owned it until his unfortunate accident. She gave me a postcard of Betty at the wharf in front of the Northernaire Lodge across from Port Sandfield Marina. He was standing on the wharf behind it dressed as I remember my own Grandfather dressed in the ’50’s, with long pants and a shirt with garters on the sleeves, and tie, with no jacket.
She told me that he sold to Betty to the Temagami Mining company in the mid 50’s when his brother sold the marina. The Temagami Mining Company was incorporate in 1954 to mine copper. A hard top was added to protect the executives being ferried to the mine. All of the mainland property is owned by the local Indian Tribes.
I spoke to Bill Gooderham in perhaps 1997, and he told me how to pronounce CHIMO. It is with a long “i”. “Chimo”, (Cheemo), he said was a Pierre Trudeau word, and it was ChImo. I promised him I would always correct the pronunciation. Bill bought CHIMO in the 60’s as the work boat for his fish camp, Camp Chimo. My brother and many other people have come to me at shows and said they rode in CHIMO on Lake Temagami to travel to fishing spots. I have an VHS film of CHIMO towing a string of canoes with the cockpit of CHIMO full of campers.
Bill sold the camp to a family called Munger in the 70’s who had been frequent campers. But, they were not able to make it work financially and the camp was sold to Joe Shaw who converted the camp to a private vacation home. In 1977, Joe had Vic Carpenter “restore” CHIMO and the original Hall Scott straight 6 truck engine marine conversion was replaced with a 1969 Chrysler 440 cubic inch V8.
Vic Carpenter restored CHIMO to the way he thought Bert Minette would have built it in 1977. Chimo was a hybrid between a Minett Shields and a Ditchburn with stainless steel hardware and vinyl upholstery. Beautiful, but, not authentic.
In 1997, Bill Cleland found CHIMO in storage at a golf course that he was considering buying for a client. He called me and I drove immediately to Point Au Baril and bought it. In 2004, I commissioned Gary Clark to convert CHIMO back to a true Minett Shields. The floors, seating and decks were removed and replaced as Bert Minett originally built them. Original hardware was borrowed for moulds to complete the authenticity. The late Doug Smith, who worked in the Greavette factory for 35 years, did a wonderful upholstery job, with natural leather similar to what was used in many of the Minett Shields and Ditchburns of the day.
In 2019, at 90 years old, CHIMO was given a fresh revarnish by Gary Clark, and the Chrysler engine was rebuilt and updated to burn gasoline with ethanol additive. My hope is she will be enjoyed by future generations for at least another 90 years.
Chimo is the sister to 5 other boats built at the same time.
Seahorse, owned by Pam and Jonathan Blair
Marco, owned by Margie Hunter
Penguin (Converted to front drive by Bert Minette in the “30’s when business was slow, and then back to original in 2004 by Gary Clark)
Flying Lady (Converted to front drive by Bert Minette in the “30’s when business was slow)
The only fact missing is the original owner.
Many thanks, and a tip of the straw boater to Tim Duvernet, whose artistry perfectly captures the magnificence of these Canadian treasures.
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