The Canadian Tollycruisers trace their history to 1988 when an idea became something more.
In the Beginning – Julie & Walter Hausberg
In 1988, on Sidney Spit, a group of eight Canadian Tollycraft owners had a thought – why not start a Canadian Tollycraft club. The group, led by Julie and Walter Hausberg, arranged moorage at Port Browning and contacted all the Tollycraft people they knew.
Now remember, this is before social media, websites and even email, so when 32 Tollys ranging in size from the small to the large arrived, the organizers were surprised, to say the least. Many of the Tollys were local while others travelled from up-Island and the Lower Mainland.
Buoyed by this initial success, Julie and Walter quickly scheduled a second Rendezvous at Port Browning for the following year. This time there were 63 Tollys plus a very special guest – Mr. Tollefson along with a few members the American club and a slew of wonderful gifts. (This wouldn’t be his only visit – he returned every year until he retired and speaking with him and listening to his annual after dinner talks were the highlights for many members.)
In 1992, the Rendezvous moved to Telegraph Harbour on Thetis Island as the club was getting bigger. This new location attracted more people from up island and Vancouver with 80 Tollycrafts taking up the whole marina!
Without Julie and Walter Hausberg and their team of volunteers, we might never have had a Canadian Tollycruisers Rendezvous, much less a rich history of fun and friendship.
The Terry Murphy Years – Terry & Susan Murphy
Terry Murphy volunteered to organize the 1993 Tollycruisers Rendezvous which would turn out to be the first of 22 events!
Under Terry’s leadership, the largest gathering of Tollycrafts EVER took place in Canadian waters in 1997. This joint international rendezvous combined Washington’s Tollycraft Boating Club and the Canadian Tollycruisers at Port Sidney Marina (Sidney, BC). More than 180 Tollycraft Boats (including one Tollycraft sailboat) attended.
It was a wonderful event with boats from 24 feet to 65 feet. The grand finale was a double decker bus tour from Sidney through Victoria ending at the Victoria Convention Centre where over 400 individuals enjoyed a sit-down banquet and entertainment by Mike Murphy from Sun Valley. On the return trip to the marina, a fine Scottish Piper piped Tolly owners down the dock!
In the meantime, the Canadian Tollycruisers continued to grow and in September 2002, 86 boats (including 37 Tolly 26s) converged on Telegraph Harbour – the largest Canadian rendezvous so far.
In 2001 and for Tolly’s 90th birthday, the Tollycruisers commissioned a painting of his boat anchored at Chatterbox Falls. Wayne Nelsen presented it to Tolly at his birthday party at the Seattle Boat Show. The painting hung in his Port Ludlow home until his death.
Also in 2001, world events impacted our Rendezvous. Three days after the September 11, Wayne Nelson arranged for the 15th Field Artillery Marching Band to come to the Rendezvous. Brian Charles from Crescent Beach Yachts paid for a water taxi to bring the band from Richmond and back again for an amazing performance.
However, attendance was down that year because of September 11 and the club finances were in a deficit position. Wayne, Dennis Dean and Terry each threw in $250 to keep the group solvent until the next year.
Following Tolly’s passing in 2011, the club commissioned a bench that was installed in his honour at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls on May 11, 2012. Nine days later Terry led a group of 16 Tollys to celebrate Tolly’s life, his love of the area and to spread his ashes.
Terry and Susan Murphy were instrumental in keeping both the club and the annual Rendezvous going. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their efforts and appreciate the dedication!
Continuing the Tradition – Kathy & Doug Bell, Phil & Maria Posehn
Filling the shoes left behind when Terry Murphy stepped down in 2014 was no easy task. But Kathy Bell did just that as she organized the 2015 through 2018 Canadian Tollycruisers Rendezvous. Many of the club’s traditions continued, often with her twist added here and there.
Following Kathy and Doug were Phil and Maria Posehn who led the club through the COVID pandemic. With the US-Canada border closed and/or limited, many of our American Tollycraft friends were unable to travel to Telegraph Harbour in 2020 and 2021.
Phil and Maria did an outstanding job navigating the various regulations and making socially distanced Rendezvous fun!
During this time, the club changed the date of the Rendezvous to the Labour Day weekend. The hope is that we’ll have better weather and families with school-aged children can attend easier.
Into the Future – Sandra & Trevor Lewis
Following the 2021 Rendezvous, Sandra Lewis volunteered to take over organizing the Rendezvous and providing leadership to the Canadian Tollycruisers.
At the time, Sandra was also the Commodore for the Washington based Tollycraft Boating Club making her the first to take on both roles simultaneously.
In 2023, the club is celebrating it’s 35th Rendezvous. Its theme harkens back to the very first one 25 years ago as we celebrate our past while looking to the future.
Volunteers & the Canadian Tollycruisers History
The club is operated solely by volunteers. In addition to those above, a few of the individuals instrumental to the Canadian Tollycruisers impressive history are:
- Paul and Theresa Coridor were active for many years. Paul was treasurer and Theresa organized several of the “Cook Off’s” and giveaways.
- Wayne and Jan Nelson were heavily involved in the group. They initiated the Rendezvous themes, created several games and played a major part in the International Rendezvous.
- Dennis Dean was our treasurer for several years before turning the job over to Paul Coridor.
- Jay Hartland was our auctioneer several times raising significant dollars for the group.
- Bill Hennis designed and created our official BURGEE and compiled the roster for several years. Bill was also our official photographer and put together several DVDs over the years including the 25th anniversary edition. He currently organizes the Bud Cooper Memorial Poker Run, Name That Tune and supplies the corn for our BBQ dinner.
- Marge Fulton started the ladies’ lunch, introduced Margarita Night, engineered the beer batter pancake breakfast, bought and paid for Dock Signs and much more.
- Mark & Peggy McMaster were instrumental to the club’s online presence and communications via tollycruisers.com and our club roster for many years.
- Cheryl & Brad Butler served on the core organizing committee providing strong leadership and assistance. Currently, they are coordinating our Terry Murphy Pancake Breakfast.
- Derek & Devida Smith volunteered for many years with Derek as treasurer and Devida organizing the raffle gifts.
- Leanne & Jeff Adams coordinated the club’s SWAG for several years.
- Phil Posehn returned to the core volunteer team in 2023 as treasurer.
The club currently has over 155 active memberships and is growing. The Rendezvous continues to take place at Telegraph Harbour with 40-50 (and hopefully more!) Tollycrafts taking part. See more information on becoming a member of the Canadian Tollycruisers or for questions please contact us.