Skip to main content

Coleman Craft Canoes - Bill Coleman Canoe Maker - Fought to Retain His Name

Bill Coleman at Coleman Canoes Reunion
Bill Coleman at Coleman Craft Reunion, Hespeler, Ontario

NOTE: I am re-posting this story I did on the reunion we did for fans of the original Coleman Canoe made in Galt Ontario. I still get calls today about the canoes from around Ontario. We still take our Coleman canoe out on the Mill Pond. It was a great day celebrating a true legend Bill Coleman.

In 1968, Minister Goode of the United Church of Hespeler Ontario was looking to buy some canoes and could not find some decent canoes at a fair price. Bill Coleman knew how to work with fibreglass and the Minister knew about canoes. This was the innocent beginning of the Coleman Craft Canoe Company of Galt Ontario.



The virtually indestructible, stable fibreglass canoes came in different sizes and colours. Earlier models were heavy. Later models were significantly lighter. Bill`s canoes were popular throughout Ontario.

One day Bill received a letter from the camping giant Coleman Company threatening him with legal action if he did not stop using the Coleman name for this canoes. Bill fought them for over 5 years for the right to use his own name on the canoes.

Bill won that battle. Later canoes made by Bill had the his first name William put on top of the logo. Eventually Bill stopped making canoes and the legend of this Ontario canoe maker was forgotten.

On June 11th, 2016, we were lucky to have Bill come out to meet people who still owned his canoes. A great day with people sharing stories ensuring his canoe making legacy will be remembered.

Here is a good story from Greg Mercer of The Record - http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6719430-bill-coleman-cambridge-s-original-canoe-craftsman/

Coleman Craft Canoe Reunion
Coleman Craft Canoe Reunion Participants Hespeler, Ontario


Comments

  1. Great to read about this. Have had Colemancraft canoes in our family since before I was born. I wish I knew about the reunion of 2016. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My friend owns one of these canoes and has enjoyed it for years great boat great tripper for the bush

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Rare R. Forbes Mill Silent Film - Early Hespeler Ontario

Enjoy this film from the early 1900's showing the R Forbes Mill on Queen Street West. In 1874 Robert Forbes of Scotland purchased the Randall, Farr & Co. Woollen Mill on Queen St. West in Hespeler. The company was incorporated in 1888 as R. Forbes & Co. Ltd. with Robert's sons George and James serving as president and company director respectively. In 1895 with the passing of Robert and James, George took over full operation of the company building it into the largest textile mill in the British Commonwealth. George continued to lead the company until 1928 when it was sold to the Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Co. Ltd. Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd. came into Hespeler in 1928 when the company purchased the R. Forbes Company Ltd. mill at what is now Queen St. West in Cambridge. The company would operate in Hespeler until 1959 when it went into receivership and was purchased by Silknit. As the largest woollens and worsteds mill in the British colonies at the time, th

Miracle In Preston - The Story of the Preston Springs Hotel

Preston Spring Hotel Book The Miracle in Preston - Story of Preston Springs Hotel. In 2000 I published this small booklet. At that time the Preston Springs Hotel was bought and considerable renovations were being done. Unfortunately the owners went bankrupt. CLICK HERE to read and download the book.

Hespeler Railway Station Rare Video - Inside and Outside of the Station

I found this slide presentation of the station and updated it to a movie. Sad to watch in some ways. From a historical prospective it is priceless.