OPP's First Patrol Boat was in Temagami
Part 3: series on historic boats
In 1949, the Ontario Provincial Police launched its first patrol boat. Where? On Lake Temagami. On May 25, 2011, Boat One was preserved in The OPP Museum in Orillia, alongside its road counterpart, Cruiser One.
The first police boat was not on the Great Lakes? You got it. It seems the OPP then, and today, didn't have primary patrol responsibility on the Great Lakes.
Back then the OPP had yet to receive any jurisdication on the water anywhere. (That changed in 1961, with the exception of the Great Lakes.) Boat use was limited to moving officers to islands and remote locations. But without their own fleet, officers had to use whatever was locally available.
"The OPP tried to give up knocking on doors and borrowing boats," museum curator Chris Johnstone said.
The boat's commissioning marked the creation of the OPP's Marine Unit. It also launched an identical boat on Lake of the Woods that year, though only the Temagami's whereabouts is known.
"It was easy to drive but I couldn't find the brake," the first driver told Johnstone.
In the mid-1960s the force decided to upgrade to a lower maintenance, non-wood boat that could carry more passengers. Temagami was auctioned off as surplus.
It was in near-perfect condition when acquired by Friends of The OPP Museum from its owner in North Bay. The museum is keeping it in operating order.
The 1950s was a time when wooden boats ruled the waves. As a boy at my family's cottage on the Northeast Arm, I saw every boat pass by.
I remember the big wash on the OPP's boat, one of the fastest on the lake. The foamy white throw to the starboard and port was impossible to mistake.
Though wakeless now, you can visit it in Orillia. The admission is free and there is direction signage from Hwy 11.
Boat One today
BACKGROUND: Friends newsletter (PDF)
Marine Unit (PDF)
Images courtesy of The OPP Museum
If you have photos, anecdotes or information you would like to contribute on Temagami's first OPP boat,
Boat One on display. The resemblance to a period auto is unmistakable. It had gas and brake pedals and hand-crank windows. Little work had to be done on it and it came with most of the original fittings and equipment: siren, fenders, chrome name plates on the stern, V6 engine, life ring, and brass-tipped docking pole.
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