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The tale of Winnipeg’s yacht club

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Recently, The Times brought forward information on the history of the Buchanan Marina site at the foot of the Louise Bridge, and the steps that have been taken to preserve the site  by acknowledging the history of this location and its importance.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to provide some information about the site through my volunteer work at this location.

Winnipeg has had very few locations over the years offering boating enthusiasts the opportunity to have a boat moored at locations along the great rivers that we are very fortunate to have for our enjoyment.

Inside the perimeter over the years, there has been the Kildonan Yacht Club, Pritchard Boat Yard, Redboine Yacht Club and even Grapes Pier Seven had docks available for seasonal mooring in the past.

Outside the perimeter, we also have the Royal Manitoba Yacht Club in West St. Paul, which continues to offer excellent amenities for the boating community.

A fully serviced yacht club came alive after Buchanan Marina was closed in the late 1980’s. The yacht club stayed there from 1985 until 1997.

The site was operated as the Point Douglas Yacht Club (PDYC) upon the demise of Buchanan Marine.  A group of likeminded boating individuals realized there was still a strong demand within the Winnipeg boating community.

A group of Winnipeg business folks were able to negotiate a lease with the province, which owned the site, and continued on with a viable boating club that provided many hours of enjoyment for over a decade at this location.

Over the years we were able to offer daily boat ramp service, summer winter storage, cradle pull-out service for larger owners who did not have trailers or for boats that were too large to have trailers. This was a very important, much-needed service for the Winnipeg boating community.

Great times were had over the years with barbecues and pancake breakfast fundraisers being organized during those long lazy days of summer. It was very common to see boaters getting together very early in the day for good times and fellowship when the sun was shining!

PDYC was always recognized as a great place to go and was an important part of the Winnipeg boating community. With all operations being run and financed by a core of volunteers, who were dedicated to ensuring Winnipeg had a great place available that offered a safe place to moor your boat and a great place to enjoy the rivers of our great province.

The Red River was very predictable for seasonal use up until about 1988. After that, we would notice what we still see today— the increasing flows and summer high water— which made it very difficult to maintain docks in a safe manner due to the fluctuating water levels.

During the 1997 flood we saw the water spill the banks at this location and submerge our riverside clubhouse. After the Flood of the Century, it was decided that we as a volunteer group felt that it was unfortunate, but very apparent, that the Point Douglas Yacht Club had sailed it last voyage.

The province, in turn, entered negotiations with the City of Winnipeg and as of today it still remains as a launch site for boating enthusiasts to use.

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