Provincial plaque commemorates The Disappearing Propeller Boat

PORT CARLING, ON, Aug. 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Dispro Owners Association unveiled a provincial plaque commemorating The Disappearing Propeller Boat, a unique Canadian contribution to North American pleasure-boating history.

Today's unveiling took place at James Bartleman Island Park in Port Carling, Ontario, and was part of the Dispro Owners Association Centennial Celebration.

The plaque reads as follows:


Popularly known as the Dispro, or Dippy, this small boat was first built on this site in 1916 by the Disappearing Propeller Boat Company Limited.  Also manufactured elsewhere in Ontario and briefly in the United States, more than 3,000 were built and sold around the world when production ceased in 1956. Boat builder W.J. Johnston Jr. and machinist Edwin Rogers invented a device that allowed the propeller and shaft to be retracted manually or automatically into a protective housing while the engine was still running. This patented design offered protection from rocks just below the surface in lakes of the Canadian Shield. Built in several models ranging from 16 feet to 19 feet (4.9 metres to 5.8 metres), the boats were constructed of overlapping cypress planks fastened to steam-bent oak ribs. Most were powered by single cylinder, 3-horse power engines. Simple, versatile and durable, these boats were a common sight on Muskoka lakes. Dispros have made a unique contribution to North American pleasure-boating history.


"The Dispro drew international attention to Ontario and the Muskoka region by helping to establish the area as a destination for cottagers and boating enthusiasts. Built for Ontario waters, the Dispro is an important piece of our province's recreational history and I am pleased it is being recognized with a provincial plaque."
 – The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

"Built to navigate the waters of the Canadian Shield, the Dispro is intrinsically linked to the geographic and cultural landscape of the province. It has also been the source of many entertaining anecdotes. I am delighted that this great example of Ontarian ingenuity will be commemorated with a provincial plaque."
Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman, Ontario Heritage Trust

"The Dispro Owners Association is excited that a provincial plaque will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the invention of the Disappearing Propeller Boat. The rich heritage of wooden boat building in Muskoka is exemplified by these unique boats invented and built in Port Carling.  For a century these little motor boats have graced waterways near and far."
Mary Storey, President, Dispro Owners Association


  • The plaque will be permanently installed at 95 Joseph Street in Port Carling.

  • The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates provincially significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.

  • Since 1956, over 1,250 provincial plaques have been unveiled.



Find out more about the Ontario Heritage Trust and explore the Provincial Plaque Program.


The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

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Ontario Heritage Trust
Heritage Ontario

SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust

For further information: about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Catrina Colme at 416-325-5074 or


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