Walter Dean Canoe & Boat Co.

Creator of the famous Sunnyside Cruiser, the Klondike Sectional Canoe and the Sunnyside Torpedo, Walter Dean was born in England in 1864 and came to Orillia, Ontario with his family before he was two. At the age of nineteen he went to Toronto to work with Harry F. Hodson, a builder of skiffs and other light craft. In 1888 he was well enough established to open the High Park Boat House at Sunnyside on the western outskirts of the city. For thirty-five years he designed and built boats of many kinds, and made a special reputation for fast racing canoes.

Walter Dean retired in 1918, leaving the boat-building business in the hands of his sons, Gilbert and Edgar. But by 1923, other pressures had forced them to close up shop for good. From 1944 to 1947, Walter Dean’s youngest son – Walter II – made an effort to revive the old business, but without lasting success. The brilliant autumn maple leaf was among the most distinctive of the trade-marks used by Canada’s old-time canoe builders. Walter Dean died on June 18, 1952 and is buried in the Park Lawn Cemetery in Toronto.