Long-standing Muskoka Family Business Celebrates 70 Years
As Port Sandfield Marina marks the beginning of the Summer of ’22, it also celebrates seven decades of servicing the people of Muskoka.
In 1952, when Alfred (Alf) Mortimer bought the property where PSM sits today, it was already hallowed ground for boat enthusiasts as the birthplace of the disappearing propeller boat, or “the Dippy” as it’s fondly known. A son in one of Muskoka’s early settlement families, Alf left the eponymous Mortimer’s Point to branch out on his own, purchasing the property and boatbuilding business in Port Sandfield in 1952 and gradually building up the marina and expanding it until his retirement in 1994. At that time, Alf’s son-in-law and grandson, John Sr. and Jonathan (Jr.) Blair took the reins. Alf, turning 99 in August, still frequents PSM when he’s out and about.
Witnesses to Change
Over seven decades, PSM has weathered huge changes in the boating industry and in Muskoka itself. Their business has grown and shifted to meet the needs of a shifting population and of different times. “John Sr. was something of a visionary when it came to seeing the potential of the business as a boutique shopping location,” recalls co-owner Nada Blair of her late father-in-law. “He shifted the business in ways that have really made it a destination in and of itself.”
The Boathouse and Lake Livin’ stores embody John Sr.’s vision of offering unique and affordable pieces that appeal to and support the Muskoka lifestyle. With a spacious 4,000 square feet of retail space, The Boathouse sits directly over the waters of Lake Joseph. Shoppers can view antique boats on display alongside a selection of offerings including cottage décor, fashions, outdoor furnishings, bath and beauty products, and more.
Boats for All Tastes
Like everything else, the boats pulling up to the marina have changed a lot since Alf’s days as proprietor. In the sixties, wood gradually gave way to fibreglass as the cottage market looked to technology to help reduce maintenance and increase longevity. Today, PSM celebrates the advances of technology while still maintaining strong ties to the classic boating industry. It includes classic and antique boats in its inventory alongside pre-owned and new watercraft representing brands like Tigé, Regal, ATX, and Hermes.
Located 25 minutes from Bracebridge at 1327 Peninsula Road, Port Sandfield Marina is one of the region’s longest-running family businesses. “We are proud to have served the Muskoka community for so many years,” says Nada. “Our goal is to continue to offer the best customer service possible and to play a unique role in the market here, as we have since Alf first opened the business in 1952.” Since Jonathan and Nada’s son, J.J., has joined the team, it’sa family legacy that runs four generations deep.
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