Great Lakes Grand Banks Association holds annual rendezvous on Manitoulin

Members of the Great Lakes Grand Banks Association officially opened their 2016 Rendezvous with a dinner held in Gore Bay at the Red Roof Pavilion last week.

GORE BAY—For the first time in its history the Great Lakes Grand Banks Association 2016 Rendezvous was held on Manitoulin Island, with the official opening of the rendezvous taking place last Wednesday in Gore Bay.

“What a beautiful town and Island,” stated Jerry Brems, of Catawba Island, Ohio, at the opening reception dinner held at the Red Roof Pavilion. “This is our first time to the Island,” he said, noting, “my wife and I just bought a boat a year ago. We’ve enjoyed everything here, everyone is so helpful and friendly.”

Robert Falk, one of the two main organizers of this year’s Rendezvous, along with Robbie Colwell of Gore Bay, addressed those at the opening reception dinner. “First of all I would like to thank everyone for coming out here this week. It is you who make this club and this rendezvous what it is.”

“You will hear from Robbie (Colwell) in a few minutes; he was instrumental in pulling all of this together. He is the main organizer of this year’s Rendezvous along with his wife Stacey and daughter Jazmin,” said Mr. Falk. He pointed out not only did Mr. Colwell organize the dinner and facilities but the music for the evening provided by Art Hayden, Greg Wilkins and Jeff Dorosch.

While staying in Gore Bay for two days, a presentation was made to the group on the history of the Dodge family by Rick Nelson, and a fish fry dinner put on by the Gore Bay Rotary Club on Thursday evening, and members of the group then attending a Gore Bay Theatre production.

“I would like to thank everyone for joining us here in Gore Bay,” said Mr. Colwell, who thanked Mr. Falk for all the work he did in putting the rendezvous together.

Mr. Colwell pointed out the owners of 21 vessels were on hand for the Rendezvous, and he asked everyone to indicate where they are from. The list includes people from Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Little Current, Gore Bay and other areas throughout Ontario, and even one couple from Mexico.

“I want to recognize Lee Hayden, who is the harbour master for the town of Gore Bay. It was great working with you and your staff, Art and Julia Reece, who are representing Doug and Phyllis Smith this evening,” said Mr. Colwell. “And it is my great honour to introduce Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane and his wife Greta here this evening.”

“Thank you Robbie,” said Mayor Lane. “I see a number of our American friends here this evening, welcome to Ontario and specifically Gore Bay. I’m not up for election this year so I have nothing partisan to say. But we are watching what is going on in the US—I don’t think a wall can be built around the Great Lakes, or we wouldn’t all be here,” he quipped.

“On behalf of the council for the town of Gore Bay I would like to say how happy we are that you have chose Gore Bay for the start to your Rendezvous. I know a number of you have been coming to Gore Bay for a number of years,” said Mayor Lane. He pointed out over the past 20 years there have been many improvements and changes made at the Gore Bay marina, including the latest being the new breakwall at the marina.

“Again, I want to thank you for coming to Gore Bay and hope you will all come back in the future,” said Mayor Lane. “Robbie is an excellent host, he knows these waters like the back of his hand. He is probably the best public relations guy we have on the West End of the Island.”

“I hope that you and your group have a good time here in Gore Bay and while on the Island,” said Mayor Lane.

“I would like to thank you for your kind words,” said Mr. Colwell. “I need to thank the Town of Gore Bay for all your support and help you provided; there was no hesitation, everything we needed we got including the use of this building (Pavilion) for two days.” As well he pointed out welcome bags provided to each of the members of the Grand Banks crew was heavy and full with locally made products by local businesses. “I would like to thank Greg (Wilkins) and his band for providing the entertainment tonight.”

Mr. Colwell also acknowledged the efforts of Mr. Falk, “who is the major organizer of the rendezvous. He has his finger on everything. Without Robert none of this would have taken place. He is an amazing man, and beautiful to work with along with his wife Diane.”

Mr. Falk told the Recorder that this is the 30th Rendezvous the GLGBA has held. “We have members from all over the Great Lakes, including quite a few Canadians. And we have members from every one of the Great Lakes, with over 100 members in total.” He pointed out most members own traditional trawlers. “And we have members of all ages, even kids.”

He pointed out with this year’s Rendezvous being the first held on Manitoulin, we have special red burgees for the members boats. “Last night we docked in Meldrum Bay and had a wonderful time there. We are in Gore Bay for two nights, then will travel to Little Current for one night,” said Mr. Falk. “We will also be visiting the Benjamin Islands, Whalesback Island and John Harbour.”

“On this rendezvous we have about 56 members on hand,” said Mr. Falk, who was on the boat Thunder Struck and is from St. Louis, Missouri.