Publishing Three Times a Week

The Macdonald Notebook is your source for exclusive Business & Inside Politics publishing every Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.

The Latest Issue

Extra! Extra! Ultimate Power Couple Seeks Butler For Swish HFX Condo & Chester Cottage-Mansion: A Dream Post For The Lucky Job Seeker
We Get Mail: Reader Writes In From Chester Back Harbour: On Reports Of Americans Not Self-Isolating
We Get Mail: Reader Writes Mansion At South Park/Rhuland Charming
Alison Strachan This Week: A Very Berry Fabulous Recipe
Real Estate In A Pandemic: Sandra Bryant Is Firing On All Cylinders
Sandra Bryant Had A Ready Made Seller & Buyer In Her Realtor Database For 1029 South Park Street Deal
Halifax’s Tristan Mills Chats On Airbnb Trends In The City’s Downtown Core In A Pandemic
NS South Shore’s Jay Hiltz Chats On Airbnb Trends In A Pandemic
A Chat With Kings Journalism Prof Kim Kierans, Named To Panel Designed To Right Size Newspaper Industry In Canada
Ryerson’s Journalism Project: The Impact Of COVID On Canadian Media Outlets – Two Thousand Journalists Laid Off; Print Publications Suspend Or Permanently Killed Off
Saturday Edition, Below
Desmond Inquiry lawyer Adam Rodgers: ‘McNeil Government’s Northwood Review Does Not Inspire Confidence – Public Inquiry Would Have More Weight’
As Tales Of Visiting Americans In Nova Scotia Failing To Self-Isolate Grow, Premier Stephen McNeil & Tim Houston Address This Alarming File
MacPolitics: NDP Chief Gary Burrill Wades In On Tim Houston Giving ‘Ice’ To The Notebook
MacPolitics: The 2018 Notebook Story That Resulted In Tim Houston Giving Us The Cold Shoulder
Halifax’s Ross Jefferson: Demand For Hotel Rooms Exists, Five Projects On The Books For Metro Halifax
Keeping Tourism Local: ‘The Heart. Soul. Halifax!’ Campaign Aims To Get Haligonians To Explore Their City
Development: Szulewicz Brothers Buy Prime Corner At South Park & Rhuland Streets
Development: How The Szulewicz Brothers Paid Close To Asking Price For South Park & Rhuland Property
Development: Szulewicz Brothers With Strong Bonds In A Halifax Rental Market That Remains Strong
Nova Scotia Auditor General Michael Pickup’s Questions: The NSLC Response From Bev Ware
MacPolitics: NDP’s Gary Burrill Says McNeil Review At Northwood Falls Short Of Public Inquiry Into Nursing Home Deaths
MacPolitics: Northwood Covid-19 Stats & Figures, The McNeil Government Review Mandate
A Maritime Moment: Fishing Harbours Offer Artistic Scenery
Cottage Life Encore: Perfect Apps For Cottage, Boating, Camping & Golfing
The Summer Soundtrack: The Rankin Family’s ‘Gillis Mountain’ Takes Me Back To A Time Of Passage
The Class of 2020: Royden Trainor Addresses Grade 12 Grads; Pandemic Gives New Meaning To Marty Robbins Classic ‘A White Sports Coat & A Pink Carnation’
Wednesday Edition, Below
When The Soundtrack Turns To Songs Celebrating Our Great Nation, Songs By Stompin’ Tom & Roger Whittaker Celebrate The Good In Canada
Monday Edition, Below
Halifax Port: Attention Captain Gray, Lawyer John Young Should Be Top Of Mind For New Port-Community Liaison Committee

Sandy MacMillan On Enduring Popularity Of The Boat Show

Feb 2, 2018 | Transportation

By Andrew Macdonald

For the Maritime boating community, a yearly highlight in the winter months is the annual boat show being held Feb 8 -11 in the Halifax Exhibition Centre.

Chester boat names are charming. This boat is called Single Malt

T.S. Elliott once wrote April is the cruelest month of the year. He got it all wrong, of course, because February, in the dreary depths of winter, has got to be the worst month of the year.

Fisherman's Market: Seafood Delivered Overnight Throughout Canada

The annual boat show in the property that use to be known as Exhibition Park is the official start of boating season, when folk buy boats, have sails repaired, and start buying toys for their vessels. The popular show brings boaters and sailors from across the Maritimes.

To understand the popularity of the boat show, I spoke to sailing enthusiast Sandy MacMillan, who runs a prominent marine and sail making business, North Sails.

North Sails has a sail making shop in historic Lunenburg, and operates a 4,000-square foot retail store off of Joe Howe Drive in Halifax.

MacMillan has a large booth at the boat show, and tells The Macdonald Notebook that the weekend event usually attracts up to 8,000 boating enthusiasts.

A classic wooden boat in Chester’s Front Harbour.

He remembers way back when the boat show was held at the Halifax Forum, when Ross MacDonald was show promoter back in that distant era.

I remember my first time going to the boat show as a grade 8 student in 1982. It was held that year at the Metro Centre.

MacMillan tells The Macdonald Notebook that mega boat purchases can take place at the weekend long event.

“There’s a couple of types of people who go to the boat show,” he says. “There are the dreamers who go there and look and see what is new. There are guys who are in the boating cohort right now who might be interested in a new boat, and there are always folk moving laterally from sail to power.

“People move to sail to power when they get a little bit older, and circumstances change,” he tells The Macdonald Notebook.

“Power is still the overwhelming driver at any boat show. There are more power boats than sail boats on display.”

In recent years, the Nova Scotia government sold Exhibition Park to developers Norman Nahas and Besim Halef.

Last year, boat show event host Master Promotions, headquartered in New Brunswick, inked a five-year deal with Nahas and Halef to continue hosting the marine show at Halifax Exhibition Centre.

That turned out to be a major coup because Joe Ramia’s convention centre at Nova Centre in downtown Halifax can also easily handle the show, where large sail boats and power boats are displayed, along with supplier booths.

Nova Centre opened in December.

In Nova Scotia, more boating enthusiasts are turning to power boats. Older sailers are selling their harder to maintain sailboats, opting instead for power boats, MacMillan tells The Macdonald Notebook.

Many top Halifax biz folk boat take advantage of the region’s proximity to water. Commercial broker Bob Mussett has a Scout power boat after selling his Boston Whaler, while apartment landlord Phil Fraser has a Boston Whaler on the South Shore. Another leading apartment developer Jim Spatz also boats.

Wilson Fitt’s wooden boat, a Chester classic. He sails it with his wife, Thelma Costello.

Second generation developer Maurice Fares has a speed boat in St. Margaret’s Bay, while prominent Halifax undertaker Donald K. Walker prefers a sail boat to chop around the Nova Scotia coast line.

MacMillan sails out of the Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.

The 42-foot vessel is actually owned by his wife, Janet MacMillan, a seasoned PR guru at National PR, which has a Halifax office on Hollis Street.

MacMillan has also sailed in the famed Bras d’Or Lake in Cape Breton, once a mecca for Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone from his estate on a hill perched over Baddeck.

MacMillan was fond of sailing out of Dundee, where a popular marina built in 1982, was in recent years lamentably converted to a private mansion.

Former Buchanan minister Billy Joe MacLean use to boat out of Dundee, near the legendary Dundee Golf & Country Club.

At one time Boston Whaler was the workhorse vessel off Nova Scotia, and particularly in the waters of Mahone Bay.

That changed after Reebok bought out Boston Whaler in recent years, and then laid off middle management who went on to invent new boats, such as Scout that offer direct competition to Boston Whaler.

One of three of Donald Walker’s grandchildren took in Chester Race Week

“They all started new boat companies and all of a sudden the market got just as hell tough for Boston Whaler,” says MacMillan. “Scout was one new boat, there is also Pursuit and Edgewater. They all came on the market and are arguably better designed then Boston Whaler.”

MacMillan also says there is also a robust market for used boats on the South Shore, and boat brokerages like Mahone Marine and Chris LeBlanc of Chester are active in the used boat market.

LeBlanc is not yet 30, and began storing boats in the winter months on his parents property at St. Margaret’s Bay.

He is arguably the most knowledgeable expert on all things related to Boston Whaler – and has a Boston Whaler in summer months moored in Chester’s Front Harbour.

Return Home

Contact The Editor