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Important people in TOLKA's Life
TOLKA has been on the planet for approximately 84 years. TOLKA was owned by the Lash family in Muskoka Ontario before she was found in the woods in 2005. Since then the Anderson family from Minnesota, essentially her second owner, has restored her to her original condition and as a result she will likely out live many of us. There are many aspects of TOLKA and the people around her that are worthy of celebration. Here are a few of the characters that have played a significant role in her life.
A major collector of unique antique wooden boats is the most important person in the resurrection of TOLKA because he undertook the challenge to restore TOLKA to the highest possible standard of quality and authenticity. He has arranged to tour TOLKA to seven boat shows in North America during the summer season to share the boat and her history with as many people as possible. He also facilitated a web site to expand the access to all the historical information and current success of TOLKA. He commissioned Timothy Du Vernet to publish a beautiful photo book on TOLKA that can be seen on the web site. Wooden boat lovers are indebted to Lee Anderson.
Casey worked with Alexander Graham Bell for 16 years building planes and boats until Bell died in 1922. He took over the Alexander Graham Bell Laboratories and kept building boats until 1933. He was a partner of Bell's, a skilled engineer and a brilliant designer. He made Bell's ideas come to life. He built TOLKA as an all weather water limousine for his brother-in-law in 1928 with quite a unique dual drive set up. His building style was different than builders in Muskoka but every bit as fine. He would be very happy to see her back in original condition.
Peter Breen (Rockwood Ontario) - Peter is renowned as one of the best wooden boat restoration artists in North America. His restorations and Peter Breen boats regularly win multiple awards at Boat Shows. He is passionate about getting all the details of a restoration exactly correct. He has accumulated a large inventory of original hardware and when it has to be replaced , new castings are made with total precision. He appreciates all the history associated with boats and makes every effort to accumulate as much as possible. TOLKA is a testament to his craft and all his skills. Peter is one of the few restorers that is as good with getting the mechanical operation to work as he is good with the wood.
John K. Lash (Deceased) - There were a number of Lash's in TOLKA's life, but this one appears to be the one that started it all with the order. John K. was Bell and Baldwin's lawyer and patent attorney. His sister was married to Baldwin and they obviously had a pretty close relationship. John K. and his wife and family used TOLKA extensively for a number of years on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka Ontario.
Tony Lash (Toronto, Ontario) - Tony was a grandson of John K. and was responsible for re-launching TOLKA in the 1950s after she had been stored in the boathouse for a while. He and his siblings modified it and used it for water skiing and summer work. He has a sentimental attachment to TOLKA and treasures the original clock and pennant. He has also been the main contact person for making all of the family historical information available for the celebration of TOLKA.
Bev McMullen (Bracebridge, Ontario) - Bev is a very well known and very capable photographer in Muskoka. She has a real love for wooden boats and has photographed hundreds for table coffee books and newspapers. She also takes wonderful nature pictures and one day while strolling through the woods discovered TOLKA peeking out from under the snow. She saw a potential story of a boat being recovered and called her friend Peter Breen and asked him to have a look. So without Bev, we might not have TOLKA today because the area was scheduled for re-development in a few months and it would have been buried by a bulldozer forever.