Nanaimo Boat Modellers

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       IN MEMORY OF DOUG ALLEN  FEB. 25, 1929-FEB.17, 2011

                       A LITTLE BIT OF DOUG'S HISTORY

                                 A YOUNGER DOUG

          COPIED FROM THE TIMES COLONIST:  Amy Smart

DON'T BOTHER ASKING WHAT DOUG ALLEN ENJOYED BEYOND THE OCEAN. 

"THAT WOULD BE LIKE ASKING "PICASSO" WHAT HE LOVED BESIDES PAINTING".  SAYS HIS SON GORDIE.  "HE WAS ALL ABOUT THE WATER, HE WASN'T INTO ANYTHING ELSE.  THE WATER WAS HIS LOVE."

THE LIFELONG MARINER TURNED MODEL SHOPBUILDER DIED IN FEBRUARY 2011 OF CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE, AT 81.  BUT HIS 35 INTRICATELY CRAFTED MODEL SHIPS REMAIN, AS A INVALUABLE RECORD OF LOCAL MARINE HISTORY.

THESE MODELS REPRESENT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TYPES OF BOATS THAT WERE USED IN BC HISTORY, SAYS LUCIAN PLOIAS, THE VANCOUVER MARITIME MUSEUM'S SHIP MODEL MAKER.  HE CALLED THE WOODEN VESSELS "THE "WORKHORSES OF THE FISHING INDUSTRY".

"THERE ARE NOT MANY IN THE WORLD LIKE THEM", HE SAYS.  "IN THE FUTURE MOST OF THESE FISHING BOATS WILL BECOME EXTINCT".DOUG'S MODELS WILL BE SEEN AS LONG AS THE MUSEUM KEEPS THEM. 

DOUG'S AWARD WINNING MODELS, CRAFTED WITHOUT KITS OR PREFABRICATED PLANS , ARE ON DISPLAY AT MANY MUSEUM'S, INCLUDING TEH BC FORESTRY DISCOVERY CENTRE AND THE GULF OF GEORGIA CANNERY.

A SERIES CALLED "100 YEARS OF GILLNETTING" AT THE VANCOUVER MARITIME MUSEUM SHOWS THE EVOLUTION OF THE FISHING BOATS THAT HAVE WORKED THE COAST OF BC FOR THE PAST CENTURY.

NEARLY EVERY SHIP HE MODELLED WAS USED ON THE FRASER RIVER AND ALONG THE COAST AS FAR NORTH AS HAIDA GWAII, ACCORDING TO DOREENE PAULSEN, WHO COMPILED A CATALOGUE OF HIS WORK CALLED DOUG'S TUGS.

THE MOST REMARKABLE THING ABOUT HIS MODELS, SAYS PAULSEN, WAS THE AMAZING DETAILS HE IMAGINED--FINGERNAIL-SIZED COFFEE MUGS, ON TABLES, OVERTURNED BUCKETS ON SHIPS DECKS--THE KIND OF DETAILS THAT INJECT LIFE INTO CRAFT.

"IT'S MORE OF AN INTIMATE HISTORY OF FISHING BOATS", SHE SAYS.

DOUG DIDN'T DEVOTE SIGNIFICANT TIME TO BUILDING MINIATURES UNTIL LATER IN LIFE.  BUT WHEN HE DID, HE WAS IN A GOOD POSITION TO RE-CREATE THAT KIND OF PERSONAL HISTORY, HAVING LIVED AND BREATHED IT.

AT 12, HE CRAWLED THROUGH THE JAPANESE FISHING BOATS COMMON TO THE BC COAST, MEMORIZING THEIR JOINERY AND THE CURVE OF THEIR BOWS. 

HIS FIRST JOB WAS LIVERING DOGFISH FOR WARTIME OIL.  HE ALSO WORKED IN HIS YOUTH IN CANNERIES, ONBOARD FISH PACKERS AND IN MAINTENANCE--WORKING WITH INTERNATIONAL BOATERS, BOOTLEG TRADERS, AND OTHER SEAFARERS.

"BACK IN THOSE DAYS, WHEN KIDS TURNED 16 AND GOT A LITTLE BIT RAMBUNCTIOUS, THEY EITHER WENT LUMBERJACKING OR FISHING--AND FOUND OUT WHAT HARD WORK IS ALL ABOUT", SAYS HIS WIDOW ROSEMARY.

"HE REALLY FELT THAT FISHING WAS SUCH A BIG PART OF BC , THAT SHOULD BE CAPTURED. 

ROSEMARY MET DOUG WHEN SHE WAS 15.  NOT TOO LONG AFTER, SHE NOTICED HIM CARVING SOMETHING.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"  ROSEMARY ASKED. 

"I'M BUILDING A BOAT FOR OUR MANTEL," DOUG RESPONDED. 

IT WAS HIS "LEFT-HANDED" WAY OF PROPOSING, ROSEMARY SAYS WITH A LAUGH.  "HE WAS JUST A BALL OF ENERGY AND HE MADE ME LAUGH.  THAT WAS IT."

THEY BUILT A LIFE TOGETHER OUT OF MODEST MEANS, BUT GREAT LOVE.

DOUG TOLD ROSEMARY'S SISTER THAT EVERY MORNING, HE'D PUT HIS FEET ON TEH FLOOR AND ASK HIMSELF, "WHAT CAN I DO TODAY TO MAKE ROSEMARY HAPPY?"  EACH DAY WAS A SURPRISE, ROSEMARY SAYS.

ONE DAY DOUG WAS BUILDING A PLEASURE CRAFT FOR THE FAMILY.

HE STUCK HIS HEAD IN THE KITCHEN AND SAID, "THERE'S ROOM FOR A NET....WANT TO GO GILLNETTING?"  ROSEMARY SAYS.

SO THEY HOPPED ABOARD WITH THEIR TWO YOUNG BOYS, GORDIE AND BOB, AND WENT NORTH---FOR THREE YEARS.

"IT WAS HIGH ADVENTURE, YOU KNOW,"  GORDIE SAYS OF BEING RAISED AT SEA. 

"WE GREW UP ON THE WATER UNTIL I WAS 16.  WHEN OTHER KIDS HAD BIKES, WE HAD BOATS."

TO THE CHAGRIN OF FELLOW BOATERS, THE BOYS COULD MANOEUVRE THE 26-FOOT FAMILY TUGBOAT AROUND A HARBOUR WITH EASE BY AGE 12.

THOUGH HE MAY BE BEST REMEMBERED FOR HIS MINIATURES, DOUG BUILT HIS LIVING BY HAND--INCLUDING THREE FAMILY HOMES, A DREDGE, A POWER BARGE, FISHING BOAT, PLEASURE CRAFT AND EVEN A SAWMILL OUTFITTED WITH A SHERMAN TANK.

HE HAD AN INDUSTRIOUS ATTITUDE ABOUT BUILDING AND A REMARKABLE PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY THAT MEANT HE COULD RE-CREATE SOMETHING ACCURATELY WITHOUT PHOTOGRAPHS OR DETAILED PLANS.

AFTER STUDYING A 671 DIESEL TUGBOAT IN A HARBOUR, WHERE HE WORKED, HE CAME HOME TO ROSEMARY AND ASKED HER TO PULL OUT SOME BROWN BUTCHERS' PAPER.  WITH ONLY A PENCIL, HE MAPPED OUT A PLAN FOR THE BOAT AND BEGAN BUILDING, CARVING, THE HULL FROM YELLOW CEDAR HE FOUND ON SHORE, ACCORDING TO GORDIE.

"HE COULD LOOK AT SOMETHING AND IT WAS IN HIS MIND AND THAT WAS IT," SAYS ROSEMARY.  " HE WAS KIND OF A BUILDER AND A DREAMER".

"IN SOME WAYS HE WAS A GENIUS--PEOPLE HAVE TOLD ME THAT AND I QUITE AGREE," SHE SAYS. 

ONCE HE PASSED BY A BOAT RETAILER AND  NOTICED THEY CARRIED THE SAME MOTORS HE'D CREATED FROM MEMORY ON A MINIATURE MODEL OF LIFEBOATS ABOARD THE COASTAL MISSION BOAT.

"HE SAID, LET'S STOP BY THE BOAT PLACE HERE, I JUST WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT SOMETHING," SAYS ROSEMARY.  SURE ENOUGH, HIS REPLICAS WERE EXACTLY ACURATE.

WHEN HE WAS BUILDING SOMETHING HE BACAME QUIETLY CONSUMED WITH THE WORK.

"YOU CAN SEE THERE'S NO DOOR INTO WHAT HE'S DOING," SAYS GORDIE.  "HE WAS INDUSTRIOUS AND INDIVIDUAL IN HIS EFFORTS...PROBABLY THE MOST INDUSTRIOUS PERSON I WILL EVER SET EYES ON."

OF COURSE, AS SOON AS HE TOOK A BREAK FROM WORKING, HE WAS BACK TO HIS SOCIAL, ENERGETIC SELF, HE SAYS.

"IT WAS THE MOST ADVENTUROUS LIFE, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN," ROSEMARY SAYS.

ROBERT DOUGLAS ALLEN WAS BORN IN VANCOUVER'S POINT GREY ON FEB. 25, 1929 AND DIED FEB. 17, 2011  IN COBBLE HILL. 

                                       OUR BRAG PAGE

WE HAVE SO MANY INTERESTING MEMBERS WITH SO MANY STORIES TO TELL THAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUN TO HAVE A PAGE TO LEARN ABOUT EACH OTHER.  I AM VERY EXCITED THAT STEVE STEVENS WILL BE OUR FIRST MEMBER HERE ON THIS PAGE.  THIS ARTICLE ABOUT STEVE WAS PRINTED IN THE NANAIMO MAGAZINE IN MAY OF 2012.  I UNFORTUNATLY LOST THE FIRST COPY THAT STEVE WAS KIND ENOUGH TO BRING TO ME SO DICK COPLAND WAS GREAT ABOUT REPLACING IT WITH HIS.  THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU GUYS. 

               ALASTAIR STEVENS...A LOCAL HERO. 

MANY THANKS TO MAC'S WIFE FOR GETTING THIS INFORMATION TO THE CLUB TO BE SHARED WITH EVERYONE.

 

        IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF ARTHUR (MAC) MCDONALD

ARTHUR (MAC) MCDONALD WAS A TALENTED AND CREATIVE CARPENTER, CABINET MAKER AND MACHINIST.  MAC ALWAYS LOVED SAILING SHIPS, AND WORKING WITH TRAINS, PLANES AND ANTIQUES CARS.  A HISTORY BUFF THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE HE WOULD RESEARH HIS SUBJECTS IN ORDER TO LEARN THEIR STORIES.  

MAC LOVED BUILDING HIS MODELS AND OFTEN SAID THE JOY WAS IN THE BUILDING BECAUSE HE WAS A "DOER AND NOT A SITTER". 

 ONCE ASKED WHAT IT TOOK TO BUILD  THESE BEAUTIFUL MODELS HE REPLIED, "AN UNDERSTANDING WIFE!". 

AMONG HIS MOST TREASURED POSSISSIONS WAS THE "PUBLIC CHOICE" AWARD FOR HIS MODELSHIP "NORSKE LOVE." 

 AS WELL AS BEING A MEMBER OF THE MID VANOUVER ISLAND MARINE MODELLERS CLUB, (OR THE LITTLE BOAT CLUB) AS HE CALLED IT, HE GOT ENORMOUS PLEASURE IN BEING THEIR "PR" MAN, AND IN REPRESENTING THEM TO THE PUBLIC, WHO ALWAYS GREATLY APPRECEITED HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THE MODELS, THEIR CONSTRUCTION, AND HISTORY.  MAC WORE MANY HATS IN HIS LIFE.  CARNIVAL WORKER, PRIVATE DETECTIVE, RACE CAR DRIVER, NIGHT CLUB SINGER, BOXER, CHAMPION DISTANCE SWIMMER ARE JUST A FEW.  MAC LOVED TO FISH AND WAS AN EXCELLENT ARCHER AND A CRACK SHOT.  MAC WENT TO SCHOOL WITH EDDY ARNOLD, AND SANG ON STAGE WITH HANK SNOW.  HE LIVED FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS WITH THE MICMAC CHIEF, WHO WAS A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY, AND BECAME PERFECTLY BILINGUAL.  HE EVEN REPRESENTED THE NOVA SCOTIA MICMAC IN INTER-TRIBAL CANOE RACES AND LED THEM TO A CONTROVERSIAL WIN.  CONTROVERSIAL BECAUSE OF COURSE MAC WAS NOT "FIRST NATION". 

WARM, FUNNY, KIND, AND GENEROUS HE WAS ALWAYS INTERESTED ON OTHER PEOPLE.  THERE WAS NOTHING TO BIG OR SMALL IN THIS WORLD THAT MAC DIDN'T NOTICE IT.  EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE MATTERED TO HIM.  MAC WAS ACTIVE, AND ENERGETIC, STANDING STRAIGHT AND TALL.  HIS FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND NEIGHBOURS NEVER NOTICED MAC GROW OLD. 

THE THINGS MAC LOVED MOST IN HIS LIFE WERE, HIS WIFE, FISHING, AND MODEL BOAT BUILDING.  THIS INCLUDED REMOTE CONTROLLED MODELS. 

MAC WAS NEVER SO HAPPY AS WHEN HIS WORK WAS SEEN AND APPRECIATED. 

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