For queries about the 140 year history of Bay of Quinte Yacht Club, please contact Club Historian Susan Smith
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BAY OF QUINTE YACHT CLUB
The first official records of the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club indicate that the BQYC was originally formed in October, 1876. Full yachting activities commenced the following season. The first Commodore of BQYC, Thomas Kelso was at the helm of a new yacht club that boasted a compliment of eighteen to twenty members and eleven yachts.
The Bay of Quinte Yacht Club was one of the four founding members of the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA). The other three founding members of LYRA were the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Oswego Yacht Club, and Toronto Yacht Club. The first Lake Yacht Racing Association races were a series of regattas held in Toronto, Oswego, Kingston, and Belleville. The Belleville LYRA Regatta was sailed on August 12, 1885 in Big Bay.
Activity at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club lessened at the turn of the century and ceased altogether with the advent of the First World War.
*It is of interest to note that the recorded annual BQYC dues for the year 1922 were ten dollars.
Interest in yachting on the Bay of Quinte resumed following World War One. Many regattas, including LYRA, and other yachting events occurred during the next several racing seasons. This interest was short-lived. Few records of BQYC Club activity can be found relating to the years 1926 to 1950, however, informal sailing races were held on the Bay of Quinte during the 1930's.
Following the Second World War, local yachtsmen showed interest in resurrecting the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club. In the fall of 1951, thirty-five yachting enthusiasts met at the Wharf Street Debating Club. Among those in atttendance at this meeting were Bill Bell, Bob Boyce, Ernie Colebourne, Morley Smith, and Elwood Wickerson. BQYC was reborn.
Mr. J.J. Morch was elected as Commodore of the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club for the term 1951 - 1953.
At the 1951 meeting, it was decided that a Clubhouse would be built at the site of an old swimming pool located at the southern end of Victoria Park. The swimming pool was filled in and parts of the pool were used for the new building's foundation. Part of the present Clubhouse was built in 1952 over an old bathhouse that existed on the site. The Clubhouse was approximately forty-three feet long and thirty-three feet wide. The construction of the BQYC Clubhouse could not have been completed without BQYC members contributing many hours of manual labour as well as money and materials.
In 1978, the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club played an active role in the City of Belleville's Centennial Year Celebrations. A historical booklet, "Yachting on Belleville Waters", was published by BQYC under the leadership and guidance of Commodore Bud Simmons. A Centennial Sailpast was planned for July 1,1978 by a committee of BQYC members chaired by Pete Petto. Approximately three hundred boats from around Lake Ontario joined local boaters for this event.