In 1967, to honour the 100th anniversary of Canada, five boating enthusiasts decided to start a club. Little did they realize, at the time, that in the year 2017, their club would grow to over 600 members, with 154 regular members as boat owners.
An association was formed and they all met at a workshop at the B&M Marina. They held their first meetings at one of the boat sheds until the Hamilton Bay water rose so high they had to move! At this time, there was no official name for the club. Members were often referred to as the Bitchers and Moaners (from B&M).
The first clubhouse building was actually dragged across the ice from Ship Street to near the present location of the Hamilton Harbour police headquarters and placed at the bottom of Picton Street where it stands to this day. The owners at the time claimed squatter’s rights. Later the original seven members bought the building.
There were a few problems working out the purchase of a squatter’s cabin with no deeds, but they hired a good lawyer who sorted things out. A “key club” was established and new members were charged $5 for key.
In 1978, the second building upgrade occurred. The city wouldn’t allow expansion of the original cottage clubhouse, so with the help of a Wintario grant, two portable buildings were grafted together and put on
a pontoon raft. The floating clubhouse was left on the ice in front of the original cottage. It still stands at the back of the property and is used as a clubhouse for the Knot-a-Breast Team. This arrangement lasted a few months and then the city decided it was ok to have a new club house on land. A crane placed the new structure on a cement pad and the pontoons were recycled into the floating docks. This club house lasted until 1997, when construction was started on our present, striking ship-inspired clubhouse.
MBYC also supports numerous community events and groups. The original cottage clubhouse is home to the award winning Knot-a-Breast Dragon Boat Team. They have weekly practices on the Bay and keep their rowing sculls at the club. Through generous member’s donations, various charities are supported in the city. We are part of the local community and the community is part of us.
Our social membership numbers are climbing as the Dart League, Library Club, Euchre Club, Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, Hamilton North End residents groups and committees, Firefighters Retirement Group, Electrical Union, John Howard Society, and other various groups, are active users of our facilities.
To celebrate our 50th Anniversary we participated in Doors Open Hamilton on Sunday, May 7th. We had over 300 Doors Open visitors visit the club that day.
We had an exciting day! The room was filled with visitors enjoying the interactive displays from the Power & Sail Squadron, Hamilton Bay Sailing Club, Knot-A-Breast Dragon Boat Team, Beach Canal Lighthouse House Group, and the Upper Canada Antique Out Board Motor Club Inc. Kids had selfies taken with Pirate Captain Brian & Captain John. Children made fancy pirate hats and had their faces painted. Antique boats and cars were also on display.
We look forward to the next 50 years on Hamilton’s Waterfront.