Chantry Island visitor number 25,000 surprised by dock reception

Those aboard the Peerless returning from their Chantry Island tour were surprised to see people waving flags at them from the shoreline at Southampton Harbour. Little did they know that aboard the boat was the 25,000th passenger to go to Chantry Island since the tours began.

Marine Heritage Society (MHS) members waited for the boat to dock and as the passengers disembarked, Chair of the MHS Eric Tolton gave them the news that someone on the tour was number 25,000 and then he announced the name, Bill Bruce.

                      (L) Eric Tolton explained to the visitors

Bruce stepped forward in surprise and was presented with a gift bag. “What a great surprise,” he said.

(L) MHS Board members John Willets, Eric Tolton, passenger Mary Jane Morrow, Rob Campbell,                  winning passenger Bill Bruce, board members Ed Braun, Jane Kramer and Vicki Tomori

He and his wife, Mary Jane Morrow, moved to Southampton six years ago after their friends Lloyd and Ardith Johnson introduced them to the community.  “We came for a visit and just loved it and finally decided to move here and bought a place on Morpeth Street.”

Morrow said that a prior trip to Chantry Island had been cancelled due to weather and they had re-booked for July 11th.  “We wanted to go and see what the trip was all about as our grandsons will want to go as soon as they grow a little as there is a height restriction.”

                        The visitors on the tour included the Krause family of Port Elgin

For larger view, Click on Image

The Chantry Island restoration took place over several years and was completed entirely by volunteers with no government funding.  It started as a group of seniors who formed what was called the Propeller Club.  It was very informal.  At the beginning, the Keeper’s Quarters entire building had fallen in on itself since no-one had used it for years after the light in the lighthouse was automated.

                                     All aboard the Peerless II

Today, the Island is completely maintained by volunteers of the Marine Heritage Society in addition to operating the tours with funds raised going back into the Island’s maintenance.  It is also a designated bird sanctuary and, therefore, the number of visitors is restricted.  Access to the Island is strictly monitored through the Marine Heritage Society through its summer tours.