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Makers Rendezvous 2019 Retrospective

Video by Andrew Szeto / Photos by Trevor Connell

After months of planning and preparation, the Makers Rendezvous finally took place on September 14, 2019. If you followed us online in the lead up you probably watched the roster of presenters grow along with us: from an original core of longtime collaborators, the list grew to include over sixty businesses and artisans. On behalf of everyone at Bear Mountain Boats we'd like to thank all the participants, volunteers, and attendees who made it work.

After a brief scare with some rainy, gusty weather Saturday morning, the weather cleared and gave us exactly the day we'd been hoping for. The Makers Rendezvous was well-attended, which was especially gratifying considering how far many presenters had traveled to take part. We had visitors from across Canada, makers from New York, Missouri, and Texas, and other international guests.

A big thank you is due to Lee Valley Tools, who sponsored the event and brought a range of fascinating demos, like a vintage foot-powered lathe (and a special nod goes to Lee Valley rep Pat "Le PicBois" Laperrière for his tireless help promoting the Rendezvous). As one of our marquee names, Jimmy DiResta gave not one but two highly engaging talks in between his letterpress demonstrations. Author Kevin Callan brought the crowd out of the presenters tent for a hands-on look at camping gear.

One of our goals with the Makers Rendezvous was to cast a wider net and bring in craftspeople from outside the core community of boatbuilders. We're always happy to talk boats, but it was nice to be able to offer something for almost everybody: we had visual artists, blacksmiths, naturalists, furniture makers, foodies, historians and more. The kid-friendly cardboard boatbuilding event culminated in race across Westport Harbour, and we capped it all off with an incredible dinner and campfire jam at Scheuermann Vineyard and Winery.

There are simply too many people who helped make it a success to thank individually: Soho's, for providing us with a venue. Our Supporter Ticket purchasers, who helped cover the many costs associated with running an event of this scale. The volunteers who gave their time and expertise to a new project, especially Ann Bellefeuille for coordinating so many details. Trevor Connell of What's On Westport has already done a fantastic job of documenting the event for us visually, so we recommend checking out his recap here. Thanks too to Andrew Szeto for putting together the video embedded above.

Many people have asked whether the Rendezvous will be an annual event, but at this point there are no plans to host another one in 2020. Right now we're focused on taking a short rest, getting caught up in the workshop and office, and basking in the afterglow of a weekend with an absurdly talented group of people.


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