John G. Mackay


One of the last people still around who grew up on the boats of Port Elgin harbour, John G. Mackay was born at 212 Green Street, near that harbour on November 14, 1936. He attended the local public school on Stafford Street and the high school on Goderich Street. After graduating, he attended the University of Michigan and then went to Port Huron, Michigan, graduating from Port Huron Junior College as an Associate in Science. He then began a course from the Westlawn School of Yacht Design.

He joined Ontario Hydro as a station draftsman at the Douglas Point Nuclear Station in 1964, retiring in 1993. While working, he completed courses from the Wooden Boat School to become an accredited Marine Surveyor, and continues to conduct surveys, specializing in yachts and small craft. John has completed most of the Canadian Power and Sail boating courses, and taught some of these for many years.

He has been involved with the Southampton-based Marine Heritage Society for several years. Each summer he serves as one of their tour boat captains, glad that people can once again board a boat for a ride back in history to Chantry Island.

John met Joan Marshall at Sunset Lodge in Port Elgin one summer and they were married in 1970 and have lived on Green Street, Port Elgin. Their daughter, Kathleen, has as much love of the water as the rest of the family.

John says, “I have many fond memories of growing up at the harbour and riding on the RESTLESS with my dad and Addie Cairns. As I grow older, history seems more important and I realize that if my experiences are not recorded, they will be lost.”