The Silver Belle

How a storied boat found its way to YK’s yacht club

verse by Anthony Foliot

The Silver Belle was a broken shell of a boat one day I found

So I took the doors and looted the drawers as it sat in the dumping ground

Cause old things, they appeal to me… and well… old boats even more

And the boat was awash in memories, and I salvaged the toilet door

Yes the history of the Silver Belle

It sure goes back a way

I haven’t all the details

But this is what they say…

The boat was built back in ’44, by Benson’s Boat Works of B.C.

It was for the Navy, during the war, and served as a Y.F.P.

Now a Y.F.P. as far as I can see, ferried personnel back and forth

But it’s all still a mystery to me, of how the boat ended up North

Y.F.P 12 ferried personnel

Between ships on Esquimalt Bay

I’m not sure of what happened next

But this is what they say …

In the ‘40s, the ‘50s, or maybe just ‘60s, there’s no one around who can say

When it plied the waters of Great Bear Lake from Labine Point to Cameron Bay

And (yet) the Silver Belle would take out fishing, the boys from the silver mine

But the facts get pretty fuzzy here cause history fades with time

Just picture the mine boss and his partners

Cruising Echo Bay

I’m not sure when exactly

But this is what they say

Then back in the winter of ‘76, some truckers shook hands in the cold

With the old man, who owned the mine, and the Silver Belle was sold

Ol’ Robinson had the Vee-plow, Dave Lorenzen at the wheel

They had each paid five hundred bucks, and were happy with the deal

Now the Silver Belle’s on a Hi-boy, with a snowstorm in the mix

Down Hottah Lake and Beaverlodge behind a six-by-six

The story’s getting stronger now

The facts are as they lay

I listened to some old guys

And this is what they say…

It was south through Dog-rib country, over frozen bog and slough

Then finally, it came through town, down Franklin Avenue

Then resting in the Old Town, the Silver Belle on blocking

Lorenzen paid an old boy to do the plank re-caulking

But it wouldn’t see the water yet, Lorenzen’s deal was trucks

So he sold the boat, to Skipper Dave, for a mere three thousand bucks

Old Skipper Dave he fixed her up

And launched her on the bay

A couple of my friends were there

And this is what they say…

The Silver Belle on Great Slave Lake was leaky, but mostly sound

Powered by a Cummins … two hundred horse, from an old army-tank he found

She cruised all the way to Barnston Bay and nosed up to the falls

She could hold her own in a big wind storm, she was steady in the squalls

But the Silver Belle never had a chance, a money pit she was called

And when she started to sink a lot, the Silver Belle was hauled

On the government dock with some timber blocks

The Silver Belle had seen its day

“She never wet her planks again”

The dock-side wags would say…

Now over time the seams dried out, the “Belle” looked far from new

‘Till the big-shots at the yacht club proposed the boat’s rescue

They said “why don’t you give us…that old boat…that you don’t need”

And the Silver Belle, she looked like hell, so Skipper Dave agreed

Then they finished the transaction with a drink and a firm handshake

And the skipper pulled the “Cummins” so he could store it at Kam Lake

This was over twenty years ago

Though I’m not sure of the day

But I phoned a lot of folks who’d know

And this is what they say…

When the Silver Belle got a new cradle, she was living pretty large

Then they craned her off the government dock, onto the yacht club barge

And so the barge was hauled around over to the Back Bay side

With the Silver Belle up on the deck enjoying her last ride

She was set up as a clubhouse, where the sailors had their fun

And the yachts-men would all stand around and drink their “Pusser” rum

She was deemed a liability

In her dilapidated way

“To the solid waste facility”

The Commodore would say

But someone got a good idea and before they let it go

They chopped the wheelhouse off the boat and installed it just for show

On an old schoolhouse that they scored for free, it was actually an ATCO trailer

And re-created the Silver Belle just enough to fool the sailors

The wheelhouse faces the west, the helm is there as well

And to raise the yacht club radio, you call the Silver Belle…

The Silver Belle was a broken shell

Of a boat I found one day,

Sure there’s nothing in the archives

But this is what they say…

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