In the early 20th century, people began coming to the Temagami region for purely recreational purposes. No wonder, with the clear water, healthy natural habitat, and the magnificent landscape!
It was this beauty and tranquility that originally brought Bob and Betty Louks from Hamilton to cottage in the area. Since the provincial government decreed that there could be no shoreline development, many of those coming to the area decided to build their cottages on some of the 1,259 islands on Lake Temagami. Bob and Betty saw the need for a marina to service the region’s island residents and decided to make Temagami their home. They established Temagami Marine in 1958.
Temagami Marine was originally situated in the Northeast arm of the lake, on the north side of Inlet Bay, and it occupied less than an acre of property. Temagami Marine serviced about 15 boats back then. Jack Humphrey was the mechanic, and a dock boy by the name of Bill Kitts also worked with Bob and Betty.
In 1970, Bob began negotiations with the Ministry of Natural Resources for property on the south side of Inlet Bay, where Temagami Marine is currently situated. In exchange for the land he was on, Bob acquired 20 acres of bush and rock and 3.42 acres of water with no developed shoreline.
The 30 by 40 foot building was moved from the north side to the new site. It served the dual purpose of office and workshop. Bob erected pole-type buildings to hold more than 100 boats.
After two decades of dedication to the marina, Bob and Betty began contemplating retirement, but they weren’t willing to sell to just anyone. They needed to be sure that whoever took over would continue the tradition of outstanding customer service and keep up the friendly, family-orientated atmosphere that Temagami Marine was known for. They found those people in their first dock boy, now son-in-law, and his wife Billie. Bill and Billie took over Temagami Marine in 1978.
That year, Temagami Marine joined the Ontario Marine Operators Association. Bill soon initiated Temagami Marine’s first of many expansions. He improved on the display and work area, and built additional storage sheds with “pigeon holes”. They are three-tiered buildings where a forklift is used to place boats in the holes. By 1979, docks were built to expand the number of available slips by another 50 boats, and by 1980, storage capacity was up to more than 150 boats. In 1987, a pre-engineered steel structure was erected to provide a larger space for offices and a showroom.
In the early 90s, Bill began an aggressive 10-year expansion, replacement, and building program. The culmination of Bill’s efforts was a total of eight modern, steel, dry stack, pigeon-hole buildings with the capacity to store in excess of 500 boats, display areas of some 9,000 square feet, offices, and two workshops.
In April of 2000, a brand new Wiggins Marine Bull forklift was purchased from Los Angeles, California. It was the first one in Canada of its kind. This unit can easily pick a boat of up to 34 feet in length right out of the water and store it in a pigeon hole up to 36 feet high. In 2005, a separate, pre-engineered 6,000 square foot steel building, equipped with an overhead crane and center roll-up door opening of 25 feet high was erected. During the spring of 2006, after 45 years working at Temagami Marine and 28 years as proprietor, coupled with his daughter Kim’s decision not to take over as owner, Bill Kitts decided it was time to start looking for new leadership. That search led to the sale of Temagami Marine to the Lamothe family.
André is appreciative of the fact that his team members are not only co-workers but are indeed more like family. Similarly, the customers are more than loyal customers, many become friends! Ultimately, the team looks forward to seeing these friends on a regular basis.
In May 2015, Temagami Marine came full circle and Kim (Kitts) and Jim Krech are the "new" owners. They are excited and comfortable in their new positions and look forward to many years with the friends they have come to know. The history of the Kitts family and many of our loyal customers stems back more than 50 years in some cases. It is with pleasure they are back in this capacity.
Temagami Marine’s history is full of foresight, initiative, and loyalty. 2008 marked the 50th anniversary of Temagami Marine, and we look forward to servicing our customers for many more years to come.
Thank you for being part of our history!