STV Pathfinder at Montreal Expo ’67

Our own STV Pathfinder was fortunate to represent Canada at the EXPO ’67 in Montreal. This was the first major international event that Toronto Brigantine participated in.  Here  is a clip from Universal News Reel about the Expo 67 although I can’t see the Pathfinder there!

Here are some memories from some of the  TBI Alumni that participated in the event.


Memories from Michael McGrath who now lives in Sydney Australia:

Michael McGrath remembers the trip to Expo ’67. , “The year of the Expo is when we go the fancy uniforms.”   and sends this picture of the crew in their new uniforms as they sail towards Montreal.   And then there is Michael’s  mug shot at the Expo.

“I was 15 at the time and clearly remember the trip through the Thousand Islands, racing the Pathfinder’s ‘sister’ ship (that would be the St-Lawrence II). We had a great match race with lots of tight tacking down a channel between the coast and some islands. We had a tiny brass cannon on board that we filled with left-over food and fired into their rigging! I doubt we’d be allowed to do that today.

When we weren’t on duty on the Pathfinder at Expo, showing visitors around the ship, we were allowed to roam the show. What a treat for a group of young boys. I remember walking a group of Montreal girls home one evening, with a couple of other crew members.

We became totally lost on the way home, arriving well after curfew and fearing disciplinary repercussions. Fortunately for us some other boys had racked up more serious misdemeanours and we slipped into our bunks relatively unnoticed.

I spent two memorable summers on Pathfinder as well as many weekends and evenings over winter stripping out and refurbishing the ship for the summer trip to Expo.

I can’t imagine my life without that character building experience. So thanks Pathfinder founders and custodians for providing such a rewarding resource to young people over the years.”


Mike Leigh was at Expo as XO.  No pictures so far.


From Keith Leewis who now lives in Libertyville Illinois:

I was there! What a blast! Pictures eh! Finding them that will be a challenge!

A bunch of us from the earlier wardroom who were not part of that full summer’s crew drove down and slept on the Brig. My job that summer was to supply all the food for Pathfinder at the various ports plus St Catherine’s (our shore facility that year) while holding down two other jobs trying to sock enough away to go to McMaster. I remember giving blood on the Bluenose. Some wise crack that it might have been rejected for too much ethanol. At least we ate lots of cookies.

Being on Pathfinder allowed us to line up ahead of the crowds. I met my future wife there at Expo67. This year makes 39 happy years of marriage.

I’ll plan to see you in Chicago.


In searching the web for information about Toronto Brigantine’s participation in this event, I came across these memories of Robert Alexander Laird Mowat who passed away in Aug 18, 2009. at the age of 58.  He had fond memories of his times with Toroto Brigantine and at Expo 67. The summer of the Expo, Sandy was 16 – it was his first summer sailing. A summer of spent in part barefoot with the wind in his hair – except for the time as an Expo VIP in his white uniform. Leading to 25 years in the navy and then a dozen years in the Ministry – married and a family in between and around the world.   Toronto Brigantine sends condolences to Sandy’s family and friends.


We look forward to meeting more of Almuni  and hearing their stories.  Maybe we will see some of you at some of the events this summer, as  Toronto Brigantine’s vessels, STV Pathfinder and TS Playfair, will be participating in a number of Port Events this summer. Check out the schedule here.

For more information about Toronto Brigatine and our tall ship sail training program for teenagers, come visit our website


4 responses

  1. I am sorry to hear the sad news of Sandy Mowat’s passing.
    I also made the trip to Montreal in the summer of 67 and visit Expo.

    I remember Sandy Mawat quite well, as he was ship’s cook on the Pathfinder and I was cook at RCSCC Renoun in St. Catherines in 1967.
    Renoun was the training school for new crew members before they sailed on the Pathfinder.
    I do have a couple of photos of the cruise taken on the St.Lawerence River, although there is nothing about them to distinguish them from any other year on the St. Lawerence River.

  2. I remember vividly to this day my time sailing to Expo 67 and berthing beside Bluenose II.When not on duty we would go to the fair,dance all night at Place des Nations and bring girls back to show them our “houseboat”.With the uniforms it was easy to pick up girls even with our lack of French.Whenever I drive to St.Catherines I always turn my gaze to the Rcssc Renown beside the canal where we learned the ropes.Feel very priveledged to have been a part of this program and on Friday my daughter snapped a pic of my grandson beside Pathfinder at the tall ships event-he wants to go sailing soon!

    1. Conn Burke, thanks for visiting and we look forward to having your grandson sail with us soon!

  3. Appreciation to my father who shared with me regarding this
    blog, this web site is truly amazing.

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