Pathfinder Fundraising Update by J G Lorriman, May 27, 1963

The following is an update to Pathfinder Supporters sent by then TBI President J.G. Lorriman. Transcribed from original document provided by Paul Clarke Jul 19, 2012)


170 ST. GEORGE STREET, SUITE 419, TORONTO 5 924-2313, WAlnut 3-7924



Charles Q. Ellis

A. Grant MacLachlan

Stuart B. Playfair David p, Rogers

James Stewart

Olcott P Titus (handwritten)


J. Garfield Lorriman

Dr. Joslyn W. Rogers

John A. Clarke

James Ward Cotton

Robert I Hendy

Karin Larson

Dennis H. Love

Francis A. MacLachlan

John McVey

Dr. Morris L. Rotstein

Maurice D.   Smith

Leonard D. Stupart

Board of Advisors (handwritten in)

Edward P Lawless (handwritten in)

RR Rowe (handwritten in)

May 27, 1963

Dear Pathfinder Supporter:

Almost a year ago, a group of public-spirited citizens of the City of Toronto, who are interested in the training of young people in the Toronto area by “Building Character through Adventure”, formed a non-profit Company, Toronto Brigantine Incorporated. The purpose of the Company is to build and operate a square-rigged Brigantine similar to the “St. Lawrence II” which is now being used as a training ship operating out of Kingston, Ontario.

At the First Annual Meeting of Toronto Brigantine Incorporated last week, I was very pleased to report that much progress has been made. One important objective has been reached – we have built a ship: The “Pathfinder” was launched at Kingston Shipyards on May 6th, so we now have the basic hull. This will be brought to Toronto under her own power, and should arrive at the dock at the foot of Spadina Avenue about 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 2nd.

The ship will be completed, mostly by volunteer help from the Sea Cadets, Sea Scouts, Sea Rangers, etc., and’ others who have offered their services. With this kind of assistance, and the additional financial assistance required, it is hoped that the “Pathfinder” will be ready to start her training duties by the Summer of 1964.

Support of this project has been very encouraging. Help in the form of money, goods and services has come from many sources. Already about $35,000. in cash has been raised, and because of  the donations of various goods and services, our estimated cost to complete is now $75,000. instead of the $120,000. ,originally figured. We are very grateful to all those who have been so generous.

This letter is being written as a progress report to those who have already so kindly donated, and as a reminder to those who hav’e not sent in their contributions. Receipts for Income Tax purposes will be forwarded.

For any, other information, please contact me, or any of the other directors at the above address.

Yours very truly,


J. G. LORRlMAN, President



Brig Petty Officer by Jurgen Braunohler

Toronto Brigantine’s Summer Program has finally started … and all the hard work and training that officers have done all Winter and Spring … is to get ready for the summer of sailing on the Great Lakes and up to Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Not to mention working with a new group of trainees on 7 different courses this summer.

Here is a story by Jurgen Braunohler as he recalls his winter program training experiences from the 1970s!

Jurgen Braunohler is a Toronto Brigantine Alumnus from 1975 to 1977 and remains a long time and great supporter and promoter of the Toronto Brigantine program. He publishes regularly in in the Flotilla Newsletter. [For other articles by Jurgen, see:   Flotilla archives are posted under “About Us” .]

To sign up a teenager for our Summer Program, do check out our website

1812 Sackets Harbor article by Jurgen Braunhohler

Just as Pathfinder and Playfair and their crew of trainees are setting sail from Kingston to join up with the 1812 Squadron on their way to the Naval Renactment at Niagara on the Lke on Jul 14 (with a stop in Toronto on Friday night before for the Captains Meeting),   Jurgen Bruanohler has sent another article about the 1812 Battle  at Sackets Harbor. Enjoy.

Jurgen Braunohler is a Toronto Brigantine Alumnus from 1975 to 1977 and remains a long time and great supporter and promoter of the Toronto Brigantine program. He publishes regularly in in the Flotilla Newsletter. [For other articles by Jurgen, see:   Flotilla archives are posted under “About Us” .]

To sign up a teenager for our Summer Program, do check out our website


Teenagers get lesson in life on tall ships …. Toronto Star Article The Metro Page May 29, 1989

In a series of articles, People and Places, Maureen Murray wrote a feature on Toronto Brigantine’s program for the Toronto Star, The Metro Page, May 29, 1989.

In 1989, Toronto Brigantine is 27 years old. The story is never changing.  Toronto Brigantine is about bringing kids from all different backgrounds together on the boats, learning to work together as a team – overcoming seasickness and fear of heights – and appreciating the sense of accomplishment when the wind catches the sails and they get to where they are going.  A life transforming experience that TBI alumni remember years later.

Quotes in the article include:

  • David Mather, then TBI Board member and past president, remembers his days of sailing on STV Pathfinder.
  • Richard Birchall, then TBI Executive Director, was also former TBI participant.
  • There are several TBI crew in the pictures, including Julian Hankey.
  • With Skipper Ron Bessey, students from Lakefield College came for afternoon sail, in preparation for an eight day expedition in the Fall.
  • Maurice Smith, TBI’s first captain and captain fr 15 years, remembering the visit of founders Garfield Lorriman and his wife Mary’s vision for the program. And how Francis MacLachlan designed first Pathfinder and then later Playfair.

[Article by Maureen Murray, Photos by Erin Combs. The Newspaper clipping from the collection of TBI Alumnus, Rick Moore].

The 2012 Summer Program is our 50th year of sailing and we welcome another 200 teenagers to join us on the boats this summer. Overcoming their fears, plotting their life’s course, meeting life long friends to be!

The Details of each course in the 2012 Summer Program are provided at the Toronto Brigantine website.

Captains Promotion Announcement

Toronto Brigantine Inc. is proud to announce the promotion of Sam Neale to full-time Captain and Colin Burt to part-time Captain. This spring both Captains are training their new crew for the summer season as well as project managing the maintenance projects on the ships Playfair and Pathfinder.

Captain Sam Neale has more than twelve years of maritime experience both in the program as a youth, and continued experience on the water throughout the years since he graduated the program. After spending six years with TBI, working his way up to the XO position, Sam spent another year sailing on the eastern seaboard before restricting his maritime activities to the summer for a few years while he completed a double honours degree in history of science and anthropology at Dalhousie University in Halifax. After graduating he went back to the water, spending a season in the Mediterranean and crossing the Atlantic aboard a mega yacht, before coming back to Toronto Brigantine, first as a part-time Captain and now full-time.

Captain Sam Neale

Captain Colin Burt started sailing with the St. Lawrence II of Brigantine Inc. as a trainee in 1999, and then continued through the program up to the rank of executive officer. Since then his time has been split between working for his family’s greenhouse business in Odessa and sailing. He has sailed a number of vessels of various rigs ranging from Small yachts up to the Bark Europa. This has taken Captain Burt to Antarctica, Europe, and several deep-sea passages. He also worked for a short time on tugboats and engaged in a wind farm construction project. During this time he’s also worked at acquiring his Master 150 ton certificate from Transport Canada exclusively from self-study. His first contact with TBI was during his later years with St. Lawrence II when he was volunteering on a few deliveries on Pathfinder, as well as one on Playfair. Having gone through the program of Pathfinder and Playfair’s sister ship, and it very much shaping the course his life, he held all three brigantines in great esteem and has always hoped to be in command of one of them.

Captain Colin Burt

An update from Playfair’s First Mate

After a balmy march break trainees and wardroom alike are settling back into the weekend work routine.  It was great to see the turnout of trainees over the break, and even better to see our (almost) full workforce this weekend past. I’m sure I speak for all of the crew when I say that the weather will be missed, as it allowed us to enjoy many jobs on the surface away from the shop.  Playfair’s deck is now only a few boards from bare, and Pathfinder’s newly varnished chart table is back in place acting as eye candy for those who pass by it.  Besides the work, March Break offered up time to enjoy the waterfront, and participate in some highly anticipated Brigs traditions.  Now I don’t mean to brag, but I feel fortunate that I was able to enjoy weather almost as nice as those vacationing down South while still living and working with the Brigs bunch.  Back to more current events, this Saturday had much more seasonal weather. Sheltered from the rain in the shop, I witnessed and participated in an impressive flying serving and sanding party, with great effort from everyone.  To those who are available on Sundays work will be happening from 10 am to 5 pm. It would be great to see as many people there as possible; the sailing season is just around the corner and we all want the boats ready to meet the nice weather! 

-Playfair’s X.O., Aidan Bingham

Going through the Welland Canal – Its an Annual Event!

Pathfinder and Playfair go through the Welland Canal at least twice each year. We have to go through the Canal to get from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes beyondthat. And of course, again, to get back “home” to Toronto each Fall.

This year, the boats go through the Canal during Course 2 from Kingston to Windsor. It will be just after we finish the battle reenactments at Niagara on the Lake, so around Jul 17, 2012.  The boats will be staying up in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay through to early September for some group charter events that we have scheduled.  So we won’t be going home through the Canal until maybe second week of September.

Will use this map to describe the journey through the Canal. [Source:]

We have been going up and down the Welland Canal for 50 years! Here are some pictures of the boats at various locations through the canal. You can use the map above to match locations.

Click here to see picture of the boats in the Lock.

[Photo: Playfair upbound in the Welland Canal  June 26, 1998. Sailing southbound in the channel above lock 2 and headed for lock 3 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada]

[Photo posted on Facebook , Posted Aug 2011, the Boats Going through Welland Canal, Lock 5 at night]

[Photo from 2006-09-05 PLAYFAIR & PATHFINDER are downbound Welland Canal toward lock 7, 2006]

[Photo from  Going through Lock Seven, date not indicated]

Going through the Canal is a memorable experience for TBI Trainees and Crew.

One of the particularly vivid memories seems to be the slimy walls of the Welland Canal  – according to TBI Alumni  and Facebook Friends Bryan Dambrumenil and Caroline Lillico.  It is quite spectacular to be going through the canal with all the Lakers and other “big boats”.

Sign up today for your tall ship sail training adventure this summer.

TBI Career Nights Continue – Next One April 3rd

Career nights are being organized by Mr Mike Ellis, Toronto Brigantine Board Member and Parent Liaison.  The events are for current winter program participants and their parents and mentors.

The first career night was in December 1, 2011. Our speakers included Captain Rick Sullivan and Mr Maurice Smith.

Captain Rick Sullivan, TBI alumnus from 1972 through 1976. He is now Captain with Royal Carribean. He came to speak to us between ports of call. He described his career as a Master on international cruise ships. He described the hundreds of different professional positions that are required to manage a cruise ship.

Stepping in for Sam McLean, was  Mr Maurice Smith. Mr Smith was Pathfinder’s first Captain. He went on to be curator and founding member of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.  He is a writer and recognized expert in Maritime heritage. He has a passion for youth and their potential, you can hear it in the stories from the many trainees and Officers that worked under him during his time at Toronto Brigantine, including Captain Rick Sullivan.

And it was a full house!

The  2nd Toronto Brigantine Career Night, 7:00 PM on Tuesday,  April 3rd at the Brig’s Offices at 215 Spadina Avenue.

Our scheduled guests this time are Mr. Marc Isaacs, a Toronto-based Marine Lawyer and new friend of the programme and Mr. Doug Galvin, a long-time alumnus and former Ship’s Master and current member of the TBI Board of Directors. 

Mr. Isaacs will be speaking to us on the path one would need to follow to pursue a career in law and then showing us some interesting marine-based cases he has worked on over the years.

Mr. Galvin will discuss his career on the Great Lakes and the Eastern Seaboard and how that experience has come in handy in his second career as a manager at a GTA shipping Company. 

Both Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Galvin will be answering questions at the end of their presentations.

I am sure that the 2nd will be as helpful as the 1st Career night in helping the kids and their parents explore career opportunities and the paths to get there. 

Thanks to Mike for organizing and the speakers for sharing your time and experiences. 

If any TBI alumni are interested in coming to speak at other Career Nights that are planned for 2012, please contact Mike Ellis at or contact the Toronto Brigantine office.

Toronto Brigantine Inc

413-215 Spadina Ave, Toronto ON M5T 2C7

tel: 416-596-7117 e-mail : website:

Registered Canadian Charity 11926 5924 RR0001



Without Masts, the boats hardly look like Tall Ships

Pretty soon the boats will be rerigged – we are targeting the third weekend in April!

Playfair and Pathfinder  hardly look like tall ships without their masts!

Its much warmer now, so come down and visit, but if you can’t make it down, check out the pictures that Ian took of all the boats on the harbour.

These pictures were taken by Ian on his visit to Toronto Harbourfront in February.

Playfair – withouth riggings or masts

Pathfinder – without riggings or masts.

Pathfinder is 34 years old, ready for another season. 1996

Here is another SUN newspaper clipping.

TBI alumnus, Sarah Dingle up the mast on Pathfinder. Its 1996 when Pathfinder was 34!

There are a lot of little people down below, she is 50 feet up on the mast! It seems that this year, the weather is much milder than 1996!

[Photo by Ken Kerr, the Newspaper clipping from the collection of TBI Alumnus, Rick Moore].