A Little Piece of Sailing History Comes Home

Explore the Kelpie, a sailboat with an original 1000 Islands-made engine over a century old!

Keep an eye out during your visit to our 1000 Islands Aquatarium, and be sure not to miss the Kelpie! This classic 30-foot sailboat extends three stories high into the vaulted atrium of our discovery centre, and if you’re lucky, you may get a special view of her masts as you “jump” from the top of our Ropes Course on the AquaDrop! (Ropes Course and AquaDrop Page) Sailors in the 1000 Islands would often have to climb up to the mast and then back down again several times while navigating through the many storms that commonly churn the waters of the St. Lawrence River.

Sailboats may be a common sight in the 1000 Islands, but the real treasure of the Kelpie is hidden in its inner workings. The one and only St. Lawrence Engine Company manufactured the engine of this very sailboat on this very site over a century ago in 1905! With its dependable, locally made two-cycle engine, the Kelpie could easily maneuver the 1000 Islands region and safely sail anywhere she wanted. The St. Lawrence Engine Company manufactured these two-cycle marine engines for nearly 50 years and shipped the engines to boats all over the world. That means that even today, little pieces of 1000 Islands history can be found far from our aquarium – they’re found in sailboats now docked from the USA and Mexico all the way to Egypt. Peel

The Kelpie Fast Facts:

  • The St. Lawrence Engine Company’s two-cycle marine engine uses very few moving parts. It’s less complex than the more powerful four-cycle engine, which uses many parts in a sequence controlled by valves.
  • From 1900-1920, many other engine companies also produced two-cycle engines. However, by 1950, most of these small engines were replaced by four-cycle models.
  • The Kelpie is a sailboat specifically designed for leisure. While its engine may have travelled the world, the Kelpie prefers the home waters of the St. Lawrence River and 1000 Islands to international seas.