MY STORY

I'l try to keep this short, but I've had a very full life.

I was born in North Van in the hungry thirties, and one of the first adventures I had was when my dad had built a couple of twelve foot rowboats in the living room where we were staying. In the spring, my mom and dad piled everything in these little boats and put my baby brother and me in an apple box in the stern of each boat and rowed all the way down the Fraser River and across the Gulf of Georgia and up to the north end of Lasquiti Island to troll for spring salmon. We trolled for the summer and then back to the squatters shack in North Van. The next winter, my dad built a thirty-five foot troller, and, once again, come springtime, we pile everything into this boat and up the coast we go to go commercial fishing. The old car engine dad had put in the boat wouldn't run very well. We made it as far as Pender Harbour before Dad decided to sell the boat and use the money to buy five acres of beautiful waterfront there. It was very isolated but a great place to bring up kids.

I quit school while in grade six at the age of fourteen and got a job logging. In my spare time, I built my first boat. For a fourteen year-old with practically no tools, it turned out pretty nice. While still a teenager, I taught myself boat designing and started building boats on my own for a living. I ended up building over 300 commercial fishing boats and pleasure boats. I built boats for 70 years before I retired and decided to move on to other things.

After my 80th birthday, I figured it was a good time to share my life story. I wrote my autobiography, Boats in My Blood - A Life in Boat Building, which, I'm happy to say, made the British Columbia Best Seller List for six months straight! Shortly after Boats in My Blood made the best seller list, I got a call from Victoria, notifying me that I was going to be receiving the Gold Medal for Maritime Excellence. I went to Victoria for the ceremony, where I was presented the award by the Governor General.

I had made my mark in boat building and writing, so I decided to try something new. I started singing and writing songs, performing at open mic's and other events. Oh, yes, and did I mention that I'm also extremely modest?! Hahaha!

And so, at the tender age of 83, I thought I'd see if I could paint, so I got a brush and some paints and gave it a go. It seemed fairly natural to me, and I really enjoyed creating scenes out of my imagination. I had a workshop behind my house that I thought would be perfect for an art studio. So I chunked out my workshop, sold all my tools, lumber and such, and built my art studio.

Now, painting has become my passion. I love it, and I hope you'll love my paintings, too!

Barrie and Family Classic