Victoria BC Wedding Photographers | Emmy and Aaron » Victoria Duncan Nanaimo Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland Wedding and Portrait Photography

Em’s Dad and His Dory

My dad was not born very close to water but he has lived the better part of his life just across the road from a small lake in the Cariboo called Hawkins. I was canoeing on this lake inside my mom before I was even born and most of my favourite memories of me and dad is out on the water and out on this lake. His first boat on this lake was our old Frontiersman Canoe – it started out an orange/red colour and ended its long life a blueish green covered in layers of fibre-glass bandaids, and a little duct tape as dad tried endlessly to keep it afloat through all of the years. I stubbornly used this tank to paddle the Bowron Lakes Canoe circuit – hardest work on the water ever with that big girl in a strong head wind but it meant so much to me to have her carry me through such an incredible and epic journey – she was the first canoe I paddled and I figured I owed her this journey. When she gave out and caved in dad got another canoe that was similar and a bit newer but quickly learned it was prone to taking on water too. He finally relented and got a much newer canoe with assured buoyancy and we again had a reliable canoe in the fleet. The other boat that we have had for as long as I remember is the white rowboat – this one was brought out for extra guests and fishing and spends the summer stored down next to the lake for quick use. Years back when I was first in university and wanted to keep myself on the water, even away from home, I found two old little river kayaks that I got for a few hundred bucks – one for me and one for dad. This started our interest in kayaking and these two boats have now joined the fleet at the lake. One would think that now having two canoes, two kayaks and a rowboat would suffice…. My dad works as a special ed teacher and had his kids out at an organic farm where he found the skeletal remains of a canvas skin kayak. The owners let him take it and he spent the winter with the kids in the shop restoring it and returning it to seaworthy condition. Then he got wind of an odd boat that was a cross between a large wide kayak and a sail boat – well this was too interesting to pass up as he could now go out on his own, pop up the sail in some wind and travel about the lake with much less effort – and so the sailing kayak joined the fleet. We thought maybe he was done with this boat collecting hobby but a trip the the Atlantic coast got him interested in the dories used for cod fishing. He was hooked and a big project was underway in his shop to build an authentic east coast dory. He isn’t from the east coast but he does live on the east side of Hawkins Lake so an east coast dory it is! This project enlisted the help of an experienced east coast dory builder Wilbert Weir, shipping in cans of the right marine paint from the east, and of course the whole project was undertaken while wearing his signature quilted plaid coat and his new east coast style hat. My dad is not often the centre of attention but he was great to let me come out and photograph him in his new dory. I have been working on images around the tradition of building things, the family workshop, the time spent to make it ourselves rather than buy it.  This is a tradition that is really strong in both me and Aaron’s families – my, grandfather, uncle, our dads, and even us all have workshops. My personal project on our website is images from my grandfather’s workshop. This session is the product of my dad’s workshop. It is amazing to me that this boat was built by his two hands and now we have it to make new memories on the lake like all the ones we have in all of the other boats.  I have a feeling that this will likely not be the last boat – after all he doesn’t have a catamaran…


Dory Plans |



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Trish Reddy - February 22, 2014 - 9:13 pm

Hey Bob – you’re making me homesick!! Em, I’m an East Coast woman transplanted to the West many years ago – we have a cabin at Hawkins and met you a long time ago. Brian and I got married on the shores of Hawkins and our wedding cake was adorned with a small East coast dory brought from Nova Scotia. An East coast carver made it especially for the occasion. Hawkins Lake represents my childhood water experiences and I especially appreciate a real dory cruising about – talented man your Dad! Lard Tunderin’ B’y Jeez!!! :-)

Yvonne - April 5, 2012 - 3:50 pm

Oh Emmy! I love the story behind this and the images are wonderful! How I wish I had images of my dad like this. He really is an artist.

emmy - March 5, 2012 - 5:22 pm

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all of the great comments. I will forward them on to dad!

Gram campbell - March 5, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Our granddaughter put together a wonderful blog and photos of our Bob in his natural habitat Bob has made this world a better place for many people

Tina - March 3, 2012 - 5:20 am

BEAUTIFUL WORK – so special to have!

Jonda Spurbeck - March 2, 2012 - 4:46 pm

stunning… love!!!!

Sharon Cowles - March 2, 2012 - 1:16 pm

You have captured the soul of your Dad in this one, Em…..gentle and beautiful

Donna Campbell - March 2, 2012 - 3:50 am

Oh, Emmy, that is wonderful! I love your story. Not having been to Eagle Creek very often, I didn’t realize there was such a collection of boats over the years – you’ve tied it all together nicely. Your photographs are, of course, exquisite – I guess it helps when the subject is kinda good-looking, eh! Thank you for sharing.

Janell - March 2, 2012 - 3:20 am

Your dad is truly a craftsman- beautiful work. These pictures are beyond gorgeous, Em. The love that went into them is palpable. They will be treasures.

Hugh Hambly - March 2, 2012 - 12:49 am

What a wonderful series! Having seen the dories in Cape Breton and Newfoundland, I think Donny has it right. To be able to emulate an East Coast dory, you need to be an artisan. Every outport has its own version of a dory – single oar or dual oar. Well done Donny!

Rick Morrison - March 2, 2012 - 12:24 am

Very cool.I would say you captured the heart and soul of who Bob is. Well done Em
Cheers Rick

shawna - March 1, 2012 - 8:56 pm

oh Em….I love love love this series…such special images

Welcome Baby Ben!

Oh newborn babies – I love them.  Mostly I love seeing just how in love with them their family is.  They are so small and sleepy and have no idea how they just changed their family forever.  It is these moments of just pure love that make newborn sessions one of my favourite family sessions. Baby Ben is very very loved.


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Yvonne - April 5, 2012 - 3:51 pm

Such sweet and real moments you captured!

Heather. - March 25, 2012 - 2:04 am

Thanks. I want to hold him so bad. Great photos.

jennifer armstrong - February 20, 2012 - 9:05 pm

beautiful session, emmy. LOVE the smiles on his big brother’s face & the sweet, tender moments you captured. Precious jewels to remember these fleeting moments by.

Natasha Whiteley - February 19, 2012 - 6:54 pm

these are perfectly captured, I love how you give us a little peep into their life.
beautiful portraits, love the lifestyle feel to them :)

Lindsay - February 13, 2012 - 6:18 pm