A young German immigrant named Fred Huck discovered the Thousand Islands in the late 1800s; first in Cape Vincent and then across the River to Rockport. Canada's Prime Minister was John A. Macdonald. It was two years before the village's now-iconic St. Brendan's Catholic Church was built. Huck, a boat builder, opened his business a decade before Waldorf-Astoria hotelier, George C. Boldt, built Boldt Castle on Heart Island on nearby Millionaire's Row and Alexandria Bay N.Y.
Huck established Ed Huck Marine Ltd. in 1889. The marina celebrates its 125th anniversary this summer. Fred Huck started the family business with his wife, Ellen Slate of Grindstone Island N.Y. The marina has passed down through five generations to Ed and Cassie Huck and the third generation, Jerry, Morris, Bob and Don. The fourth and fifth generation are overseeing the historic marina today.
This year marks another milestone: It's the 20th year co-owners Scott MacCrimmon and Peter Johnston have been owners and business partners. They are also brothers-in-law. MacCrimmon's wife Heather and Peter's wife Jody are the daughters of Jerry and Becky Huck. Scott and Heather's children, Jack and Hannah, along with Peter and Jody's children, Cicely and Sam, and Morris Huck's grandson Taylor Mouton, are the fifth generation to work at the marina.
"While I still get excited about the great boats we get to play with," said MacCrimmon, the very best part of my job is the variety of customers we befriend and the interesting conversations and relationships that develop over the years."
Ed Huck Marine (www.marina.ca) has 25 employees, 180 marina slips and sells the industry's very finest brands of boats including Cobalt Boats, Boston Whaler, Tiara Yacht, Hunt, Rossiter and Seadoo.
Today Rockport is the heart of the Thousand Islands, a busy port for Rockport Boat Line, and a hub for international tourists taking charter tours to Boldt Castle and Singer Castle downriver on Dark Island near Chippewa Bay. The village has a proud heritage of boat building that dates back over a century. Families including Huck, Andress, Senecals, and Hunts have earned a living on the River for the past century.
Ed Huck Marine has grown with each generation. Cassie Huck ran the marina's Scenic Lodge and cabins. "My mother was a very capable business person," said Jerry. All four of her sons worked at the marina. Jerry was president and co-owner of the marina between 1975 and 1996. He was inducted into Canada's Boating Hall of Fame in 2009, by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). He is a founding member of the Thousand Islands Chamber of Commerce and served on boards of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and the Thousand Islands Antique Boat Museum. Huck is also a marine consultant with the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council and an Admiral of the Thousand Islands, a fraternity of businessmen on both sides of the border.
Jerry met Becky at the marina, when she was visiting from New Jersey. "Becky came on a vacation with her family and just couldn't resist me," he said with a laugh. They celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. Becky penned a column called Boating With Becky for Power Boating Canada Magazine. They have three children, Jody, Heather, and Laura, a hair stylist and owner of the Silk Salon in Gananoque, married to Bob Orr. Becky and Jerry have five grandchildren, aged six to 23: Cicely, Sam, Jack, Hannah, and Charlotte.
Ed Huck Marine was established before Singer Castle was built and almost half a century before the Thousand Islands International Bridge was erected in 1938. The year Fred Huck opened the business in 1889, the Coca-Cola Company incorporated , the first Kodak camera was sold and the Wall Street Journal published its first edition.
The marina attracts boaters from Brockville, Kingston, Ottawa and Toronto and customers from around the world; as far away as Hong Kong, Germany, California, Arizona and New York City. Ed Huck Marine invites you to celebrate another season of boating with your family on the River this summer. Scott and Peter are involved in the operation daily. "We have both hands on the wheel and are here to serve our customers," said MacCrimmon. "We work hard so they can play." The marina is open 50 weeks a year and 7 days a week during the season.
Overlooking the scenic St. Lawrence, Ed Huck Marine has been a family tradition for 125 years, for not only the Hucks but other generations of families who keep coming back to spend their summers here too."The River just gets to be a part of you," said Jerry.
By Kim Lunman, www.islandlifemag.ca
Kim Lunman is the owner/publisher of Island Life Magazine www.islandlifemag.ca. A profile of the past five years of Kim’s work was published in our November 2013, issue of TI Life. Her company, Thousand Islands Ink, is based in Brockville. Lunman is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in the Boat U.S. Magazine, Lakeland Boating, Reader's Digest, Globe and Mail, and The National Post.
To see all of Kim Lunman’s TI Life articles, click here, and to read a more complete biography, see our About Page.