The origin of Macassa Bay Yacht Club
MBYC has evolved from very humble beginnings in 1967 to the vital, vibrant, and exciting club that it is today.
It all started many years ago in 1962, when a small group of avid boaters started to use a little cottage that they rented on the site as a clubhouse. Hamilton’s waterfront was industrial use only in those early days. In the late 1800’s the site contained old warehouses and wharfs. Indeed, a hundred years earlier than that, the bay was shallow open water and wetlands.
The small cottage had been used by bootleggers during prohibition in the 30’s. It was dragged across the ice and re positioned at the bottom of Picton Street. Later, the original seven members bought the building. A “key” club was set up and new members were charged $5 for a key.
By 1965-66 they started to search for a good name, for the growing club. Macassa Bay Yacht Club was chosen by vote. Macassa is a First Nations name meaning “still waters”, which seemed appropriate for the little club.
In 1978, the next building upgrade occurred. The city wouldn’t allow expansion of the original cottage clubhouse, so with the help of a Wintario grant, two portable buildings were grafted together and put on a pontoon raft. The floating clubhouse was left on the ice in front of the original cottage. It still stands at the side of the property and is used as a clubhouse for the “Knot A Breast – Dragon Boat Team” This arrangement lasted a few months and then the city decided it was alright to have a new club house on land. A crane placed the new structure on a cement pad and the pontoons were recycled into the floating docks.
This clubhouse lasted until 1997, when construction was started on our present, striking, ship-inspired clubhouse. A few years later they decided the clubhouse needed an extension and added a meeting room and elevator were added to make the second floor accessible.
The club has grown to over 125 boat-owning members plus many more social members. Macassa Bay Yacht Club is still a club where the members do most of the work. In 2017 the club celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
Right from the beginning, the members represented the same blue-collar ethic that built Hamilton. They are a dedicated group of boaters who appreciate the location and the pleasure of boating on Hamilton Harbour now and in the future.