The Ontario Whitehall Rowing Boat Project


(David Feindel with the Royal Christine-a WHITEHALL which he built and launched in 2004)

Ontario Whitehall Statistics

Length Overall: 15 ' 11 1/2 "

Beam :47 "

Displacement: 400 Pounds

Bow Height: 20 "

Centre Depth: 15 "

Wetted Surface: 29.5 square feet (with 400 pounds on board)

Optimum Capacity: range from 160 to 780 pounds

Plan Owners: Enter Here

Free Chapters

The first three chapters of this ONLINE MANUAL are accessible to all visitors at any time. The remaining 18 chapters are limited to those who have purchased a set of plans which contain a USER NAME and a password allowing them onto the site.

As with all boats, there just has to be a good story or two which needs to be told

 The Ontario Whitehall has two histories-- the first being that of the historic group of boats generally called Whitehalls and the latter story that of a customer request to us in 1994.


Inasmuch as WHITEHALLS can often be recognized by plumb stems, rounded bilges and a "champagne glass" shaped transom, the techniques of their construction represent a significant defining feature of these boats. For those who would want more detailed historic information, please consider reading BUILDING CLASSIC SMALL CRAFT Vol. #1 by John Gardner and published by the International Marine Publishing Company in Camden Maine. In particular, you will find Chapter 21 Pp. 194-215 the section to read.


One distinguishing feature which Gardner points out is that Whitehalls were not ship's boats. Rather, they were creatures of the harbour and nearby shoreline. In their time, they were a water taxi, delivery vehicle and general purpose craft. Gardner's description of the connection between Whitehalls and the world's oldest profession makes for interesting reading!

Whitehalls possessed exceptional rowing characteristics and, with the addition of a small sprit sail, they proved to be remarkably flexible in their environment.


The Canadian Canoes connection with these boats began with a photograph taken by a customer while on a holiday on the Atlantic Coast. His family owns an island in Georgian Bay which is part of the Great Lakes in the province of Ontario. Over the years, the family has collected a variety of canoes, kayaks, and boats to be rowed, sailed and driven by motors.

The boat in the photo turned out to be a Whitehall and its appealing shape and flowing lines had captivated his imagination. We were approached because he felt this boat would be a unique part of the collection of watercraft owned by the family. However, he wanted the boat to be of a lightweight woodstrip-epoxy construction to keep maintenance down and make the boat last longer than if only wood plank over frame construction.


It took us some months to track down information but the people at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut were the source of information we needed. With a set of drawings and table of offsets in hand, we approached Ted Moores to help with the project. Some readers will know Ted as the author of CANOECRAFT and KAYAKCRAFT as well as an exceptional builder and regular course leader at WoodenBoat School. By the end of March 1994, we had the necessary set of drawings specific to woodstrip-epoxy construction. By mid summer of that year, we had the first Ontario Whitehall completed and launched. It is still on Georgian Bay as part of the family fleet of interesting and functioning boats.


SINCE 1994, we have built another ten of these boats-some were built specifically for a customer while others were built by customers in our workshop as part of our unique BUILD WITH US program.


The craft started in 2004 was to be special in that we would build the hull structure as part of the Cottage Life Show (a Toronto area tradition focused on products and services for the cottage owner). This was the 11th time we had been at the show doing a building demonstration.


At this event, we met dozens of people who expressed great interest in building a rowing craft; indeed, many had already built a canoe or kayak following the instructions in Canoecraft or Kayakcraft.


Although many asked about purchasing plans so they could build at home, the reality was that our plans from 1994 were not of a good enough quality to sell to anyone. So, we turned to Steve Killing who has done the very accurate drawings for many of the woodstrip-epoxy canoes, kayaks and motor craft which we produce. Steve is well known for his work with sailing craft and his text: Explaining Yacht Design. 


We now have our PROFESSIONAL plans, done up on six sheets each measuring 24" x 36".


It would be quite an accomplishment for a new builder to be able to construct an Ontario Whitehall based solely on six plans sheets. We know that a Construction Guide of some sort would be most important. It takes a   l-o-n-g time to author and print such a document.


The ONLINE MANUAL is a section of the Canadian Canoes website and is password protected.

When customers purchase a set of plans (the 6 sheets mentioned earlier), they will find a PLANS NUMBER at the bottom right corner of the top sheet.


Next, customers will send an email to us ( with their name, email address or phone contact and the plans number.

 By return email or phone call, we will issue a PASSWORD necessary to get access to the ONLINE MANUAL.

It's that simple.


Inside this e-book, customers will find a Table of Contents which will link them

to the three SECTIONS and the appropriate CHAPTERS within each.



Contact Ron Frenette at Canadian Canoes by phone (416) 543-2760 or by email and order your set of plans.

They will be shipped by Canada Post or by UPS (your choice) in a cardboard tube; the shipping  price will vary with location.



The price for the six sheet set is $145.00 Canadian Funds.


 Shortly after, you will be hooked up to the rest of the ONLINE MANUAL and you will be building your own Ontario Whitehall.

Thanks for being the person to read about our Whitehall Project.