|Twenty-five years after the Collingwood Shipyards closed, a Craigleith, Ont., man has produced not one, but two, ways of keeping this former industry’s memory alive. George Czerny, a former Collingwood resident, has produced two books about the historically-significant shipyards and is launching them to the public simultaneously at an on-line bookstore.|
One book, The Collingwood Shipyards, carries stories and 67 photographs in 48 pages. The stories range from how the unique sidelaunches were done, to Czerny’s personal experiences during sea trials aboard one ship and riding another ship in during a sidelaunch.
The Collingwood Shipyards features many photographs, including sequential shots of a sidelaunching, schematics of a typical freighter, as well as aerial, colour photographs of the shipyards when it was in operation and what the property looks like today.
The second book, A Salute to Sidelaunchings, is a “slimmed down” 20-page version of The Collingwood Shipyards book and focuses strictly on sidelaunchings using photographs from the first book. It carries no feature stories and “sticks to the basics of sidelaunchings through photographs,” said Czerny.
Czerny says he got the idea for his books while thinking about a unique souvenir for Collingwood. He has photographs which have been made into cards featuring the former Collingwood Shipyards but decided to do something that would be a tribute to those who once worked at the shipyards, as well a “then and now” chronicle.
“I decided that a lot of people today would not realize exactly what went on at the former shipyards, or how sidelaunchings were done,” said Czerny adding that through the years he has collected quite a bit of information about the former shipyards which was once the economic backbone of Collingwood and district.
“So I decided to produce a book that would tell about the shipyards then and what it is now, The Shipyards, an award-winning residential development,” he said.
Both books are available from Czerny, or from an on-line bookstore, in the history section, at blurb.
Czerny, a retired newspaperman who was publisher of The Enterprise-Bulletin in Collingwood for 14 years, says that he has witnessed technological changes galore from the time years ago when he had brown hair to today’s grey.
Czerny’s fascination with the Collingwood Shipyards started when he moved to Collingwood from Orillia, Ont., in the mid-1970s. He is a former president of the Collingwood Rotary Club, once served as a volunteer with the town’s industrial commission and is also a past-president of the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce.
Years ago, he coined the phrase “Georgian Triangle” during his volunteer involvement with local tourism-promoting organizations.
In 2004, Czerny wrote and published a travel guide, George’s Georgian Bay. Today, Czerny operates Georgian Blue Bed and Breakfast in Craigleith. He and Nancy, his wife of almost 44 years, have two sons, Stephen and Douglas. Nancy works in Wasaga Beach for lawyer Lysanne Cholette, with the firm Hacker Gignac Rice (HGR).