Born and raised in Little Harbour, Twillingate, Harry Pardy learned how to build boats from his uncle Harold. “First when I started it was all done by hand. Hand plane, hand saw, ax, drawing knife, spokeshave, hand drill and all that stuff. There was no electricity then.” Following in line with generations of boat builders, Harry built his first boat, a flat, in 1942.
Harry was born to Donald and Ida (nee Knight) on April 16, 1929. He’s spent his life in Little Harbour working as a fisherman, carpenter and boat builder. He married Irene in 1960 and together they had three children.
Although Harry never kept track of the numbers, he knows he’s built “quite a few” boats over the years including punts, speed boats and one longliner. When speed boats began to gain popularity in the 1950s, Harry built the first one in Little Harbour and outfitted her with a 7.5 horsepower Evinrude outboard engine.
Harry used fir, spruce and juniper for his boats, harvested in the fall from New World Island and Gander Bay. “I built some shorter and some longer,” he says about his speed boats, “but eighteen feet was an average length that I used to build and what I used for myself.”
As a fisherman, Harry fished for everything. “In the deep water, there was cod, turbot, grey sole, flounder and that stuff. Around the shore I fished for salmon, cod, mackerel, herring, lobster, lump, whatever you could get like that,” he said.
After retiring, Harry started building model boats in his basement. With a keen eye for detail, Harry expertly constructs miniature versions of full size boats and including toll pins, oars and piggins. Just like his full size boats, he paints them white with green trim. “I started building them in the night time, in the winter time. I don’t do it much summer time. I does a little bit somedays when it’s not fit to get outdoors, but when it’s a good day I got to be outside doing something in the garden or something or other.”
Harry’s models can be seen on display at the Wooden Boat Museum in Winterton.
9 thoughts on “Harry Pardy”
Thank you Crystal. We need to know about Harry.
Harry is a very skilled builder! We will have more about his speed boats at a future date.
I have a model trap skiff built by Harry. Superb craftsmanship to say the least! It sits in a woodworking shop window to show model builders how it’s done! 😉
I like to know where there is a model of a class of boat called the SWAMP?
Very interested in this place Little Harbour it is where my father was born an raised wanted to know if any of my relatives are still living there my fathers name was William Hollett
There aren’t any Holletts living there now but Harry Pardy, my brother would know about them for sure.
Great piece! My father, Wilson Warren, always spoke highly of the boat building skills of the Pardys, especially Harry. The last speed boat he had was built by Harry; I still have it.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Harry and touring his workshop in July. One of my biggest regrets is not purchasing one of his models. I was on a tour at the time and didn’t think I could get it back to Ontario in one piece. Any idea how I can get in touch with Harry to see if I can still get one.?
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