History of Hourston Glascraft

 

Hourston Photo Album

Charles Hourston was the first Western Canadian to be inducted into the Canadian Boating Hall of Fame.  He started Hourston Glascraft in 1950 and was one of the original pioneers in the world producing boats using fiberglass.  Since 1950 Hourston produced more than 15,000 fiberglass boats, ranging in size up to 26 feet. For more then 56 years – longer than any other fiberglass boat manufacturer in the world – the company has been producing high quality, hand built, custom fiberglass boats at their North Vancouver plant.

Today Hourston  Glascraft maintains it’s position as a major boat manufacturer.  The business today is run by Charles son Bill.  The customer base includes a wide range of recreational users, The Canadian Coast Guard, RCMP, Fisheries department and Hydrographic service.  Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay has over 50 Hourston’s in their rental fleet.  The boats are extremely popular with the recreational fishing community on Vancouver Island, home to some of the most hostile sea conditions.

Currently all boats are sold factory direct to the public from the plant in North Vancouver which produces around 100 boats per year.  Buyers get to choose from a wide range of options to custom build their boat from the ground up.  Currently the major market is in B.C. but the Hourston’s have exported many boats to Ontario for the Coast Guard and recently as far away as New Zealand.  Most models are available in hardtop or convertibles and inboard-outboard or outboard.  Boats range in price from $1500 to 15,000 for the high end custom models.

Beacause of the Hourston’s passionate concern for quality and the many years spent on the water testing their products, the company has been able to survive the shakeouts and massive consolidation witnessed in the boatbuilding industry in North America.  They are one of the few remaining fiberglass boatbuilders in Canada.

 

 


1954 Hourston Crew

Upstairs at Hamish Davidson's shop on West Georgia Street, in Vancouver in the late 1940's. Chuck Hourston is upper right.

The first boat produced by Chuck Hourston, a 9' Dinghy,.
Note the clear glass hull. Resin was un-coloured in
those days and gelcoat was not yet available.