Amphicar that Cruised from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE

1962 - Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer emerging from Lake Ontario in an Amphicar after successfully crossing from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE grounds
1962 – Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer emerging from Lake Ontario in an Amphicar after successfully crossing from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE grounds (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5793)

Crossing the Lake in a Car

At 9 am on August 22, 1962, Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hinterseer drove their white Amphicar into Lake Ontario at Niagara-on-the-Lake and set sail for the Canadian National Exhibition.

For the 51 km trip, the two women wore life jackets and brought along paddles and a fire extinguisher. Just in case, they were escorted by a yacht, the Burlesque, with their spouses aboard.

When the pair arrived at the CNE waterfront at 5:45 pm, they were greeted by 4,000 applauding spectators and received bouquets of roses. It was the first crossing of Lake Ontario in an amphibious automobile. The Amphicar was later on display at the Auto Show.

Shirley Blatchford was a Toronto school teacher, and Margaret Hinterseer was a dietitian with the T Eaton Company. The journey across the lake resulted from a challenge. Their husbands bet them each a bottle of champagne they would not make the trip, so Shirley and Margaret took them up on it.

1962 - Margaret Hintenseer and Shirley Blatchford in the Amphicar in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain during the CNE
1962 – Margaret Hintenseer and Shirley Blatchford in the Amphicar in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain during the CNE (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5785)

About the Amphicar

  • The amphibious vehicle was made in Berlin, Germany, and was in production from 1961 until 1968.
  • A total of 3,878 Amphicars were made.
  • The vehicle weighed 998 kg or 2,200 lbs.
  • The Amphicar had a solid steel hull, twin nylon propellers and an electric bilge pump.
  • It could reach speeds of 11 km/h on water and 112 km/h on land.
  • Operators simply flicked a gear lever to go from driving on land to cruising on the water.
  • The Amphicars were convertibles and originally came in four colours: Beach Sand White, Lagoon Blue, Regatta Red and Fjord Green.
  • Depending on the year, they originally sold for $2,800 to $3,300.
  • In 1962, there were seven Amphicar dealers in Ontario.
  • The vehicles were advertised as “the car that swims” and “it’s good to get off the beaten path.”

Amphicar at the CNE Photos

1962 - Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer wave to their spouses after successfully crossing Lake Ontario in an amphibious automobile from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE waterfront. In the background are the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand and the Shell Oil Tower
1962 – Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer wave to their spouses after successfully crossing Lake Ontario in an amphibious automobile from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE waterfront. In the background are the Exhibition Stadium & Grandstand and the Shell Oil Tower (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5790)
1962 - The Amphicar arriving at the waterfront during the Canadian National Exhibition
1962 – The Amphicar arriving at the waterfront during the Canadian National Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5792)
1962 - Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer emerging from Lake Ontario in an Amphicar after successfully crossing from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE grounds
1962 – Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer emerging from Lake Ontario in an Amphicar after successfully crossing from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the CNE grounds (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5793)
1962 - Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer receiving bouquets of roses at the CNE after crossing Lake Ontario in the Amphicar
1962 – Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer receiving bouquets of roses at the CNE after crossing Lake Ontario in the Amphicar (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5788)
1962 - Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer at the Canadian National Exhibition in their Amphicar, an amphibious automobile
1962 – Shirley Blatchford and Margaret Hintenseer at the Canadian National Exhibition in their Amphicar, an amphibious automobile (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5786)
1962 - Margaret Hintenseer and Shirley Blatchford in the Amphicar in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain during the CNE
1962 – Margaret Hintenseer and Shirley Blatchford in the Amphicar in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain during the CNE (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5785)
1962 - The Amphicar in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain with the Better Living Centre in the background, at Exhibition Place
1962 – The Amphicar in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain with the Better Living Centre in the background, at Exhibition Place (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5784)
2021 - The Princess Margaret Fountain with the Better Living Centre in the background, at Exhibition Place
2021 – The Princess Margaret Fountain with the Better Living Centre in the background, at Exhibition Place
SOURCE
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Jun 15, 1962, pg 12
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Aug 22, 1962, pg 45
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Aug 23, 1962, pg 5
  • Amphicar
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives