Under the headline shown above, the Expositor reported that Captain Bob Pitfield of Killarney opened navigation ofr 1953, arriving at Little Current, on Manitoulin Island, at 12:35 p.m., Friday April 10th. He had captained the Wilma Ann, a diesel fishing tug, to a new record.
The Expositor reported that the Wilma Ann carried no load so that the steel plating would take the full brunt of the sharp ice. Ice was encountered in Landsdowne Channel, south of Heywood Island to Sheguiandah Bay and through the Strawberry Channel; they had cut through about eight miles of ice.
Telephone lines were down at the time, reports the Expositor, and back in Killarney the captains of three other tugs loaded with fish were waiting to hear from Captain Pitfield, hoping they could also get through with their cargo.
Wilma Ann was owned by A.J. Lowe. Franklin Proulx was engineer. Arnold Roque and Steven Beaucage were crew members. Ed McNabb was a passenger on that trip, as were several unidentified Hydro workers.
Captain Bob Pitfield also opened the season the year before, on April 23rd, 1952, with the Blue Fin,a tug owned by A.J. Lowe's son, Jack.
The Expositor listed the following opening dates for the five years prior to 1953: April 17 1948; April 16 1949; May 4 1950 (the Wilma Ann); April 17 1951, and April 23 1952 (the Blue Fin).
Robert Joseph (Bob) Pitfield was born in 1911 to George James and Marguerite Pitfield. Bob and his brothers sailed on the Lakes for many years.