The Wilson Family Story

In 1950, the boat, Miss Canada IV, shattered the 200 mph water speed barrier.

Harold and Lorna is the  movie and history of the Canadian couple behind the story.

 "Harold and Lorna is the finest production I have ever seen on boat racing... No one, unless you have been a racer, will truly understand how hard it is to beat the great American dynasties. The Wilson family did it first. Bravo!"

Ted Abel, Past President, Canadian Boating Federation;
Past Canadian National Champion


Miss Canada IV (MCIV) going 172 MPH
Miss Canada IV (MCIV) going 172 MPH


The Story...

The almost-forgotten exploits of Harold and Lorna Wilson, who raced their Miss Canada boats into international fame, made Canadians proud and racing fans everywhere stand up and cheer.

Harold and Lorna Wilson - the winners
Harold and Lorna Wilson - the winners

Foreword...The Harold & Lorna movie project from the perspectives of the Director, the Executive Producer and the son of the original race team.


Miss Canada IV: 1949-1950

Miss Canada IV
Miss Canada IV

Canada’s 1st Harmsworth Trophy Challenger

When Gar Wood’s Miss America won the British International Trophy – a.k.a. the Harmsworth Trophy - for his country in 1920, the USA began a remarkable reign as the world’s supreme powerboat racing nation. For the next 13 years, Wood defended the trophy against all comers and also set a succession of world water speed records; even determined British challenges led by the likes of Marion Carstairs, Kaye Don and Hubert Scott-Paine fell short.  So dominant was the United States in engine and boat design that no nation issued a Harmsworth challenge after 1933. By 1948, boat racing’s holy grail was collecting dust in the Detroit Yacht Club.

No longer an inconsequential British colony, post-war Canada was ready to take on the world and E.A. felt his team had the “right stuff” to do what the British had failed to do. Miss Canada III ‘s handling and riding characteristics were legendary, but the valiant 10 year old boat could no longer match the raw speed of the USA’s new “3 -point” hydroplanes. If Canada was to challenge for the Harmsworth Trophy, the Wilsons needed a bigger, more powerful boat. The rules stipulated that every component of an entrant had to be produced in the country it represented. Greavette’s boat builders were among the very best in the world, but Canada did not yet manufacture engines that could match the American Alisons and Packards. What to do?

E.A.’s service on Canada’s wartime Munitions and Supply Board had put him into direct contact with Rolls Royce in England and the awesome Griffon-powered Spitfire Mk XII.  The Harmsworth rules committee, eager to see competition renewed, accepted the Wilsons’ argument that Canada could challenge on behalf of the British Commonwealth and would allow the use of British engines. E.A. used his wartime connections to convince Rolls Royce to reverse company policy, re-enter marine racing, and to “test” a Griffon for an extended period of time  -in Canada- before delivery to the Royal Air Force.


Behind the Camera

“For every body on stage, there are four more backstage.”

Film photos

The old theatre maxim certainly holds true for the movie biz as well. Beyond the speaking roles and extras are the usual suspects: researchers and screenwriters, directors, producers, cameramen, sound and technical crews, makeup artists and facilitators of every description.

From the beginning of this project, however, Muskoka Film Works has relied on something less Hollywood and more theatrical: a legion of volunteers and facilities and equipment offered at little or no cost. Harold & Lorna is forever indebted to the people and organizations in this category, for without them the film would never have made it into production.

Backstage crews and organizations seldom receive the acknowledgement they deserve. Credits fly by on the screen while the audiences scramble on to their next engagement. It’s a fact of life in this wildly busy world. If you’ve read this far, you’ve found some spare time so I’d like to start a backstage tour with them.

Muskoka Steamship & Historical Society gave us a day on the Segwun, the steamship celebrating 125 years service to the Muskoka Lakes in 2012. Right there in her wake were Antique & Classic Boat Society members Chris Cragg, Alan Cranfield, Bobby Genovese, Rolf Gerling, Rick McGraw and Buffy O’Driscoll with their remarkable collection of classic wooden race and family boats.

Canadore College in North Bay hosted auditions, rehearsals, and the 1st week of filming. Gravenhurst’s Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre opened its doors for meetings, film shoots and extensive archival research.

John Lyons from Picton spent many hours researching the Miss Canada days in that waterfront community. The extended Wilson family, including the Elliott, Korell, Warden and Mitchell clans, provided crucial family archives, as well as accommodation, chase boats and drivers for the production company. In addition, dozens of family “extras” appear in the film; some like Syd Lawson and Andrew Blackwell make their speaking role debuts.

And the family contributed in some unusual ways. For example, James offered his huge collection of model racing boats, and because the models had been stored for many years in the open, they were filthy. So sister June, who has an interest in a wholesale supply company provided the necessary professional cleaning supplies and equipment - with enough love and care and rags, polish and detergent, the models made their film debut. Just goes to show you how determination, elbow grease and knowing the right janitorial supplies vendor can help make memorable scene - proven by the mention in the Times Spirit review.

The company is indebted to Lil & Morris Bruce, Bobby Genovese, Doreen Uren, Murray Walker and Al Ward for their memories and insights into the lives of the racing Wilsons.

Finally, Sean Hungerford and Bill Mooney; were it not for their expertise and hours of hard labour, we would have no presence on the internet.



2013 Movie Updates


Director Bill Plumstead is interviewed by CBC Radio's Barry Mercer.


Docudrama kicks off Sports Hall Rebuilding Campaign.

Muskoka Film Works' Harold and Lorna kicked off a fund-raising campaign in support of the Ingersoll Sports Hall of Fame in the famous racing couple's home town. The photograph below shows Harold and Lorna Wilson's two sons holding both ends of a cheque in the amount of $5000.00, the amount raised through the September 14 Gala screening.

Harold & Lorna Supports Muskoka Charity

All proceeds from the August 22-23 Gravenhurst Premiere of Harold & Lorna - over $11,000.00 - went to assist in the building of kids' bedrooms in the Habitat for Humanity Muskoka homes being built for the Martin and Prosser families.  Muskoka Film Works thanks and congratulates everyone for their enthusiastic support of this wonderful charity.


Project Friends

These Friends have played critical roles in bringing the movie& boat restoration projects to life

Antique and Classic Boat Society
 Toronto Chapter
A staunch supporter of the movie and restoration effort, ACBS-Toronto strives to raise public awareness and appreciation of the importance of protecting, preserving and promoting our Canadian heritage of vintage water craft and related artifacts.  The Society also works with and supports organizations with strong linkages to its interests, events and communities.

BG Capital Group
BG Capital Management  Corporation is a multi-faceted financial corporation based in Barbados specializing in international equities, asset consolidation, strategic partnerships and real estate trusts.  Founder and Chairman Bobby Genovese, a Toronto native and Muskoka summer resident who celebrates historic wooden boats at every opportunity, led the charge to turn the project's movie and boat restoration dreams into reality.

Flight Engineering
This UK company specializes in a number of fields from industrial automation to construction of light aircraft.   They were selected to modify and supply the 3,000 horse power Rolls Royce Griffon engine and transmission used to power the restored Miss Canada IV.

Town of Gravenhurst
The Gateway to the Muskokas, the Town of Gravenhurst is rich in boating heritage.  Originally the terminus of 18th century rail lines heading north where visitors would transfer onto steamships to travel to wilderness hotels, the Town retains its links to this era as home port to R.M.S. Segun, at 125 yrs old the longest serving steamer in North America.  By the mid 20th century, Gravenhurst had become a world leader in wooden boat design and construction.  Greavette, Ditchburn and other marques are highly sought-after, even today.  The Town was the home port of the Greavette-built Miss Canada race boats, and today hosts the annual Antique & Classic  Boat Show and powerboat races on Gull Lake.

Ingersoll Machine and Tool
IMT was founded back in 1914 by the Wilson family and although under different ownership IMT continues its proud history of growth and development within the community. IMT gives homage to the Wilson family and the Miss Canada IV by supporting this historic film, Harold and Lorna.  As a Canadian owned manufacturing corporation, serving a wide variety of industries, it is IMTs mandate to make worthwhile ventures such as this possible.

Harold & Lorna and Miss Canada IV Facebook Page
This Facebook page is an interactive forum for fans, providing regular updated information on the movie about the famous Canadian racing couple and the restoration of their iconic, record-breaking Miss Canada.

Hydroplane & Race Boat Museum 
In addition to thrilling fans when the likes of Miss Budweiser and The Blue Blaster roar back to life, the Museum is also home to historical and educational information on hydroplane racing, including books, newspaper stories, photos, video footage and online special events. 

Town of Ingersoll
Incorporated in 1852, Ingersoll evolved from an agricultural town into a centre of industrial innovation. The heart of Ontario’s dairy country, birthplace of Laura Secord and the north end of the Underground Railroad, the town’s fame grew in the 20th century. Situated half way between Detroit and Oshawa, it attracted entrepreneurs and businesses serving the rapidly expanding automobile industry, and provided the Miss Canada team with unmatched technological advantages.

Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre 

This Gravenhurst, Ontario boat and heritage centre preserves and exhibits the unique history that defines the Muskoka area, captivating cottagers and visitors alike.  They own and operate the historic Royal Mail ship The RMS Segwun, the oldest steam-driven vessel in North America, built in 1887.  Along with the many frequently changing displays in their beautifully designed building is an in-water exhibit of working antique boats.

Muskoka Magazine
Muskoka Magazine is the magazine for people who enjoy Muskoka's unique life style and care about its future, providing coverage of fascinating people, things to see and do, special places, and current issues facing those with an interest in Muskoka.

Muskoka Transport 
Muskoka Transport has been the only company entrusted to transport the historic Miss Canada IV for over twenty years. Most recently, MT brought the boat "back home" from Ingersoll to Gravenhurst and Port Carling for restoration, and is responsible for delivering her British-built Rolls Royce Griffon engine for installation.

Tom Adams Boatbuilder
Tom Adams, the Port Carling boat builder who restores and refinishes antique and classic wooden boats, was chosen to restore the famous Miss Canada IV.  After a year spent rebuilding the hull, he and his team faced the challenge of installing the 3,000 horse power Rolls Royce Griffon engine and related running gear in time for the boat's Summer 2012 launch date.

Woody Boater 
This is the premier website for those who enjoy classic wooden boats.  This site connects boat enthusiasts from around the world with their stories and pictures of their boats, new projects and events.



More Background On Harold and Lorna

"Harold and Lorna: World Water Speed Champions" is a captivating docu-drama that showcases the remarkable achievements and enduring legacy of Harold and Lorna Wilson, a Canadian couple who dominated the world of powerboat racing. The film delves into their thrilling adventures, from breaking water speed records with their famed boat Miss Canada IV to their significant cultural impact in the early-to-mid 20th century. Notable Canadian actor David Fox leads a cast that combines both seasoned and emerging talents, adding depth to this historically rich portrayal.

The production enjoyed significant community support, including key contributions from local businesses and historical societies, which helped bring authenticity and a rich local flavor to the film. The docu-drama not only celebrates the Wilsons' sporting achievements but also emphasizes their contribution to the community, with proceeds from premieres supporting local charities and initiatives​.

The film was well-received during its premiere at the Doc North Film Festival and subsequently shown in Gravenhurst, reflecting both its historical significance and its resonance with contemporary audiences.



The film "Harold and Lorna" has garnered positive attention, especially among enthusiasts of power boating and Canadian heritage. Its release sparked interest at film festivals and community screenings, particularly in areas connected to the historical context of the film. The support from local businesses and historical societies not only aided the film’s production but also helped it resonate well with audiences, reflecting a strong community connection and appreciation for the story it tells. This indicates a solid niche popularity, especially within Canadian cultural and historical circles.


Press & Media Coverage

"Harold and Lorna" received press and media coverage that highlighted its premiere and special screenings. The film was featured in local newspapers and online outlets, which discussed its historical significance and the enthusiastic reception at various events. Coverage often focused on the community support that helped bring the film to fruition, as well as the impact of the film's portrayal of a significant chapter in Canadian boating history. These articles typically emphasized the local roots and cultural importance of the story, contributing to a positive public reception.



The audience for the film "Harold and Lorna" primarily consists of enthusiasts of power boating, Canadian history, and fans of docu-dramas. The film's appeal is bolstered by its focus on a significant chapter in Canadian sporting history, making it particularly attractive to audiences interested in historical narratives and Canadian cultural heritage. Additionally, its community screenings and ties to charitable causes have also drawn local audiences, particularly in areas associated with the Wilsons' story and the power boating community.


Known For

The film "Harold and Lorna" is known for its portrayal of the Wilsons, a Canadian couple who became world-renowned in the realm of power boating. It highlights their achievements in breaking water speed records and their contributions to the sport. The film combines historical insights with dramatic reenactments, featuring community support and local Canadian heritage. Its release has been notable for engaging local audiences and supporting regional charitable causes, making it a significant cultural piece in Canadian cinema.


Cultural & Social Significance

The film "Harold and Lorna" holds cultural and social significance as it revives and celebrates the legacy of Harold and Lorna Wilson, key figures in Canadian power boating history. Their story not only highlights their sporting achievements but also underscores their pioneering spirit against international competitors, which resonated deeply within the Canadian cultural landscape. The film serves to educate and inspire current and future generations about the impact of the Wilsons on Canadian sports and the broader cultural identity of excellence and perseverance in the face of challenges.