There was rumour going around at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show a couple weeks ago that after nearly 50 years in the canoe-making business, Nova Craft Canoe was closing its doors.
Luckily, it isn’t true. Phew!
However, they are going through a major change.
Tim Millar, a good friend of mine and a legend in the canoe world who gave Nova Craft direction for over 30 years, sold the business so he can retire in style and head out on more canoe trips. Tim deserves a break. He devoted countless years to get more paddlers out on the water. Now it’s his turn to get out there with them.
The business couldn’t be in better hands. Chris Rath purchased the company effective January 31st, 2019, stating: “with the solid foundation built by Tim and the team, I look forward to taking Nova Craft Canoe to its next level of growth and service to our customers.”
I met Chris during last week’s Canoecopia Trade Show in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s an outstanding person and is dedicated to provide exceptional products and customer service, as well as providing a great working environment for the Nova Craft employees.
Nova Craft began in 1970 in Glanworth, Ontario in the garage of Ken Fisher. He ran the small-scale operation out of his back yard near London, Ontario producing a limited selection of fibreglass canoes. Over the years, the reputation for Fisher’s quality designs and workmanship spread, and when Tim Miller and Pat Malloy took over the business in the late 1980s, new materials and models were added and the customer base grew.
Some thirty years later, with added models and new-age materials, demand for Nova Craft canoes has spread over a wider geographic area. They have an expanding dealer network throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.
Under Tim Miller’s leadership, Nova Craft Canoe has become an internationally respected brand and an industry leader in adopting advanced composite materials and technology. While some things have changed over the last 50 years, their core focus remains simple: build quality canoes that give paddlers special experiences in the great outdoors.
It’s all about making a connection to nature and wild places, be it solo or with friends and family. Nova Craft is looking forward to continuing to honour this commitment with Chris at the helm.
Tim was there at Canoecopia as well (his show badge said “The Old Guy” and Chris’s badge read “The New Guy”). He gave the following statement to everyone there:
“After working with Chris for the last three to four months, I am confident that we are handing Nova Craft over to a very competent and experienced manager who will continue to build the Nova Craft brand well into the future. I look forward to working with Chris to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Also, I would like to thank all our customers and suppliers who have given us amazing support over the last 32 years as well as our dedicated employees who put their hearts and souls into building the best Canadian canoes for the world.”
Good luck on your retirement, Tim. You’ve been a solid friend for many years and Nova Craft has always been my first choice to paddle.