Nestled on the shores of scenic Pigeon Lake in the heart of the Trent-Severn Waterway, Bobcaygeon’s Happy Days Houseboats and Marina is a family-run business providing unique and exceptional waterborne recreational experiences for families for more than 35 years.
Owned by the Quast family since its inception in 1978, the company has grown to a fleet of 20 houseboats, comprising seven different models. There is also an adjacent 54-slip, full-service marina, meaning both regular and occasional boaters get the benefit of Happy Days’ quality products and customer service.
Frank and Jill Quast took over full ownership of the operation in 2000, three years after Frank’s dad passed away. Siegfried Quast was a welder who emigrated to Canada from Germany. His wife loved to fish, especially in the Kawartha Highlands and Trent-Severn system, so he constructed a steel frame and platform, mounted on pontoons to enjoy their hobby. After being rained on a few times Siegfried constructed a small, enclosed cabin on that platform that caught the eye of fellow boaters. That is when he hit upon the idea of building more of these houseboats to rent to anglers, families and groups of friends.
And it was felt that Pigeon Lake and Bobcaygeon would be the ideal location. While manufacturing is no longer part of Happy Days Houseboats mandate, the family and it’s more than two-dozen peak-season staff are still exceedingly busy, and happily so.
“It’s not your typical vacation. It’s adventurous – like a working holiday because on a houseboat, everyone has a job to do. It’s a great way for families to reconnect too, away from the television, internet and all the distractions and busyness of life,” said Jill Quast regarding the lure of house boating.
“And another part of the attraction to our company is that we are right on the Trent-Severn waterway. There’s nothing like it in North America as part of the history, geography and culture of the communities that people travel through. We are so fortunate to live here and be able to do business here.”
The Quasts have never rested on their laurels. They keep track of all the latest boating and navigation technologies, and are adept at anticipating the varying and changing needs of their clientele, which includes multi-generational families, groups of friends and even corporate team-building retreats.
Jill said she, Frank and their staff have also worked collaboratively and built solid working relationships with Parks Canada, which manages the waterway, and the various municipalities through which it flows.
“We are lucky to have great, responsive community leadership. It’s wonderful to share the business community with them. One of the strengths of this community is that it allows people to explore their entrepreneurial spirit and I think if you’re passionate about something and love doing it, why wouldn’t you want to do it here in the City of Kawartha Lakes?” she said.
For more information on Happy Days Houseboats, visit them on Facebook or at www.happydayshouseboats.com.