Canada's most famous racing hydroplane, Miss Supertest III, will be on display at this year's Toronto International Boat Show Jan. 8 to 16 at the CNE's Direct Energy Centre.
Last displayed in the Toronto area many years ago at the Ontario Science Centre, Miss Supertest will be exhibited in the Industrial Building during the Boat Show's nine-day run.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Miss Supertest's climactic third defence of powerboat racing's most prestigious prize, the Harmsworth Trophy, in a series of races against an American speed boat in the waters of Lake Ontario off Picton.
Supertest III and her driver, Bob Hayward of Embro, Ont., had first won the Harmsworth in a 1959 showdown on the Detroit River against the American champion Maverick.
In keeping with tradition, a challenge for the Harmsworth always takes place in the home country of the champion and Supertest's first defence came in the summer of 1960 at Picton.
Thousands turned out for the races, including Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and Ontario Premier Leslie Frost. Hayward and Supertest won again, as they then did for the final time in 1961.
A month after their third Harmsworth defence, the 33-year-old Hayward was killed while driving Miss Supertest II in a race on the Detroit River. The boat's owner and designer, James G. (Jim) Thompson of London, Ont., who was a racing champion in his own right, quit the sport on the spot.
Said Thompson, who continues to own Miss Supertest III and gave permission for her appearance at the boat show: "With the untimely death of Bob Hayward, the members of our racing team would derive little satisfaction from further success."
In honor of Miss Supertest III and Bob Hayward, a ticker tape parade up Bay St. in Toronto attracted thousands and the stretch of water near Picton where they enjoyed their greatest success was renamed Hayward Long Reach. And this September, Canada Post will issue a special commemorative stamp.
Thompson, Hayward and Miss Supertest III are members of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Thompson and Hayward are also Honourable Mermbers of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.
For more information on the Toronto International Boat Show, go to torontoboatshow.com