The story has been told before.
A man of means with good connections, well-educated, a citizen of the world, someone who could to choose to live anywhere, settled on the town of Barrie.
This particular newcomer arrived in Canada about 1870 and at first lived in Port Hope, Ont. After visiting Barrie, there was no other town for him.
Edwyn Brenton Andros could have put roots down anywhere but he fell in love with our community. No doubt, the blue waters of Kempenfelt Bay appealed to his sailor’s heart.
Andros was a Guernsey-born sea captain who had married in Wales. He brought his wife to India — as only an officer could — as he helped to quell a mutiny in the Maharashtra region of the country. His eldest son was born there and the next three were born in Wales while the last son was born in Port Hope.
In 1876, the Andros family was living in the mansion house known as Inchiquin, which was long ago demolished to make way for St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on Amelia Street. They spent some time in another well-appointed home on Owen Street and, by the end of the 1880s, had settled into a house closer to the waterfront, not far from the East Ward School.
Of course, these were largely the summer residences of the captain and his wife. As their sons grew and left home, most of them heading to western Canada, the couple began to travel a great deal and often wintered in the British Isles.
The Androses weren’t just fair-weather visitors. They involved themselves in the community at every chance. The Andros name was often associated with any fundraisers connected to the Collier Street Methodist Church and they were among those who launched the first hospital in Barrie.
But the captain had two passions; horses and sailing with the latter being his definite favourite. He was famed for his little yacht Spartan. If Captain Andros was not himself a competitor in the many regattas on the bay, he would be on the water somewhere, likely conveying the judges.
Because of this, the events of July 1890 were all the more tragic and ironic.
Captain Andros had just purchased a very high-end passenger wagon, fashioned on old English style, and pulled by four horses. As a test drive, he took a group of overjoyed young people all over town in his new rig and in doing so, realized that his custom-made harnesses weren’t up to his standards. One of the local saddlers would certainly make them right.
The next day, July 8, he decided to go from the east end to the centre of town by way of the water. He took the harnesses out on a small skiff that he kept on shore to travel out to his sailing boat moored farther out in deep water. He realized that he had forgotten his rudder on shore and called out to some young boys fishing nearby to bring it, which they did.
When he reached the sailing boat, the little skiff got away on him and floated out into the bay. Captain Andros affixed the rudder and made to chase down his elusive skiff when a sudden wind gust caught his sails and capsized the boat. The captain would have been fine if he had held onto his vessel but he took one more lunge at the smaller drifting boat and missed. He sank, which was witnessed by the boys and several other bystanders on shore.
It seems that Kempenfelt Bay claimed what the oceans of the world could not. Captain E.B. Andros was 50 years old.
Each week, the Barrie Historical Archive provides BarrieToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past. This unique column features photos and stories from years gone by and is sure to appeal to the historian in each of us.