After writing my memories of summer on my family farm outside of Toronto, I had to think of Alex’s life just a few miles away in East York, unknown to me. Now I see that the period I was writing about, picking vegetables etc. sitting in the shade of the two huge maples, this momentous incident was thrust upon the Morrisons.TEN BOYS MIGHT HAVE DIED INSTEAD OF FIVE IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE HEROIC RESCUE EFFORTS OF ALEC MORRISON AND FAMILY. PICTURED ARE MR MORRISON,  JOY 11, SANDY 10, SHARON 7, AND RONNIE 6


It would have been 10 boys dead instead of five yesterday if the Alex Morrison family hadn’t set out from Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club earlier than usual (for some reason Marjorie their Mom decided they could miss sunday school which was very unusual)for and afternoon cruise and if Mr. Morrison hadn’t noticed a strange object floating in the distance and if all eight members of the family hadn’t done their part in the resulting rescues. Survivors agreed on that as they shivered on shore later.
“They couldn’t have done a better job”, said William Anderson and George Petchiny as they were wrapped in blankets when they came to under artificial respiration on the beach. “They got to us just in time. Just when some of us were giving up hope. And they worked like a team”.
Rescuing people from lakes is nothing new for the Morrisons. Even 10 year old Sandy has previous rescues to his credit.
They are used to water too. So it was a lucky break for the lads struggling in the icy water when the Morrisons decided to pile the family into their trim cruiser , the 30 ft Peg 111 and cast off from the yacht club and head for Centre Island………

“The children were marvelous” said Mr Morrison. “Once Sandy and I would really get a grip on one cadet the rest of the kids would help haul him aboard.It was tricky work maneuvering the cruiser in the choppy waves and some of the boys were bobbing up in all directions. When we got the fifth boy aboard I noticed a cutter inshore. I headed the cruiser toward it and told the Sea Scouts in it what had happened.

“I brought them over to the scene and between us we got four unconscious boys aboard”
“Then when it looked like as though we had everybody I towed the cutter ashore with me”
After bringing the boys ashore Mr. Morrison and Sandy, turned their cruiser around and headed back to the wreck with other members of the yacht club.
Said Sandy “it had drifted far to the east and was heading in toward Fallingbrook, There wasn’t any trouble towing it in. But nobody seemed to know whether were any bodies in the lake or not. WE DID OUR BEST” Yacht club, city and Navy League officials were unanimous that their best was magnificent.

“If Sandy was in the boat I don’t think it would tip over”, said Joy. But Sandy said he didn’t have a clue to the mystery of the capsizing whale boat. All he could
say was “It was a perfect sunny day, but the waves got big”

Alex said he had a brief moment of celebrity at school, because of the pictures and articles all over the Toronto papers. We have all heard of men who are rescuers, and I guess Alex started at an early age.
By the time I met him, he had already come across some terrible car accidents and went in the ambulance with a lady once who was sure she was blind but he assured her there was just blood in her eyes. I am still in possession of a note mailed to him by someone who was so grateful for his help at the scene of their accident, at a different site.

I share this today, for Alex’s siblings and our children and grandchildren and others who might not have known about this incident which I am sure  affected and shaped his life.



  1. Judi Eakins (Ritchie)

    I was amazed and happy to read this article today after telling my friend about it. I remember it like it was yesterday. I would have been 11 years old at the time. I had many wonderful trips on the Peg III to Centre Island in the fall to celebrate Joy and Sandy’s birthdays. I was under the impression that the family received an award from the City of Toronto for their efforts. It was wonderful to see the photo of the kids and Mr. Morrison. I would love to get together with you sometime I the near future. Judi Eakins



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