Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Angela Durand sits outside her camper which is decorated to look just like the yellow submarine in the well-known song by The Beatles.

In a lawn chair beside the blue-and-yellow 1968 camper painted with pictures of John, Paul, George and Ringo — a little yellow propeller attached to the back — Durand strums her ukulele and sings about the community that’s developed around the small moulded fibreglass Boler.

“I bought it. Then I did research on the Boler. Then I became addicted to Bolers,” she said. “I love it.”

Hundreds of the unique trailers have descended on Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention.

The Boler camper became famous on highways throughout North America as the “egg on wheels,” said event organizer Ian Giles. About 10,000 of the ultralight fibreglass trailers were manufactured and sold between 1968 and 1988.

RELATED: A first-hand look at hazards facing scooter users

Giles describes it like two bathtubs joined together to form a hollow container.

“What is unique about them is most of them have no wood inside of them at all, so there is nothing to rot. They have no seams, so there is no possibility of leaks,” he said.

“They are like a boat — a fibreglass boat — so you can repair them. That is why so many of them are still around today.”

Giles said it’s not just the way the camper is built that makes it special. It’s the community it inspires.

He picked up his Boler, named Buttercup, eight years ago because it fit his and his wife’s camping needs. He wanted to make a couple of changes to his camper, but struggled finding fixes online or anywhere in Calgary where he lives.

Giles created a website to share what he’d learned about modifying his Boler and soon enthusiasts from across North America were reaching out with tips or asking questions. It quickly became a large and entertaining online community. A plan hatched to get together.

“When you buy one of these trailers, you are almost joining a sorority,” he said.

“We are all very similar. Each of us want to make our trailer our own. We all have phenomenal memories of camping in these units and the friends we made.”

All of the 450 campers parked at Red River Exhibition Park for the weekend are either an original Boler or a trailer inspired by the Boler’s design. Some still have the original paint job but others have been redesigned with bright colours and flowers.

RELATED: Shuswap man goes full tilt for pinball

There’s a rumour swirling that No. 3 — the third Boler ever made — is going to arrive.

Giles said he figures it’s the largest gathering of moulded fibreglass trailers in history.

J.J. McColm’s Boler-Chevy combo unit called ‘C’ Plus catches the eye of everyone passing by. The Lloydminster, Alta., resident bought the 1975 Boler to travel to car shows with his 1938 Chevy Master Sedan. But soon the little trailer was stealing the limelight.

“The car without the trailer, people walk right by it. With the trailer, they tend to walk right to it.”

The Boler’s birthday party includes demonstrations from experts, the first 3D-printed trailer and musical acts every night. The camp is open to the public on Saturday.

Bolers have been about creating memories for the last 50 years, Giles said. That’s why campers from as far away as Texas, California, Newfoundland, Yukon and Vancouver Island have made the journey for the party.

“When you park in a campground, you have people coming up to you telling you stories about when they were youngsters and a relative or friend had a Boler,” he said.

“And they are still making memories today.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Record amount raised during this year’s Smile Cookie campaign in Red Deer

Tim Hortons owners presented a cheque for $41,238 that goes to the Reading College program

First annual Alumni Breakfast celebrates continued excellence in Central Alberta

Three guest speakers will chat about the Women of Excellence

Vigil held for hundreds of transgender victims killed in 2018

Nov. 20th marks the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Red Deer City Council approved approves $121 million capital budget this evening

Budget focuses on sustainability and preparing for future growth

Code of conduct needed after Curling Classic debacle, says Red Deer Curling Manager

Wade Thurber says code of conduct will help organizers in the future if another incident occurs

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

Richard Oland was killed ‘in a rage,’ prosecutor tells son’s murder trial

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Most Read