Van Fancy Oars & Paddles
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Family History

Over 100 years of oar and paddle making experience is in the Fancy Family.

Grandfather - Clarence Fancy 24 years. 1957 to 1981

Father - Milton Fancy 49 years. 1957 to 2006

Uncle - Arnold Fancy had 16 years plus

Van Fancy 24 and counting


Some of you my have known Milton Fancy of Milton Fancy & Sons Oars & Paddles in Middle Cornwall Nova Scotia Canada.

Milton had been making oars and paddles for all most 50 years.

He started in the spring of April 17, 1957 to work for a man by the name of Nathan.

Nathan Joudrey and Sons shop was located in Blockhouse, Nova Scotia. The business was then operated with 15 employees mostly local men.

Nathan was well known in his day for making the new line of Sportsman's Pride oars and paddles, selling to Simpson - Sears, Niska and Wool co.

His product was shipped all over Canada.

Nathan then sold the Blockhouse business in 1972.


Dave and Ron Boston they renamed it Dafron Industry Ltd.

They ran the business in the Blockhouse shop for about 8 years.

Then built a new up to date plant in Oakhill, Nova Scotia.

The business was then moved and started selling world wide solid one piece and laminated oars and paddles. This is where Milton was a supervisor with 24 people working under him.

Dafron Industry closed their doors in May 1982.

Milton Fancy & Sons Oars & Paddles started May, 1st, 1983. 

Fixing an old shop up in his back yard was the first step to owning his own business.

 He purchased some of the old machinery and equipment from the Blockhouse and Oakhill business.

Then he built what ever was needed in the line of machinery to making the product.

Running his own business with his wife Melba by his side for all most 25 years.

Melba doing all the book work and helping in the shop when needed.

They have two sons Carson and Van who help a little as well in the 80's and 90's but went on to other jobs.


Milton's oars and paddles are well known thought North America.

Supplying the International Dory Racing committee, many marine shops and the regular Joe.

He was a humble man and enjoyed life to the fullest. The craftsman ship was done to perfection and is known world wide. His enthusiasm for the craft of oar and paddle making was shown in his line of work. Milton passed away on August 19, 2006 at the age of 67.

Van came to work for his father in September of 2000.

In May of 2006 he started his own business Van Fancy Oars & Paddles.

He had the honor to be taught for six years by the man that was known as the best.

Since then Van has been making and selling oars and paddles all over the world.


The quality and craftsmanship stand today as it did then.

The traditional steps for oar and paddle making are still done in the same way.

The machinery runs as it did in the 60's.


If it's loose... tighten it

If it squeaks... grease or oil it

If it's dull... then sharpen it.

January 22,1980

Milton Fancy of Middle Cornwall (left) and Lester Willniff of Blockhouse.

Loading boxes of spruce oars for shipment.

Early 1980's

Clinton Eisner (left) of Upper Cornwall.

Using a belt sander same style used today.

Clarence Fancy of Lower Cornwall.

Hand planning an oar on the same lathe used today.


Arnold Fancy shows a new line of "Sportsman's Pride" paddles.

Late 1980's

Arnold Fancy sawing out a oar on the same bandsaw used today.


October 24 1990

Milton Fancy next to the oars waiting to be sanded.

1970's Dafron logo.


2000 Fancy logo.

Van Fancy Oars & Paddles

2790 Cornwall Road. Mahone Bay, NS. B0J-2E0


Phone: 902 624 0275 office

            902 624 9166 shop