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About Us

The story of Great Lakes Schooner Company began in 1991, the same year Harbourfront Centre was launched as a major milestone in the redevelopment of Toronto’s now-spectacular waterfront. That summer, we began operating our first vessel – the 96-foot three-masted schooner Challenge.

Since then, we’ve been growing right along with the popularity of Harbourfront as one of Toronto’s premier tourist destinations. It’s been full sail ahead!

Responding to growing demand, in 1993 we opened a thriving agency business, which placed clients on other cruise boats in Toronto Harbour. That part of our operations grew so quickly, however, that it soon became clear we needed to expand our own fleet.

In 1994, Great Lakes Schooner Company added one of the original Maid of the Mist boats (from Niagara Falls) to our fleet, and we ran public cruises in Toronto Harbour for several years until it was sold to a company in Parry Sound, Ont. (The boat is still operating 30,000 Island cruises out of “Parry Hoot,” so if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!)

In 1999, we set off on an adventure to find a “tall ship” (a traditionally rigged sailing vessel), and after a long search we found one in Denmark. We transported Kajama, built in 1930, back to Canada for an extensive refit, and since then its soaring masts and majestic profile have made it a leading attraction in the Toronto Harbour – and indeed for all of Ontario. We operate Kajama today for corporate cruises, public day sales, weddings and just about any other occasion our clients want to celebrate. The tall ship has also been featured in many movies, TV shows and photoshoots here in Hollywood North!

Our journey didn’t stop there. In 2008, GLSC bought another company in Toronto Harbour called Cruise Toronto Inc., acquiring the modern motor yacht Obsession III, which features a distinctive retractable roof and plenty of space for dining and dancing between the gunwales. Today, we operate Obsession III from the central waterfront for corporate events, private cruises, and public brunch and dinner cruises.

Together, our twin companies Great Lakes Schooner Company and Cruise Toronto Inc. operate the most distinctive vessels in Toronto, and we are proud to say we have become a leader in serving visitors to the Harbourfront from near and far. We take every precaution to ensure that our cruises are not only fun, but safe, too. Client safety is a top priority for all of us at GLSC.

So is our commitment to the community. We are active members of the Toronto Waterfront BIA, and we support numerous charitable and educational initiatives in the Toronto area. During the pandemic, we were the only cruise company in the Harbour to run all of its vessels through the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Despite all the challenges of lockdowns and social distancing, we managed to keep our staff employed – and keep smiles on our clients’ faces.

We are proud of that, too.