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New business delivers summer fun to local lakes

New business delivers summer fun to local lakes

This local startup rents portable sauna and Sea-Doos to those looking for a more adventurous way to explore the outdoors

Renting personal watercraft is a service that has long been mostly confined to southern Ontario, but a local couple is striving to change that.

Mattagami Powersport Rentals is a fledgling local business that offers Sea-Doo and portable sauna rentals to Timmins and the surrounding area. 

“We started this just to provide this service up north because anywhere north of North Bay or Sudbury, what we’re offering completely drops off,” says Brennen Boily, owner and operator of Mattagami Powersport Rentals. 

“I just kind of got fed up with people saying, ‘There’s nothing to do in Timmins’ and ‘Where can I rent a Sea-Doo?’ So, we kind of heard that for a few years and said you know what? Let’s try to provide that service,” he says. “We’re kind of bringing a slight southern Ontario or Muskoka vibe to Northern Ontario because down south, Sea-Doo rentals and sauna rentals are really big. Nobody does it up here and our whole family is big into boats and Sea-Doos and stuff, so it really reflects us.”

Boily and his wife, Ashlee Lessard, are in their second summer of running the business out of their home on the Mattagami River. While customers cannot launch from their property, MPR offers delivery and pickup services to cottages, campgrounds, the Mattagami boat launch, and other popular spots where people can enjoy a day on the water. 

“That’s the nice part about being in Northern Ontario. There’s so many beautiful lakes and rivers and beautiful spots to explore, so our business kind of suits that. If people want to go explore a lake, they can do a different lake every time they rent a Sea-Doo,” Boily says.

Renters may also pick up their personal watercraft themselves as long as they have a suitable towing vehicle. All rentals come with a full tank of gas, life jackets, and a water safety kit. Anyone operating a vessel on the water must possess a Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) or have proof of competency equivalence. No one under the age of 16 is allowed to operate a PWC. MPR can provide a temporary license for a small fee to those who need it. 

For those who are unfamiliar with operating a PWC, Boily ran a guided tour at the beginning of the summer to teach people some of the basics of how to operate the machines. He hopes to offer more tutorials in the future and get more people interested in renting. 

“It’s fun to interact with people and it’s fun to teach them. They have fun and it builds their confidence. And then, who knows? Those people could eventually have enough experience and confidence to rent on their own one day. I’m kind of prepping them and training them so I guess it benefits all of us,” Boily says.

MPR’s fleet currently consists of four Sea-Doos and one mobile sauna. Boily says they hope to expand to pontoon boats in the future, opening the business to a whole new demographic.

“It’d be nice to be able to get a whole family or two together on one boat where they could just enjoy the day,” Boily says.

For now, MPR is mostly a seasonal side hustle; Boily works full-time as an industrial mechanic and millwright at Kidd Mine and Lessard works full-time at Timmins Police. 

This year Boily, who already performs maintenance and repairs on the rental machines, has begun offering watercraft winterizations and plastic welding repairs to other PWC owners in the city. While their portable sauna is pretty popular in the winter, Boily says expanding to snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles to be more active year-round isn’t in the cards right now, though he doesn’t rule it out if demand is there in the future. 

Getting a business like this started in the first place was no small feat.

Obtaining commercial insurance and the proper licensing from the city almost left the business dead in the water before it even started. Supply chain issues due to COVID-19 meant that the four Sea-Doos they ordered for the 2022 summer season never arrived, but they were able to scrape together a last-minute fleet comprised of cancelled orders from other local businesses. 

Getting MPR running was also a huge investment upfront, so even though Boily says they aren’t seeing a huge profit just yet, he’s happy just to be able to offer a service that many people in Timmins have been craving.

For more information about Mattagami Powersport Rentals or to book online, visit their website.

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