Classic Toronto Dive Shop Sinks Into History


Toronto Dive Industry on the Ropes?

First signs that the current recession is taking its toll of Toronto's scuba industry appeared early in 2009 when the classey Toronto dive shop, Waterline, quietly closed its doors. The dive store, located on Avenue Road in the heart of Lawrence Park, one of Toronto's most affluent neighbourhood, has been servicing sport divers since 1992.
The shop, established by Wendy Rutherford and her late husband Craig, was a full service store. It offered equipment, repairs, classes and popular dive trips. Waterline was the first shop to use the Internet to effectively communicate with divers throughout the city.
Rutherford has always believed in having a close relationship with the dive community. On her website she has long said that the goal of her store was "to provide top-quality merchandise from companies which stand behind their products and value customer satisfaction, and to provide incredible customer service by knowing our products, providing the information necessary to help you to make the right decision."
After the store closed in the January, the Waterline website advertised a clearance sale of up to 80% off. However, that sale never did occur. Early in April, the store's inventory was silently moved out of Waterline, and large For Rent signs were posted in the building's empty window.
The closure of Waterline leaves the city of Toronto (Canada's largest city) with just two full-service dive shops .... Aquarius and Watersports. At one time the city sported close to a dozen full-service dive shops.
Canada's largest dive shop, Scuba 2000, is located in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto. There are dive shops located in nearby Mississauga and Whitby.

Other Dive Related Closures:

Kingston Museum out of the dive conference business ... for now. Last year this website wrote about the ambitious plans of Kingston, Ontario's Marine Museum, to host an annual conference about the exploits of Kingston's underwater wreck hunters.
Although the initial weekend conference had its problems (a keynote speaker refused to give a lecture because a former photographer colleague of his was in the audience), the museum spent much of the past winter preparing for a second conference in the summer.
Those plans are now on hold, the museum has announced that "Kingston Underwater: A Celebration of Underwater Exploration" will not be staged this year.
In a letter to this website, museum conference co-ordinator Gord Blake said that there weren't the people resources needed to make the conference happen. "It (volunteer work) took its toll on the small band of 5 and the energy just wasn't there to continue," wrote Blake. "There were some great elements to the event and some tweaking needed to be made to others to improve future editions."
Blake is hopeful those ideas have not been lost and suggests that the Celebration of Underwater Exploration could rise from its water grave of failed dive shows and be staged again in 2010.
The YMCA is now out of the dive certification business. - Just as Waterline was closing its doors, the YMCA was also pulling the plug on its dive operation.
One of the pioneers of scuba instruction, both the YMCA in Canada and in the United States, ended its scuba programme in January 2009.
"YMCA has offered the scuba program for fifty years, and it has touched the lives of many YMCA members and volunteers," read a press release issued by the institute. "We are proud to have had the opportunity to prepare and certify so many participants for safe and responsible diving."
Although their scuba program has ended their lifetime scuba certification will remain valid. YMCA of the USA has promised to assist divers with fulfillment of a lost certification card from 1984 to the present. (Divers certified before '84 will need to retake Scuba course or take a refresher course because the Y will not fulfilling a lost card request prior to that date.)
Behind the scenes a group of former YMCA instructors have started a new Y-like certification. Late last year they began the company under the name Scuba Acquisitions Inc, (YDI Scuba). Since then they have changed the name of the new dive training association to Scuba Educators International (SEI Diving). The agency is based in Muncie, Indiana. The website is:
No American Eagle to Bonaire. American Airline has announced the cancellation of its service to Bonaire. As of May 1st, Bonaire, one of the Caribbean's premier dive destinations, will no longer be linked to San Juan, Puerto Rico (American Eagle Hub).
Last month American Airlines said that it ended its Bonaire route "to streamline operations and contain costs.
Delta Airline has added more flights to Bonaire and Insel Air, a new Caribbean airline is offering Miami to Curacao flights with follow-on service to Bonaire, through Aruba.
No Ship sinking this June. The Cayman Islands have delayed, again, the sinking of the USS Kittiwake. The popular tourist destination had planned to sink the 63-year old decommissioned US Naval 2290-ton submarine rescue ship, and create an artificial reef and new dive site. A representative of the island told this writer that the delays have been caused by environmental concerns, but, that once the Kittiwake has been stripped and cleaned, the sinking would occur. No date has been given, but, indications are that it won't happen in 2009.


Anonymous said…
The USS Kittiwake ASR-13 was a 2290-ton submarine rescue ship not a submarine tender.

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