The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 5, 1844

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Disasters in the Late Gale, on Lake Ontario.

On Friday the 18th ult. - the schooner John Walsh, sunk off Long Point, all hands lost - vessel and cargo a total wreck - laden with salt from Kingston.

The schooner Native, Adams, from Kingston, in ballast, all hands perished - vessel in pieces.

Another schooner, unknown, sunk at Long Point.

In the Snow Storm of Monday last, the 28th ult.-

The schooner Sir Charles Bagot, the schooner Lady Bagot, and propeller Beagle, all with cargoes - goods all damaged - on shore at Port Dalhousie - no lives lost.

The schooner Thistle, Burner, from Kingston, with a cargo of goods, on shore at Niagara.

The schooner Maid of the Mill, ashore at Humber.

The schooner Sir F. B. Head on shore between Niagara and Port Dalhousie, load of flour entirely damaged - 3 feet water in the hold.

The schooner John Simpson, on shore near Oakville. [Toronto Canadian, Nov. 2nd]


The situation of Windsor harbor is about midway between this place and Toronto, or about thirty miles from each. Its appearance, capaciousness, natural position, and the solidity of the work done at it, are certainly calculated to impress the superficial observer with the idea that Windsor Harbor is, every observable advantage considered, inferior to none on this side of Lake Ontario. It is formed by a large curve in the lake, and possesses the advantage of a convertible swamp. From the two points, where the curve commences and terminates, is placed down a straight line of substantial wood work, which completely divides the bay from the Lake, leaving only sufficient room for vessels to pass in or out, and protecting the bay from the storms and commotions to which the lake may be subjected. The pier or breakwater, by which the bay is divided from the lake is not entirely artificial, being placed upon a bar of sand formerly covered with shallow water. The bar is capable of sheltering as many vessels as, in all probability, increased commerce will bring to it in half a century from this time. The mouth of the harbor has the advantage of having been cut through the sand bar, and the harbor is, in many places so shallow that steamers frequently touch the bottom, and it will require a good deal of dredging to render it perfect. Whether it be liable to choke up with sand we are not certain, but from its position, and the sand-bar by which it was originally divided from the lake, as well as from the shallowness already mentioned, we should be almost inclined to infer that it is subjected to that irremediable evil. The site is considered by some, to be ill-chosen, as there is another marsh, at a short distance, which, with half the labor, it is said, would have made a better harbor. If this be the case, Government have applied a large sum of money to a very bad purpose.

The town of Oshawa, lies three miles back from the Lake, and there is not so much as a single tavern in the Landing. There is some speculation relative to placing down a railroad from the Town to the Harbor. The reason of this great distance from the Town to the Harbor is to be found in the fact that a powerful creek runs through the town and the absence of any hydraulic power near the harbor. There are three or four grist mills on the creek between the Town and the Lake, and Oshawa has the appearance of being a thriving village.

Between this town and Windsor harbor lies Port Darlington and Bond Head. At both places there is a sufficient depth of water, both without an uncommon expense could be made good harbours; but from their proximity to one another (five miles distance we believe) it is impossible that the back country can furnish sufficient trade to repay the expenditure of a large amount of money upon both; for no matter how rapidly the prosperity of the back country may advance, it must be a long time before the trade will be sufficient to support two expensive harbors at a distance of only five miles from one another, anywhere on this portion of Lake Ontario. Two towns so situated must ever be rivals, and the one possessing the best natural advantages must eventually outstrip the other in prosperity.

We next come to Port Hope Harbor. The quantity of marsh given originally, by J.D. Smith Esq., to be converted into a harbor was ten acres. A creek runs through it, and on the west it is sheltered by a large hill bearing the name 'Fort Orton'. From the mouth of the harbor two piers placed in a parallel position, stretch out into the lake. The depth of water is quite sufficient for the purpose of navigation; steamers can touch at either side of the wharf, and the hardness of the bottom renders it impossible that the mouth of the piers can be subject to the evils of choking up. The vessels sail completely up where the marsh has been dredged out, and where in the most violent storms the water does not in any measure share the common agitation of the Lake, being completely surrounded by land. During the late violent storms the vessels lying in it were unmoved. The size of the Harbor is, however, contracted, and not capable of containing more than about sixteen Schooners, though it is capable of being made sufficiently large to contain ten times that number.

Cobourg Harbor is next; it lies about seven miles below Port Hope. The work recently done there is of an expensive and substantial character. There is no Bay, marsh or curve in the border of the lake. Two piers are placed down in a triangular position converging at the points, but leaving the necessary room for steamers to pass between. The work is in every respect, artificial, and it is a pity that so much money should have been expended upon it, for except for the face of nature can be changed by artificial means, it can never be made a good harbor. During the late storm, a schooner lying in it was sunk. It is liable to choke up, and is also subject to about the same degree of agitation as any portion of the Lake not bearing the name of a harbor. [not credited by Whig but News credits Port Hope Gazette]

p.3 Row Among The Canallers - Irish factions still fighting. [Cornwall Observer, Oct. 30th]

Notice - Lachine Canal to have water drawn off and be closed on Nov. 15th. Board of Works.

ad for str. Bytown. Nov. 5th, 1844.

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Nov. 5, 1844
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 5, 1844