The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 28, 1882

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Choice of Routes - Estimated Cost Of The Route.


It is unnecessary here to mention the surveys and recommendations made by engineers previous to 1866. The result of the surveys of that year and the following one are embodied in the full report of Chief Engineer Page, made in 1868. Route No. 1 of this report commences at the northwest angle of the head of Quinte, and after running southwesterly for about 4,800 feet south of Dead Creek, strikes into Dead Creek marsh, which it follows for over 5,000 feet, curving to the west. Leaving the marsh it extends 8,000 feet over a generally low piece of firm ground, and enters the long reach of Weese's Creek, a marshy inlet, from the head of which to the 12 feet water of Presqu' Ile harbour a distance intervenes of 10,000 feet. An alternate route for the Quinte end is from Dead Creek Marsh to Twelve O'Clock Point Cove, on a line common to routes one and two. The length of this No. 1 route from water to water is 4 miles 700 feet. Extensive pier work, however, recommended for either end as absolutely necessary. Mr. Page mentions that one of his assistants found a rocky ridge between Weese's Creek and Dead Creek, coming to within five feet of the surface, and sloping off 400 feet on either side.

Route No. 2 runs west from the little cove near Twelve O'Clock Point over 4,000 feet of flat firm ground to Dead Creek Marsh. After following the southern part of this marsh for about 6,500 feet the route strikes southwesterly 4,000 feet over dry ground to Stoneburgh's Cove, in the middle of the northern side of Weller's Bay. The length of this route from water to water is 2 miles 5,000 feet. Rock excavations would have to be made near Stoneburgh's Cove, and very extensive pier work also.

Route No. 3 leaves the southwest angle of the head of Quinte, a little south of the Carrying Place road, and takes a straight course for Mud Creek, which it follows for 3,000 feet. The total length is 2 miles and about 1,180 feet. About one mile of this route towards the Bay of Quinte end would require a good deal of rock excavation. The pier work at the Bay of Quinte end would be similar to that at the Quinte end of No. 2. The Weller's Bay piers being against the shoaly entrance of Consecon Bay would have to be crooked, and might interfere with vessels entering Consecon Bay. The canal by any of these routes was to be 11 feet deep at lowest water and 100 feet wide at the bottom.

The estimated cost is as follows:

Route No. 1 $1,290,000

Route No. 2 860,000

Route No. 3 940,000

McMullen's Route.

McMullen's route, which differs but little from No. 1 in the character of its water terminus in Quinte, requires a much simpler terminus in Weller's Bay. The bottom here contains no rock, and at 1,000 feet out the water is 15 feet deep, and even at the side of the cove is still eight feet. At the edge of the water Mr. Rosamond found hard pan and gravel to the required depth of the canal. Borings were made every 200 feet across to the Quinte end. Two hundred feet from the first boring hard gravel was reached at 19 feet; 200 feet farther at 18 feet; 1,200 feet from shore hard pan and gravel was reached at between 14 and 15 feet. At the 1,800 foot boring rock was struck at 15 feet. Then for half a mile the rock surface did not vary over a foot from the last measurement given. About 1 1/4 miles from the cove, rock appeared about 6 feet below the surface. The level of the land here is 5 feet above the water. A little further the rock was between three and four feet from the surface. About 1,800 feet from the Bay of Quinte the rock reached the surface. Four hundred feet further on rock could not be found at 20 feet, nor did it reappear over the remaining distance. A gentleman well acquainted with the borings on this route estimates that the rock excavation will average 8,000 yards in length, with an average depth of 4 yards. A cutting 100 feet wide through this, at $1.25 per square yard for excavating, would cost $132,000. He estimates the earth excavations on this route at four times this quantity, and the cost of excavating 20 cents per square yard. Two thousand yards must also be allowed for approaches to the canal.

Cost Of The Routes.

The cost of the principal routes is estimated as follows in Mr. Rubridge's report, May 1st, 1882:

No. 2 Stoneburgh's Cove $1,229,000

No. 3 Mud Creek 668,000

No. 4 McMullin's 1,086,000

No. 5 Presqu' Isle 721,000

It will be observed that while the cost of No. 3 route differs little from Mr. Page's estimate, the cost of the Presqu' Ile route, placed at $1,290,000, is placed by Mr. Rubridge at $721,000. The rock cutting taken into account by Mr. Page could not amount to over $400,000; that deducted from Mr. Page's estimate would still leave his estimate of the cost of the Presque Ile route over $450,000 greater than Mr. Rubridge's. Yet the estimated cost of No. 3 route is placed by Mr. Rubridge $48,000 higher than Mr. Page put it. What modifications in the plan of the entrances may have been made by the late survey, which may account for the vast difference in the estimated cost of the Presqu 'Ile route, people do not know, but the opinion is entertained by men accustomed to engineering work that McMullen's route will not cost over $600,000, while the Presqu 'Ile route will exceed Mr. Rubridge's estimate of $721,000. It is said that Mr. G.W. McMullen made the offer to a Cabinet Minister to build a canal by No. 4 route, on the basis of which Mr. Rubridge's estimate for No. 4 was made, for the amount of the lowest tender for the Presqu 'Ile route whatever that amount should be found to be.

The Real Costs.

It is said that the lowest tender for the Presqu 'Ile route exceeds Mr. Rubridge's estimate, and I am told that tenders were asked for an eighty foot canal instead of a hundred foot canal as contemplated in the surveys so not in the estimates. There were about a dozen tenders offered, and if the lowest exceeds the estimate for a hundred foot canal the fact will go far towards justifying Mr. Page's estimate of the cost of the wider canal, and suggests that the contention that McMullen's route is the cheaper of the two may be correct.

Why Presqu'Ile Was Selected.

Even were it the case that a canal to Presqu'Ile could be built at $450,000 less cost than one to Weller's Bay, the vast difference in the character of the entrances to the two bays, and the saving in time and cost of navigation by the two routes should, it is strongly contended, induce the Government to select a route to Weller's Bay. Their not having done so is ascribed by both Conservatives and Reformers to political considerations.

The Pacific Scandal.

The McMullen Brothers, who control the Prince Edward County Railway, are building a line 70 miles long in connection with it, to the iron mines of North Hastings. The ore from these mines will be brought by rail to McMullen's Cove for shipment to the United States. The Messrs. McMullen own 160 (100 ?) acres of land close to the McMullen route, and it is possible that were the canal built by this route or by any route to Weller's Bay the fact might raise the value of this land above what it would have from the growth of the town which is certain to spring up at the Weller's Bay terminus of the railway. At the head of the firm of McMullen Bros. is Mr. G.W. McMullen, whose share in the exposure of the of the Pacific Railway scandal is not forgotten by the Government, and it is said, will never be forgiven.

p.2 steam barge Business arrived with 50,000 bushels grain.

p.3 Tipped Over - yacht Peerless of Gananoque.


The tug Champion did not get away yesterday, as expected, but today, having a tow of ten barges, carrying 175,000 bush. of wheat and 1,200 tons of coal.

The yacht Guinevevie, of Toronto, which has been cruising for several days among the Thousand Islands, reached the city today on her way to the Queen City.

The schr. Watertown, Toledo, 21,000 bush. wheat, and the W.T. Greenwood, Toronto, 19,500 bush. wheat, have arrived at the Montreal Transportation Company's wharf.

The tug Glide reached the city last evening from Oswego with two barges, carrying 1,200 tons coal, and left for Montreal with barges carrying 40,000 bush. wheat.

The Magnet took 150 passengers down the river this morning. They composed Brearley's third excursion party from Detroit. The Magnet resumes her trips to Oswego and Rochester on Sunday evening.

The schr. Jessie Scarth, from Toledo, 20,000 bushels of wheat, and the schr. W.H. Oades, from the same port, with 10,000 bushels wheat, have arrived at the K. & M. Forwarding wharf.

The shortage fever has extended to Montreal. One merchant there declares that the Americans threaten to treat Canadians, engaged in the barley trade, as they are being treated in the wheat trade. Tit for tat, you know.

A writer in the Mail points out that the schr. Emma L. Coyne, by clearing from Chicago for Cape Vincent, and coming to Kingston, evaded a tonnage tax of $150. By this arrangement American vessels have a great advantage over those of Canadian build.

A Customs official points out that the shortage allowance is at the rate of one bushel to every thousand, a schedule originally proposed by the forwarders. He says that but few vessels run over the special 20 bushel limit; that without this regulation the shortages, as in former years, would be somewhat amazing.

The Chicago Inter-Ocean calls the St. Lawrence the "Robbers' Route," owing to the shortage imposition. The thieving originates at the Chicago end of the trip. Think of the O.M. Bond for instance, - 734 bushels short, and the mistake traced to the elevator company in that city.

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Date of Original:
July 28, 1882
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 28, 1882