The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 24, 1853

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p.2 Buffalo, Nov. 23rd - The new schooner Sovereign has gone ashore on a reef of rocks near Beaver Island. She had got water in her hold, and will probably prove a total loss.

City Improvement


With a small harbor, strange to say there has not been for years in this city a view to be had of its waters, save the limited lines observable from the streets running at right angles to the bay, or from the wharves, while between these wharves there has been no communication except by Ontario street, a street running parallel with the water front. Like the houses in the city, each wharf puts out its pompous tape and bobbin trader announcement - "No connection with any other" - house, it would say, but that it does not use words as unmeaningly as the tape-and-bobbiners do. As there is no direct communication between the slips, and Ontario street must be used for the purpose of passing from one to another, the chief business buildings are necessarily on this street, and their back sheds and stores, with a few wooden warehouses, make up the picture of the harbor front as the stranger enters it. No wonder, we may remark here, that many of these strangers pass by, rather than force themselves into the city by what must appear to them the back way!

How shall this evil be remedied? How shall good old Kingston be made to exhibit a cheerful face to all who enter the waters of her magnificent bay and harbor, instead of turning her back upon them as she has hitherto been in the habit of doing?

Reforms are always slow of accomplishment, especially where fancied pecuniary interests, or the unaccommodating selfishness of individual action, unfortunately stands in the way. But in this instance, the reform we propose will be found, upon careful investigation, to promise at once material advantages to the parties called upon to act, and benefit to the city, while we have no reason to believe and do not believe that there is any latent unwillingness to co-operate for this double object. It may therefore be assumed here that this is attainable to a greater or less extent within a reasonable time.

A good harbor front, with a communication between all the wharves upon it, is what is required, as well for ornament as for use. Public taste would be gratified by the one, commercial convenience would be ministered to by the other, while the lots situate on the harbor side of Ontario street would ultimately be immensely enhanced in value to their owners by the double frontage available for business purposes, which would thus be given to them. It is not to be supposed that this can be done all at once, or having been commenced, carried on uninterruptedly to completion. It might be so done, perhaps under the powers vested in the City Council, and at the city expense, but no business man would wish to see that body having any control over such a work, or the city responsible for its cost. It can only be accomplished satisfactorily through private enterprise, governed by public spirit, as well as by considerations of personal advantage. The one will induce a willingness to co-operate in executing by sections a general design, while the completed work would ensure for each contributor to it a much greater return than could be procured by isolated and diverse efforts at wharf and warehouse building.

Now, the work might be commenced in the rebuilding of the water-front burnt district. If a continuous line of wharf frontage was laid from Brock to Queen street, as a base for the slips running out into the harbor, and forming a communication between them by a twenty or thirty feet way, such for instance as that of the U.S. Wharf, the advantage, it appears to us, would be so palpable, that ere long the work might be extended to Barrack street on the one hand, and on the other adopted on the western side of the battery, where pulling down and building up to a considerable extent, is already spoken of; and thus ultimately the whole harbor front present a scene of order and neatness, with a thriving business-like aspect, which hitherto must have been looked for in vain. There is a good deal of force in example. If the particular improvement just hinted at were adopted in that section which is now fully open to the architect and builder, a reform would be commenced which parties in other sections would hardly fail to contribute to as occasion offered; and the "good time coming," when old Kingston will look as decent and orderly, and have its business transacted with as much of convenience and of system as other commercial or shipping towns, would be materially hastened.

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Nov. 24, 1853
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 24, 1853