The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Feb. 26, 1874

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p.1 Harbour Improvement - At the Dominion Board of Trade the question of the improvement of the harbour was withdrawn. Mr. Harty having ascertained that Mr. Kingsford, the engineer appointed by the late Government, and who had examined the harbour last summer, would shortly send in his report to the department.



Inland Navigation

At the meeting of the Dominion Board of Trade on Tuesday, the chairman announced the question for consideration was the enlargement of the canals of Canada. The Toronto Corn Exchange Association had reflected and expressed opinions upon it, but it was open to any gentleman to explain his views thereon.

Mr. Wm. Thomson, of Toronto, said he felt very strongly the importance of utilising to the utmost extent the inland water communication of this country. He saw no reason why Canadians should not have the benefit of the carrying trade of the American and Canadian Northwest. We should do our utmost to enlarge our canals to the capacity of large vessels, which should be able to pass to tide water, and discharge into ocean vessels, without desiring to embarass the Government, or the country by an undue expenditure, he believed it our duty to urge upon the Government the importance of carrying out this improvement as soon as possible. He concluded by moving, "That it be a recommendation to the Government from this Board to consider at an early day, the importance and necessity of the enlargement of the St. Lawrence Canals.

Mr. McLennan, Montreal, rose to move an amendment, expressing a sense of thankfulness for the progress that had been made, and that was now being made, and conveying the hope that the work would be carried on to completion as vigorously as possible. He thought we should sustain the hands of the Government by acknowledging the progress made. He thought we could not exceed the demands of the rapid growth of the trade of the West, but we should earnestly strive to secure what the peculiarities of our route made accessible to us, the greater share. Mr. McLennan's motion was seconded by Senator Read of Belleville.

Mr. Neelon, of St. Catharines, spoke in favour of the deepening of Port Colborne. Then most vessels when they reached Kingston had to lighten their cargoes from 5,000 to 7,000 bushels. This was a great loss, and the St. Lawrence Canals should be as deep as the Welland to remedy it. Besides the trade suffered from insufficient storage at Kingston. The deepening of the St. Lawrence Canals to ten feet of water would obviate serious delays in the forwarding and discharging of vessels. He thought the St. Lawrence Canals should be the first attended to, and the deepening at Port Colborne ought to be a concurrent improvement.

Mr. Pennock, of Ottawa, approved of the amendment. He was satisfied that the Government were fully aware to the necessities of the country in the direction referred to by the motion, and that to express gratification at the present aspect of these important improvements was all that was necessary.

Mr. Osgoode said if this improvement of the canals was so important, and likely to yield so good a return, why not tax the shipping to be chiefly benefitted thereby? Why should the whole country be taxed for that improvement? The country generally had already made heavy (line unreadable) additional, now proposed to be spent on them might well be devoted to railways or other improvements.

Mr. Harty, of Kingston, in answering a remark of Mr. Neelon's, said the people of Kingston were not to blame for the delay of the grain barges at Kingston. The Montreal merchants and shippers were themselves at fault, as they often kept vessels lying as long as ten days at that port. If Kingston men exacted demurrage for these delays, they could materially remove the present grievance, even without the aid of new elevators.

Mr. Keith having read extracts from United States papers, setting forth in strong terms the superiority of Montreal as an entrepot of the trade of the West, spoke in favour of the water route available as contrasted with the best facilities that could be offered by rail.

Mr. Woods, of Quebec, recognized the urgency of making all possible effort to procure the carrying trade of the West by every means. The views of the people he represented were fully in accord with the sense of the resolution. His own idea was that the water communication of the country was a more efficient and valuable auxiliary to the trade of the country than the lines of railway however good in their way.

Mr. Oille ? also favoured the improvement of the canals, and advocated an expression of the Board's opinion to the Government in behalf of a canal on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, to dispense with the Beauharnois Canal, which was on the wrong or indefensible shore. Thus our internal line of defence would be complete.

Mr. McGregor, M.P., Windsor, spoke briefly in favor of the amendment. He agreed with what appeared to be the general sense of the Board, that the canals should be enlarged to the greatest attainable size.

Mr. Macpherson, St. John's, Quebec, and Mr. Dougall, Windsor, spoke to the motion, and were followed by Mr. Skead.

Hon. James Skead said it was admitted on all hands that both the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals should be enlarged. Let us have these improvements, and twelve feet of water on the mitre sills would be the best guarantee of peace between Canada and the United States. The Americans would then have to come over here for work instead of our going to their side. He advocated the construction of the Georgian Bay and Ottawa Canal, which would shorten the route to tide-water over 400 miles. We did not want to play dog-in-the-manger; let the front canals be improved by all means, but at the same time don't forget the claims and great merits of the Ottawa route, which would render great benefit to the trade of the country. The Ottawa people would sooner or later press strongly for the practical recognition of their rights in the expenditure of some millions on this interior canal. The Ottawa has a great part of Canada as well as the strip called the St. Lawrence and Ontario front. (Laughter.) Our rights also deserve acknowledgement.

Mr. Thompson withdrew his motion, and the amendment was carried unanimously.

Kingston Harbour

The question of improving Kingston harbour, as being an important part in the line of inland navigation, was withdrawn on the representation of Mr. Harty that the delegation from Kingston had in an interview with Mr. Mackenzie, Minister of Public Works, ascertained that an engineer had been sent by the Department to examine Kingston harbour, and that his report would soon be completed.....

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Feb. 26, 1874
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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), Feb. 26, 1874