The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), July 4, 1833

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In a late number of our journal, we laid before our readers a somewhat extended article upon the arrangements which had been announced for this summer by the several stage and steamboat lines engaged in the internal navigation between this city and the head of Lake Erie. We have reason to believe that the article in question contained much that was interesting to our friends, as affording them at one view a complete detail of the many elegant boats now plying on our inland waters, and while it probably made them fully acquainted with the great strides which within the few last years, steam navigation has made upon the St. Lawrence, it has prepared them more easily to form anticipation for the future. In order to continue this subject, we now propose to offer some similar details in relation to steamboat travelling upon the Ottawa or Grand River.

Tis but a few years past, that the waters of this noble stream were disturbed only by the paddles of the north west voyageur, or of the native Indian, - the day appears but as yesterday when the establishment of Philemon Wright, that hardy old veteran who became the pioneer of our "far west," was regarded as one situated in the wilderness, far beyond the limits of civilization, yet how strange do now appear the many doubts entertained of the correctness of the prophecy which this old settler often published, and which he has lived to see fulfilled, far beyond his own anticipations, that the Ottawa would ere long be visited by numerous steamers, and that few streams were better adapted for that kind of navigation. Though still in its infancy, when compared with the steam navigation on the St. Lawrence, that on the Ottawa has improved much within the last two years, and no doubt, will be still further extended, when the Rideau Canal is in full operation, and the extensive territories along its banks have been developed by the energy and industry of the settlers who are each year establishing themselves in that flourishing section of the Upper Province.

Starting from our own city, the traveller will find stage coaches leaving the office of Mr. Cushing, M'Gill Street, every morning at five, Sundays excepted, for Lachine, where they embark on board the William King, now under the command of Captain Lyman, a boat built several years ago on the Annesley principle, and for some time employed as a ferry boat between this city and the opposite Longueuil shore, under the name of the William Annesley, but which was subsequently taken through the rapids and her present name conferred upon her in compliment to Captain King, of the Royal Staff Corps, then stationed at Grenville. This boat is propelled by an engine of 24 horse power. Another boat, the Ottawa, commanded by Captain Lighthall, 108 feet in length and 32 in breadth, built during the summer of 1832, propelled by an engine of 50 horse from the manufactory of Messrs. Bennett and Henderson, and affording accommodation for twenty-six cabin passengers, leaves Lachine on the same route. Both boats pass along the shore of the Island of Montreal, through the rapids of St. Anne, and proceed up the Ottawa to Point Fortune on the Upper Canada and Carillon on the Lower Canada side, a distance of 40 miles. From Carillon, a stage proceeds, passing through Chatham along the banks of the Carillon, Chute a Blondeau, and Grenville Canals, about 12 miles, which have been for some years constructing by the British Government under the directions of the officers of the Royal Staff Corps, and arrives at Grenville, a distance of 64 miles from Montreal, generally about five o'clock of the evening of departure from town. Here good accommodation for the night can always be obtained at the excellent hotel kept by Mr. Edwin Pridham, or on board the boat.

On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at five o'clock, the elegant steamer Shannon, built in 1830 by the Ottawa Steamboat Company, leaves Grenville for Hull, on the Lower Canada, and Bytown, on the Upper Canada side of the River. This boat is now under the command of Captain Cairns, and is propelled by two engines of thirty horse power each, which belonged to the Quebec, formerly on the St. Lawrence, and are of English manufacture. During its passage, the Shannon stops for freight and passengers at Longueuil, Petite Nation, Alfred, Plantaganet, Lochifer, Clarence, Templeton, Buckingham, and Gloucester, and arrives at Hull and Bytown about five o'clock of the second evening from Montreal. As the passage is made by daylight, the traveller has an excellent opportunity of enjoying the splendid scenery of the Ottawa, and witnessing the improvements which each year are made manifest along its shores.

From the circumstance of the Shannon leaving Grenville only on the mornings of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and descending on the preceding days, travellers, who are not desirous of inspecting the public works at Grenville, and its vicinity, ought to leave Montreal by the stage of Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

From Bytown, where some time can be most advantageously disposed of in visiting the extensive works in its neighbourhood, and the beautiful scenery of the falls of the Chaudiere, the traveller can take the line of the Rideau Canal, and proceed by this extensive internal communication as far as the mouth of the Tay, and ascend it to the flourishing town of Perth. This portion of the Canal has been in full operation since the 1st May last, and when the whole line is in complete operation, which our latest Upper Canada papers now allege to be the case, and which we hope may prove correct, a direct communication from Montreal, independent of the St. Lawrence, will be obtained to Kingston. Three boats have been already built, intended solely for this trade, and to them we have already alluded in our former remarks upon travelling in Upper Canada; in addition to which the forwarding of merchandise and heavy luggage can be easily obtained, by means of numerous barges which are daily passing through the Canal

From Hull, the traveller, if his object be to proceed further up the Ottawa, takes a land conveyance of about nine miles to Aylmer, formerly Symmes' Landing, where he will find the new boat Lady Colborne, lately built, and now commanded by Captain W. Grant, long known as the popular commander of the Union, the first steamboat that ever navigated the waters of the Ottawa, propel led by an engine of 30 horse power, formerly belonging to the Montreal, which plied between Chateauguay and Lachine. This boat runs through the Lake of the Chats to Fitzroy Harbour, near the rapids of the Chats, stopping at Nepean, March, Tarrolton, in Upper Canada, and Eardley and Onslow in Lower Canada. She leaves Aylmer every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at six A.M. and leaves the Chats on her return, the same afternoon at one. This is the utmost extent to which navigation by steam has extended itself on the Ottawa - the emigrant must now avail himself of other and more tedious modes of conveyance to the spot which he has adopted as his home.

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July 4, 1833
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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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Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), July 4, 1833