The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Canadian (Steamboat), 31 Mar 1854


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The new stm. CANADIAN LILY, which is to run this season between Detroit and Chatham, was to come down from Chatham on Monday last. She has not, however, made her appearance as of yet, being kept back doubtless, by the ice in Lake St. Clair. The LILY is, we are informed, of somewhat less tonnage than the PLOUGHBOY, whose place she is to fill; but her engine is of greater power, and she will, therefore, in all probability, posses a greater rate of speed. It is thought that she will be able to make the trip in 3 hours and a half.
      Detroit Free Press
      March 31, 1854



“We are pleased to learn that the new steamer CANADIAN will continue to ply on the route between this town and Detroit until she receives her upper cabins, after which she will run between Chatham and Monroe touching at Detroit, Windsor and Amherstburg. She will leave Chatham and Monroe on alternate days. This we are sure will prove a very acceptable arrangement to the public. Then, persons for Monroe and vicinity, journeying by the Great Western Railway can ticket to this place and take the boat and arriving at their destination the same day, entirely avoiding a tedious delay to Detroit. The cabins will be constructed immediately and the traveling community can count upon increased accommodation on one of the swiftest steamers on the western lakes.”
      “Chatham Weekly Planet”
      April 17, 1854


CANADIAN. This fine steamer, which has been lying at her wharf for the last few weeks, getting in a new shaft is now ready to take her usual trips between this port and Detroit. We hope for the sake of her enterprising owners, and for the benefit of the community that nothing hereafter will occur to this vessel, whereby the necessary water communication between out town and the neighboring ports of the Union will be interrupted. We understand at the time of the unfortunate accident to her shaft, the CANADIAN was doing a good business, and was providing a great convenience to the commercial and traveling public. She will leave her wharf at the foot of 5th street as usual every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning returning on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings.
      Chatham Weekly Planet
      August 30, 1854
     
     
      The Steamer CANADIAN by Ron Beaupre
The steamer CANADIAN was one of several ships to call at the port of Saugeen during the era of steamboat service. She was known around the lakes as a fast and reliable ship.

Her launch took place at Chatham in 1853. The Register of British Shipping for Inland Waters for 1854 listed the CANADIAN LILY, a steamer, W. Eberts, master, 390 tons, built at Chatham in 1853, owners: W & W Eberts, value $6000.

From the Detroit Free Press edition of April 22, 1853, we have; "The Western Planet, (published at Chatham, C.W.) of the 19th inst, says: "A splendid steamer, belonging to Messrs W. & W. Eberts, was launched in this town on Tuesday last. She is named the CANADIAN LILY, and is intended to take the place of the PLOUGHBOY between this port and Detroit. Her model is decidedly the handsomest we have seen on the western waters; and we have no doubt she will fully sustain the high hopes entertained by all
who have seen her of her matchless sailing qualities.

She was built by Messrs. H. & S. Jenkins of Chatham whose shipyard gained a reputation for constructing sturdy craft of beauty and symmetry. Her dimensions were 162 feet in length, 47 feet in the beam, which would have included the guards outboard of the paddlewheel boxes, and 15.08 feet in depth. Her certificate of registry of July 9, 1863, at Goderich stated she had two decks, hull structure: carvel, stern: round and no masts.

The ship was driven by a walking beam style steam engine and paddle wheels. The engine was a single cylinder with a volume of 70 cubic feet.

The boiler was 11 feet in diameter and 30 feet in length and was described as the down return or descending flue type. She was wood fired as a plentiful and cheap supply of coal had yet to appear in the Great Lakes ports. The builder of this boiler was John Dunham of Detroit.

From the Detroit Free Press of March 31, 1854, we have: "The new steamer CANADIAN LILY, which is to run this season between Detroit and Chatham, was to come down from Chatham on Monday last. She has not, however, made her appearance as of yet, being kept back doubtless, by the ice in Lake St. Clair. The LILY is, we are informed, of somewhat less tonnage than the PLOUGHBOY, whose place she is to fill; but her engine is of greater power, and she will, therefore, in all probability, posses a greater rate of speed. It is thought that she will be able to make the trip in 3 hours and a half."

When launched CANADIAN had only one deck of cabins. The following year she was given a new deck of staterooms. From the "Chatham Western Planet" of April 17, 1854 we have the following; "We are pleased to learn that the new steamer CANADIAN will continue to ply on the route between this town and Detroit until she receives her upper cabins, after which she will run between Chatham and Monroe touching at Detroit, Windsor and Amherstburg. She will leave Chatham and Monroe on alternate days. This we are sure will prove a very acceptable arrangement to the public. Then, persons for Monroe and vicinity, journeying by the Great Western Railway can ticket to this place and take the boat and arriving at their destination the same day, entirely avoiding a tedious delay to Detroit. The cabins will be constructed immediately and the traveling community can count upon increased accommodation on one of the swiftest steamers on the western lakes."

This vessel suffered an accident to her machinery early in her career. The "Chatham Western Planet" edition of August 30, 1854, carried the following item. "CANADIAN. This fine steamer, which has been lying at her wharf for the last few weeks, getting in a new shaft is now ready to take her usual trips between this port and Detroit. We hope for the sake of her enterprising owners, and for the benefit of the community that nothing hereafter will occur to this vessel, whereby the necessary water communication between out town and the neighbouring ports of the Union will be interrupted. We understand at the time of the unfortunate accident to her shaft, the CANADIAN was doing a good business, and was providing a great convenience to the commercial and traveling public. She will leave her wharf at the foot of 5th street as usual every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning returning on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings."

This same newspaper carried an advertisement on March 14th , which revealed the Eberts intended to expand their route in 1855. The new route would have the ship leaving Chatham each Monday and Thursday at 7 am for Windsor, Detroit, Sarnia and Goderich. She was scheduled to depart Goderich every Tuesday and Friday evening.

This route was in direct opposition to a line of steamers operated by Mr. E. B. Ward. He had the steamers FORESTER and HURON on the route and proceeded to publish reports in local papers that the boiler on the CANADIAN was unsafe in design and was not inspected by the Canadian government. This led to a great volume of rhetoric appearing in the newspapers as the heated debate continued for several weeks. The boilermaker, Mr. Dunham of Detroit wrote a long letter to the editor defending his work.. This appeared in the July 26, 1855 edition of the "Chatham Western Planet" and it was immediately followed by a short letter from Messrs. W. & W. Eberts which read as follows; "We certify that the boiler in the steamer CANADIAN is the best and cheapest in the point of fuel we have ever used and if we build any more steamboats we will apply to Mr. Dunham for the same kind of boiler. The CANADIAN will run 150 miles with ten cords of good hard wood and make 35 lbs. of steam."

This type of competition always leads to cuts in fares until the passengers can ride for free and that is indeed what transpired. From the same edition of the Planet we have; "The steamer FORESTER, Capt. John Robertson, will run on the same days and at the same time as the CANADIAN, carrying passengers free of charge. The public can now have the privilege free on fast boats."

By July of 1855 the port of Chatham had been dropped from the route. An advertisement that appeared in the July 19 edition only included two trips a week to Goderich, departing from Windsor for Goderich at 3 P.M every Monday and Thursday with calls at Detroit and Sarnia. She was scheduled to depart Sarnia every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6 A.M.

Later that season came the usual equinoctial gales including one which came near to undoing the CANADIAN. The "Chatham Semi-Weekly Western Planet" of November 5, 1855 carried the following report; "The CANADIAN and the Late Gale. During the late severe gale on Lake Huron great anxiety was felt by our town's people for the safety of the steamer CANADIAN, it being quite well known that this boat would be out of port at the time which would be attended with not a little danger. On Tuesday last a report reached this town and was generally circulated to the effect that this fine boat was a total wreck. However, a dispatch was received the same day, stating, to the joy of all parties, that she had bravely weathered the storm and was safe in port.'

'It is said by those on board the vessel that the storm was one of the severest that has visited these waters for a long period. The CANADIAN was some 12 miles out of Goderich when the gale first struck her. Capt. Peer, who has proved himself well worthy the fine craft he commands, at once decided to put back for the harbour. The attempt was made five different times, but without success, until he adopted a novel plan of dropping an anchor over the stern, which had the good effect of steadying the after part of the boat, enabling the vessel to be steered into port dragging her anchor the whole distance. At Goderich the passengers immediately presented the Captain with the annexed highly complimentary letter: Goderich, October 29, 1855. To Capt. A. G. Peer, Dear sir,
We the passengers on board the steamer CANADIAN, on her downward trip to Port Sarnia, when obliged to turn back during the dreadful gale of Saturday night the 27th instant by leave respectfully to tender you our most cordial congratulations on our common deliverance from such imminent peril - a deliverance under which Devine Providence we owe especially to you. We failed not alike to appreciate and admire the calm presence of mind, fearless intrepidity, and seaman-like skill, which, under peculiar difficult and trying circumstances you invariably displayed, as well as the long continued and laborious exertions you put forth to ensure the safety of our lives. And if the grateful satisfaction which you must already experience arising from the consciousness of having done your duty, and of having the happy instrument of securing the safety and happiness of others can be enhanced by the by the earnest assurance of our grateful acknowledgements……signed by passengers William Oremston, Toronto, and S.W. Watson, Goderich."
The Buffalo Morning Express edition of January 11, 1856, produced a casualty list which included the following information; CANADIAN Steamer (C), damaged in gale on Lake Huron in October, 1855. Property loss $500.
The spring of 1856 brought another change of the route plied by the CANADIAN and perhaps a new owner. An advertisement that appeared in the April 24, 1856 edition of the "Chatham Weekly Planet" stated; "The splendid upper cabin steamer CANADIAN will commence making regular trips between Chatham, Windsor, Detroit and Amherstburgh, on Monday next, the 21st, or sooner if the ice will permit. Cabin passage: ….$1, deck passage:….75 cents. For further particulars apply on board or to W. & W. Eberts; Chatham. W.H. Smith, Master."

Perhaps Captain Smith was now a partner in the operation of the steamer as the principle owners of vessels would often sell shares of the vessel to the master in order to ensure he would operate the ship as efficiently as possible.

There was much competition on this route in 1856. The steamer ISLANDER was operating from Detroit to Chatham by Mr. Charles Lepan of Detroit. The ISLANDER was just 76 feet long and came to the shores of Lake Huron to run from Goderich to Southampton in 1858. This ship was featured in Vol. No. 16 of "Fo'c's'le".

The Eberts brothers were also operating another steamer in conjunction with the CANADIAN. This was the steamer BROTHERS which had been built at Chatham in 1839 and was listed as a tow boat in the 1854 register. We presume she was rebuilt into a passenger and package freight vessel at sometime prior to 1856. However, she is also listed as wrecked and sunk in the Thames River in 1856.

The Toronto Globe produced a List of Canadian Vessels on August 4, 1856 and the CANADIAN's master was listed as "Smith" and owners were "Captain & Co."

1856 brought the steamer much closer to Southampton as Captain W. H. Smith was now the principal owner of the ship and he had brought her to Owen Sound to operate along the south shore of Georgian Bay during that summer.

A dreadful incident then occurred aboard the CANADIAN that brought much attention to her. The mate, William Myers, was shot by one of the passengers as he attempted to force him off the boat at Indian Wharf. The passenger, William White, a resident of Sullivan Township, did not pay his full fare for the trip from Collingwood to Owen Sound. Captain Smith ordered him off the steamer and the mate was obliged to put him off. White had friends along with him and more passengers and crew were involved in a melee. White drew a pistol and shot mate Myers, severely wounding him. The ball became lodged in his liver and he was not expected to live at the time of the report which appeared in several newspapers on July 23, 1856.

The register of Canadian Ships which appeared in the May 26th edition of the Toronto Daily Globe listed Capt. Smith as the master and part owner. The value of the steamer was estimated at $20,000 and her tonnage was now 140.

An advertisement which appeared in the Owen Sound newspapers dated May 27, 1857 contained the following information; "The fast sailing low pressure steamer CANADIAN, Capt. W.H. Smith, through from Toronto to Owen Sound in 9 hours by way of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad to Collingwood, and steamer CANADIAN to Owen Sound.'

The CANADIAN will leave Collingwood for Owen Sound every day (Sunday excepted) at 1:30 p.m. returning, will leave Owen Sound every morning (Sunday excepted) at 8 a.m."

Another advertisement, this one for the O.S.&H.R.R. connecting with the CANADIAN stated that she would call at Meaford and Cape Rich on her way to Owen Sound.

The following notations regarding the steamer CANADIAN all appeared in the "Owen Sound Comet" during the year 1858.

April 2nd; "Capt. Smith's contract for carrying the mails per steamer CANADIAN, between Owen Sound and Collingwood commences on the 20th inst., after which time, we may expect to receive the newspapers on the day of publication and letters on the same day of mailing."

April 9th: "The steamer CANADIAN, Capt. W.H. Smith, will resume her regular route from Owen Sound to Collingwood on the 19th inst., which will be a month and a half earlier than she was able to make her return trip from Collingwood last year."

April 22nd; "Steamer CANADIAN. This boat, as advertised, made her first trip of the season to Collingwood last Monday. She carried away with her a fair sprinkling of our merchants to Toronto for spring goods and on her return trip was well laden with passengers and freight. The chance of again being able to get to Toronto in a day, is to us railroad-less people a luxury…

April 29th; "The steamer CANADIAN was unable to get out of Collingwood Saturday, on account of the windy and heavy sea and only arrived here on Sunday about noon."

The severe weather continued to hamper the efforts of the CANADIAN's crew to keep her on schedule. She was kept in Collingwood harbour again on May 20, 1858, arriving a day late in Owen Sound. The very next trip was cancelled after experiencing heavy seas outside of Owen Sound. However, finer weather in the summer meant excursions were in the offing and CANADIAN ran a load of passengers across the Bay from Owen Sound to Christian Island and beyond to Penetanguishene in mid July. She provided another excursion to Meaford a month later so that those interested could attend the regatta held in that harbour.

A sad accident aboard the CANADIAN was reported in the December 2, 1858 edition of the Owen Sound Comet. "We regret to have to announce as the CANADIAN came up to the wharf on Saturday night, the 27th ult., Mr. Wm. Spencer, a resident of this town, who had been from home for some time, and was then returning, slipped and fell headlong down the hatchway and breaking his neck, died instantly. An inquest has been held on the body and the jury rendered a verdict of accidental death."

The CANADIAN carried on the route from Owen Sound to Collingwood throughout the next two seasons with excursions in the summer out to Christian Island featuring a brass band. This event was patronized by people from as far away as Albany N.Y. and Detroit.

An unusual event took place in July of 1859. John A. MacDonald, then Premier of Upper Canada was touring Ontario with an entourage of fellow politicians from his cabinet and their aides. The party was traveling aboard the steamer PLOUGHBOY in northern Georgian Bay when the engine became disabled. The hapless ship was then driven across the open waters in a rising gale. She dragged her anchors as they neared Lonely Island and just before she was about to go ashore the anchors caught and held.

A yawl boat was sent away to find help, having to sail and row some seventy five miles. This frail craft reached the Bruce Peninsula and the men traveled on foot to Owen Sound where they happened upon the CANADIAN. She immediately departed to Lonely Island to find the PLOUGHBOY awaiting rescue. The CANADIAN towed her to Collingwood where the grateful passengers departed on the first train south.

In 1860 the steamer was hired to tow dredging equipment from Owen Sound to Sarnia. The Owen Sound Comet of July 20 reported: "The contract for dredging the river is completed, and the dredge, scows, and other surroundings have been taken away. Last Friday night - at 2 o'clock Saturday morning - the steamer CANADIAN left here with the whole en raft in tow. Soon a fine breeze sprung up which increased to rough weather ere she reached Cabots Head. There the concerns were left, and the CANADIAN returned here Tuesday night. Last night the CANADIAN again left to take the dredge and accompaniments to Port Sarnia, expecting to be here again on Saturday morning to resume her regular trips to Collingwood and back."

Perhaps Capt. Smith wanted to demonstrate the CANADIAN's ability to tow other vessels as he would soon have her sold to enable him to purchase a larger steamer. The first step was to remove her from her normal route. The Owen Sound Comet reported on October 18, 1860, "After next Saturday, on which day the steamer CANADIAN will make her last trip of the season between this place and Collingwood Harbor, Capt. Smith intends running his boat down to Chatham, to lay up for spring repairs."

This same paper reported on October 25 and then a week later that the steamer PLOUGHBOY, and also the propeller RESCUE, were now operating on the route to replace the CANADIAN.

However, things were not going all that well for the CANADIAN as the Buffalo Daily Republic's edition of Monday, November 5, 1860 reported: "VESSEL DISASTERS. - The Detroit Advertiser of Saturday says: The steamer CANADIAN, which grounded on Thursday at the Flats, (in Lake St. Clair), with the brig MARINER and schooner SUMMIT in tow, succeeded in getting liberated yesterday, and passed down with the vessels."

The Detroit Tribune reporting on the same day stated: "The steamer CANADIAN, with two vessels in tow, bound down, have grounded on the Flats. A considerable portion of the cargoes of both vessels will have to be lightered before they can be moved. Tugs are at hand rendering all the assistance possible."

In march of 1861 is was announced that Captain Smith had succeeded in purchasing the much larger steamer CLIFTON and would soon bring her to Owen Sound as a replacement for the CANADIAN. Meanwhile, the CANADIAN was back on her old route plying between Chatham and Detroit, and under new ownership. The Owen Sound Comet's March 22nd edition stated; "The CANADIAN is expected to engage in towing on Lake St. Clair."

Indeed, she had been purchased by John Pridgeon of Detroit for $12,000. He wanted to use her as a tug and proceeded to rebuild her for that purpose. The modifications resulted in her tonnage becoming 339 gross tons.

The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser published a Casualty List for the year of 1861 on January 22, 1862. The CANADIAN received two notations. CANADIAN Steamer, struck on a sunken Scow in June 1861 while on the Thames River and stove her plank, docked at Detroit. Damage $200. CANADIAN, steamer, damaged paddle box on Thames River, July 1861. Damage $75.
The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser of Jan. 26, 1863 published a Casualty List for 1862. The CANADIAN was noted twice. "CANADIAN Steamer, broke machinery in July 1862 in Saginaw Bay. Damage - $100. CANADIAN, steamer, collided with the steamer FORESTER on Detroit River, October 1862.Damage - $1300.
The Detroit Free Press of July 31st, 1862 carried the following article; "The tugs MARTIN and CANADIAN towed a lumber raft down from Saginaw with 3,425,000 feet of lumber, the largest tow brought from that area."
This same paper reported on the 8, October, 1862; "The tug race for $1,000 a side which has been in contemplation for a couple of weeks will take place on the 16th and the distance run from Port Huron to Malden. The boats are the CANADIAN (side wheel) and the W.G. FARGO (propeller)."
On the 17, October, we have from this source; "Although from unavoidable reasons the tug race Malden to Sarnia did not come off the Str. CANADIAN went over the route to show her speed. She left Malden from the foot of street agreed upon at 9:30 a.m., passed the foot of Woodward Ave. 10:27, going over the distance of 25 miles in 1 hr. 46 minutes, the quickest time the CANADIAN has ever made. She continued up to Sarnia."
During the shipping season of 1863 the steamer CANADIAN began operating on a new route. The following article appeared in the July 3rd edition of the Goderich Signal. "A New Boat. - We are glad to see that the CANADIAN, a splendid steamer, has been placed upon the Goderich and Saginaw route, the SCIOTA having been removed to the Chicago and Goderich line. The CANADIAN is described as being decidedly the fastest boat on the lake, which may be inferred by the fact that she made the run from Detroit to this place in 11 hours. Such a vessel plying between the western terminus of the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway and the Valley of Salt is all that is required to render the route a highly popular one."
On July 10th CANADIAN arrived in Goderich laden with 300 barrels of salt. On July 16 the Signal announced; "The steamer CANADIAN has been sold to the B&L.H.R.R Co. for $16,000, and is to be used as a passenger boat between Goderich and Saginaw, in connection with the above road."
The Goderich Signal often mentioned the arrivals and departures of ships during the 1863 shipping season along with what cargoes they were carrying. Here is a summary of the types of cargoes carried by the CANADIAN.
Date Cargo
July 10 300 Bbls salt.
July 18 salt.
July 26 300 Bbls salt, 1 buggy, 2 packages merchandise.
July 31 368 Bbls salt, 3 Bbls beef.
Aug. 4 1000 Bbls molasses, shook.
Aug. 20 25 Bbls salt, 30 green hides, 6 dry hides.
On September 3, 1863 the community of Goderich was informed of the sudden death of Captain Hardison, master of the steamer CANADIAN. The Signal reported; "Sudden Death - We learn with deep regret that on Thursday last, Capt. Hardison, of the steamer CANADIAN, dropped dead on the deck of his vessel as he was leaving Saginaw, bound for this port. The cause was supposed to be disease of the heart. The body was at once sent to Buffalo, where his wife and small family of the lamented deceased reside. The Captain was a fine, gentlemanly, Christian man, and is spoken in the highest terms by all who knew him."
During the winter of 1864 the CANADIAN underwent a major refit. A new route for the steamer was being planned and it was announced in the Goderich Huron Signal on March 31. It read; "The Coast Route. - The BRUCE, ("Fo'c's'le No. 16.), will be replaced on this route by the CANADIAN which has been procured for the purpose by Van Every & Rumball. The CANADIAN is one of the swiftest boats on the Upper Lakes, and we have no doubt she will be cordially patronized by the business men of Goderich, Kincardine, Southampton, & c."
This same newspaper reported on April 14; "She (the CANADIAN) is undergoing extensive repairs to strengthen and otherwise improve her."
Early in April, 1864, an advertisement appeared in the Goderich Signal. It read; "Spring Arrangement! Sarnia, Goderich, Kincardine and Southampton Line, Steamer CANADIAN, D. Rowan, Master, in connection with the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway at Goderich and the first class passenger steamer HURON, D. Cole, Master, twice a week between Goderich and Saginaw, and once a week with Propeller NIAGARA, C. McIntosh, Master, between Goderich and Chicago. '
'The CANADIAN having been purchased for this route, overhauled and refitted in a superior manner, will ply during the season of navigation, making the above connections, (wind and weather permitting,) Commencing on Monday, 18th April, will leave Goderich for Southampton at 2 o'clock, p.m., calling each way at Kincardine, Inverhuron, Port Elgin, (and Port Bruce when necessary and practicable.)'
'Will leave Goderich for Sarnia and Port Huron every Monday and Thursday evening at 10 o'clock, arriving in time to connect with river boat for Detroit and G.W. and G.T.R.'
'Returning: Will leave Sarnia and Port Huron every Tuesday and Friday, at 1 o'clock p.m., immediately after the arrival of the Grand Trunk train from Detroit.'
'N.B. Tickets can be procured from any of the agents for Saginaw per steamer HURON, or Chicago by propeller NIAGARA from Goderich. For particulars as to rates of freight, &c., apply to VanEvery & Rumball, Goderich.'
'Agents: Sarnia - W.B. Clark; Inverhuron - P McRae; Port Elgin - W.H. Ruby; Kincardine - VanEvery & Rumball; Southampton - J.A. Burwash; Port Huron - J.W. Thompson. Goderich, April 1st, 1864."
The steamer arrived a little later than anticipated. On May 3rd, 1864, the Goderich Signal reported; "The steamer CANADIAN is now in port, and will be ready in a few days for the business to which she is assigned. She has been thoroughly overhauled, repainted, &c., and consequently looks as good as new."
On May 19 this same paper reported; "The steamer CANADIAN started on her first coasting trip today. Success to her."
On the same day it was also stated; "The schooner MERRITT, on entering port on Tuesday last ran into the str. CANADIAN, inflicting damage, we are sorry to say, to the extent of several hundred dollars."
The Queen's birthday was celebrated in fine fashion in 1864. The Signal reported on June 2nd; "…and about one o'clock p.m. the CANADIAN entered port from Northern towns and villages with a large cargo of humanity, convened by the musical strains of the Southampton band…"
The summer excursions began a few weeks later. On July 21 the Signal carried an advertisement for a romantic cruise. "Moonlight Excursionist - str. CANADIAN will, on Tuesday evening next, give the people of Goderich an opportunity of enjoying a few hours' sail on Lake Huron. She leaves at 8 p.m., and will, no doubt, be well freighted with pleasure seekers."
"Sunday School Excursion and Picnic. -The children attending Knox Church Sabbath School, attended by their teachers and friends, (100 in all) started on a picnic excursion to Kincardine on Saturday last, and returned in safety late in the evening, after having spent a delightful day on the CANADIAN and in the grove selected for the festivities. We had not the pleasure of being present personally, but learn that it was quite an interesting event in the life of the little folk. The idea is a very good one, and should be carried out more extensively in future."
Then in August the Signal reported on the 11th; "Wesleyan Sabbath School Excursion. The children connected with the Wesleyan M.S.S. of this town, with their friends, to the number of 400 altogether started yesterday (Thursday) morning by the good steamer CANADIAN on a picnic excursion to Kincardine. The boat started here at 7 o'clock, and after a most pleasant trip landed her living cargo on the dock at Kincardine at 11:30 o'clock a.m."
In order to encourage greater numbers of excursionists a special offer was available beginning early in August. The Signal reported; "Excursionists! Return tickets will be issued by the steamer CANADIAN. To Southampton, Kincardine and back every Saturday to the first of October at half fare! Viz., $2.00 for the round trip. Tickets good to return same day of the following Monday. VanEvery & Rumball. Goderich, August 5, 1864."
A customs report appeared in the Signal on October 13, 1864. It read; "Number of Trips, made by steamers and schooners for Quarter ending 30th September, to and fro: Steamer CANADIAN, 67 trips…'
'Steamer CANADIAN has made her trips regular, weather permitting, twice a week in Sarnia, remaining trips to Saugeen.'
'Freight along the shore has been light throughout the season."
An early fall storm caused many an anxious moment for the citizens of the Saugeen Coast. The Huron Signal carried the following story on Tuesday, October 11, 1864.
"FURIOUS STORM ON LAKE HURON.
Within the memory of that ancient individual, "the oldest inhabitant," we have not had such a storm early in October as that which has swept Lake Huron during the past few days. On Thursday evening the 8th inst., a hurricane came raging in from the West, accompanied by a perfect deluge of rain. The wind veered during the night to the N.W. and blew with increasing violence all day, Friday. On Friday night the storm, instead of abating as was expected, seemed to gather strength, and Saturday morning broke bleak and dismal over a scene of awful grandeur. The Lake was lashed into a perfect sheet of foam, and many a brave tar glanced from the deck of his vessel to the dreaded coast-line with forebodings of evil which were soon to be realized in all their horror. All day Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday morning the blow continued, the perils of Lake navigation being increased by a blinding storm of hail and finally snow, which on Sunday morning covered the ground with a white mantle. We have not learned the particulars of all the casualties on the Upper Lakes, but the damage done to shipping about the head of Lake Huron and on Lake Michigan must have been immense, and since Friday many a brave fellow has gone to his last home. We are informed that several vessels are ashore between here and Saugeen. The schooner 'WILSON', completely dismantled, went ashore near Kincardine, and it is supposed that all hands, including the three Wilson brothers, have been drowned.
The schr. 'LILY DANCEY' was lying at Kincardine partially laden with wheat when the storm burst upon her. She attempted to ride it out at anchor but one of the cables broke, and she was forced to put to sea or go ashore. Accordingly Capt. Campbell determined to steer for Goderich, which he did, fairly flying through the water, although the vessel had hardly a stitch of canvas to the gale. When the 'LILY' neared our harbor an anxious crowd stood on the shore, and many fears were expressed that she would never get in. But Campbell was equal to the occasion. Hoisting additional sail at the right moment, he contrived to run the gallant little bark between the piers in beautiful style, amidst three rousing cheers from all spectators. Old sailors declare that a vessel was never brought into Goderich harbor in a living gale of wind in a cleverer manner. The only loss sustained by the schooner was that of her boats and portions of the bulwarks.
The steamer 'CANADIAN', when last heard of on Saturday, was lying at anchor behind Stoney Island, endeavoring to weather it out. We trust she will turn up all right. On land the storm did much damage, shaking down apples and in many instances uprooting the trees, leveling fences and felling forest trees in all directions."

Stony Island, just three miles north of Kincardine Harbour was once a lake port known as Port Head. The natural harbour, now filled in with material eroded from the island, was home to Captain Duncan Rowan as he had established the port with his family, arriving there to begin their settlement during the winter of 1849. We can imagine his family keeping watch over the CANADIAN from the bluff near their home as she weathered the storm in the safe harbour behind the island.

During the winter of 1865, Mr. J.V. Detlor of Goderich had secured the ownership of the steamer BRUCE. This steamer had been sold at an auction which was performed to satisfy the debts of Messrs. VanEvery and Rumball. Mr. Detlor placed the BRUCE on the route from Goderich to Southampton.

In direct competition was another steamer, the BONNIE MARGARET, Captain George McAuley, master and owner. According to the Register of The Shipping of the Lakes and River St. Lawrence of 1864, compiled by the insurance underwriters, this steamer was built at Huron Ohio in 1859 by J.M. Keating. She was 125 tons and sailed as BONNIE BOAT on a route in Sandusky Bay, Ohio, from 1859 to 1864. She was also advertised and appeared in shipping registers as BONNIE MAGGIE. Under the command of Robert Rowan, brother of Capt. Duncan Rowan, she ended her days as a wreck on the beach in Kincardine on October 14, 1869.
This would appear to be the end of the career of the steamer CANADIAN. The only notations we can find of her in the year 1865 are the following; From the Goderich Signal of March 30, "…We are not informed as to the running of the CANADIAN…" Then the final word came in the same paper on December 21; "The Saginaw Route. …the Goderich and Saginaw route…under the sole control of Goderich men. Messrs. J.V. Detlor & Co. have secured the route in connection with the Grand Trunk Railway on very favorable terms for ten years, and have purchased the steamer CANADIAN, which is to be rebuilt and converted into a powerful, swift, and reliable lake boat…For the rebuilding of the CANADIAN a small joint stock company will be formed, and to those of our merchants and others who may have surplus funds, we would say that the investment promises to be a first rate one…"

The registries and lists of Canadian vessels which are now available state that the steamer CANADIAN was dismantled in 1868 or '69. Evidently she was withdrawn from service in 1865 and languished for a few years until it was decided to strip anything of value out of the hull. Perhaps one of the many old hulls on the bottom of Lake Huron south of Goderich harbor is what is left of the gallant old steamer, CANADIAN.
     
     
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Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
new vessel & history
Date of Original:
1854
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.E.1152
Language of Item:
English
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Contact
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Canadian (Steamboat), 31 Mar 1854