The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
City of Toronto (Ship), 1 Apr 1855

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LAUNCH OF THE "CITY OF TORONTO" ---This fine ship has at length entered her appropriate element, having been launched early this morning, in the presence of a considerable number of spectators. She is now moored at Tinning's wharf, where she is to be fitted out for sea. As she draws about seven feet of water, she will be able to carry some 3,000 bbls. of flour, or freight of a corresponding weight, through the canal. ------- Toronto Globe
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Wednesday, May 2, 1855

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Toronto has never been distinguished as a place for shipbuilding, either during it's earlier or more recent history. This arose in some measure from the want of facility in bringing in oak and other suitable timber, but chiefly from the fact that Niagara anticipated us and continued to keep ahead from the "want of enterprise" in our merchants, as it has been stated, and the "little encouragement" held out by professional builders. Be this as it may, the number of vessels built here has been exceedingly small, and the number owned in the city, still smaller.
We believe that only two steamboats, and these of but mearge dimensions, have ever been attempted. The first was the "TORONTO" better known as the "Basket Boat" in earlier times. She was built at Coopers Wharf for a Company, by a Mr. Annesley, on a plan which he had patented, and which consisted in dispensing with timbers, keel and even cutwater. She had five tiers of inch boards, four of them being pine, and one of them oak, and resembled a basket in shape. Her engines were put in by Mr.Charles Stotebury, who acted as Engineer during the trip to Niagara, the route for which she was destined. This took place about 1824. Her peculiar shape rendered her entirely unfit for such a stormy route as that, and she was superceded soon after by the CANADA, built by Mr. Dennis, at the Rouge, for Captain Richardson, who afterwards acted as her commander. The other steamer built at this port was a boat intended to run to the Peninsula. This was about 1832. Several schooners, some of them of considerable dimensions, have been constructed at different times by our townsman Mr. Purkiss and others, for the lake trade. We have now, however, reached a new era in shipbuilding, and this afternoon our respected townsmen, Messrs. Hayes Brothers & Co., will launch from their yard the first vessel ever built here for ocean navigation.
This boat, is to be called, at the request of the City Council, the " CITY OF TORONTO," as regards the materials employed or the workmanship, is likely to vie with any that have yet been built in the Province. She is constructed of the best white oak from the lands of Messrs. J.Clubine, near Newmarket, and Michael Cranney, near Richmond Hill, fastened with Long Island locust treenails and yellow metal bolts from stem to stern. Her keel was laid in May 1854, and since then the work of construction has gone steadily forward, giving employment to from 90 to 130 men during the entire summer and greater part of the winter just passed. She has been built under the immediate inspection of Lloyd's surveyors and is to class A 1, for at least eight years. The dimensions of the CITY OF TORONTO are as follows:-- Length on deck, 168 feet; length of keel, 158 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 18 feet 6 inches; height between decks, 6 feet 6 inches; breadth of beam, 32 feet 6 inches. She has a poop cabin on deck aft, 40 feet by 30, and a spacious forecastle for the accommodation of the crew, and is to be a full rigged ship. The cordage was manufactured in Belfast, from the best Russian hemp. The canvas is from the celebrated Gourock Mills in Scotland, and is of the same quality as that used in the Royal Navy. Her sails were made by Messrs. Robeson & Son, of this city. Her total cost is estimated at 16,000 Pound. We have only to add that she has been built under the superintendence of Mr. Archibald MacFie, whose past reputation as a practical builder will, we doubt not, be enhanced by the present specimen of naval architecture. We trust that the example now set by the enterprising owners will be followed by not a few. There is no good reason why Toronto, which excels in so many other respects should not take a high stand for shipbuilding.
      Toronto Globe
      Friday, April 27, 1855

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      Shipping Register -- Number 57 of 1855

Name . . . . . . . . . . . . CITY OF TORONTO
Type . . . . . . . . . . . . Ship
Official Number . . . . . . 33062
Tonnage . . . . . . . . . . 758.55 Tons Register
When Built . . . . . . . . . 1855 Certificate May 7, 1855

Date of Registration at Port of Quebec: August 31, 1855

Description of vessel:-
      Length . . . . . . . . . 161 feet
      Breadth . . . . . . . . . 32 & 6 tenths feet
      Depth of hold . . . . . . 18 & 6 tenths feet

      Decks . . . . . . . . . . One
      Masts . . . . . . . . . . Three
      Stern . . . . . . . . . . Square
      Bowsprit . . . . . . . . Standing
      How rigged . . . . . . . Ship
      Figurehead . . . . . . . Indian Chief figurehead
      How Built . . . . . . . Carvel framework & planking of wood

Subscribing owners:--James John Hayes, of Toronto, Doctor of medicine, owner of the 64 shares.

Sold to James Allen & others at Glasgow, December 12, 1855 REGISTER CLOSED

      National Archives, Canada
      Shipping Registers, Quebec
      Microfilm Reel C 2064

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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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City of Toronto (Ship), 1 Apr 1855