Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Queen City (Steamboat), fire, 22 Jan 1855
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QUEEN CITY Steamer, (B) totally destroyed by fire at her dock, Toronto, C.W.
Property loss $20,000
      Buffalo Morning Express (Casualty list)
      January 11, 1856

      . . . . .
      Destruction Of The Steamer Queen City!
Yesterday forenoon we were pained to learn by the following telegraph, via the Grand Trunk Line, that the steamer Queen City was burned to the water's edge at the Queen's Wharf, Toronto, on Monday evening; the Welland, Chief Justice Robinson, Mayflower, and some schooners also narrowly escaped sharing a similiar fate. This is rather a bad beginning on Lake Ontario for 1855.
      Toronto, January 23 - 10 a.m. --- About 9 o'clock last evening, the steamer Queen City was lying at the Queen's Wharf flames were discovered proceeding from the engine room. The captain and crew were all on board, but they speedily ascertained that all their efforts to extinguish the fire would be unavailing; and they turned their attention to saving the cargo. The steamers Chief Justice Robinson, and Welland were moored astern to the Queen, and were for some time in imminent danger; but, as quickly as possible, they were cut loose and were moved to a place of greater safety. The flames continued to spread and even extended to the wharf, so as to to cause some alarm for the safety of the Peerless, Mayflower, and some schooners moored off the other side; which, after some delay, the Queen was shoved off and suffered to drift to the eastward, where she came to contact with the ice opposite the wharf of the Northern Rail Road Company, and then burned to the water's edge.
The Queen City was owned by Mr. M.W. Browne, of Hamilton, having been purchased by him last year for the Hamilton route. She was worth about #4,000, and is said to be fully insured. She had about ten tons of goods on board, for the ports between this place and Hamilton, chiefly consisting of dry goods and groceries, only a small part of which was saved. The Queen City was built at Oswego about thirteen years ago, and was then known as the Lady Of The Lake, one of the crack boats on the waters, the honors being about equally divided between her and the Eclipse. Vessels of improved character have since been introduced, and the Lady fell gradually so low as to ply as a ferry boat from Cape Vincent to Kingston. She then fell into the hands of Mr. Browne, who ran her with considerable success, notwithstanding her age, between Hamilton and Niagara.
There is no reason to doubt that the fire was entirely the work of accident. It probably having originated among the wood in the engine room.
      St. Catharines Constitutional
      January 24, 1855


      The Globe announces that the stm. QUEEN CITY was burned at the Queen's Wharf, Toronto, on Monday night (1/22). The fire was accidental. The steamers CHIEF JUSTICE, WELLAND, PEERLESS and MAYFLOWER narrowly escaped. The burning boat was cut loose from the wharf and drifted down the Bay, where she burned to the water's edge and sunk. boat was built at Oswego 13 years ago, and ran as an American steamer for many years, under the name "LADY OF THE LAKE". She was sold to M.W. Browne, of Hamilton, last year, for $16,000, and became a British steamer called QUEEN CITY. She been running this winter between Toronto and Hamilton. - Rochester Union.
      Detroit Free Press
      January 27, 1855

      . . . . .
      The subscribers are instructed to sell by public auction, on Wed. March 14th. the ENGINE and BOILER, ANCHOR and CHAINS and the remains of the wreck of the steamer QUEEN CITY, formerly the LADY OF THE LAKE, now lying some distance off the Queens Wharf in the Bay of Toronto. The engine was made by Allen of New York, and is considered an excellent piece of workmanship, fitted with brass pumps, valves &c.. Terms will be made known at time of sale.
      Wakefield & Coate, Auctioneers.
      Toronto Globe
      March 2, 1855

      . . . . .
Work will commence on raising the remains of the QUEEN CITY, burnt to the water;s edge, east of Queen's wharf, a short time ago.
      Toronto Globe
      April 5, 1855
      . . . . .

      The remains of the QUEEN CITY wreck was removed by contractors Salter and Moodie on Sat. 14th. from Toronto Harbor.
      Toronto Globe
      June 18, 1856
      . . . . .

QUEEN CITY Steamer built Oswego 1842 as LADY OF THE LAKE, sold Canadian 1853
and changed name to QUEEN CITY. Burnt Toronto January 22, 1855.
      Preliminary List of Canadian Merchant Vessels
      Coastal and Inland 1809 to 1930

Media Type
Item Type
Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Hull damage: 16,000
Freight: nil
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.634444 Longitude: -79.370833
William R. McNeil
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Queen City (Steamboat), fire, 22 Jan 1855