The season has been so unprecedentedly retarded by frost and snow, as to render the Opening of Navigation for 1856 a matter of great uncertainty. At the time we write, the harbor of Kingston is as effectually closed as it was in midwinter, and the prospect of the ice's soon leaving it, though rendered more hopeful by the rain of Saturday, is nevertheless not good. It will probably be after the 21st of the month that a steamer can enter or leave it. Consequently, we have plenty of time before us to do our annual amiable to the Shipping Interests of the City, to which we shall this year confine the limits of "Our Walk."
In Counter's Marine Railway and Ship Yard is a busy scene of labor. Three steamers and a schooner are on the Railway, two schooners and a Steam Dredge are on the stocks, and several other vessels are lying at the wharves, undergoing repairs.
Of these the fine steamer Banshee is the most conspicuous. The Banshee was built in 1854, but ran for the first time last year as one of the Mail Packets between Kingston and Montreal. Owing to the whole weight of the Engine and Boilers being placed in the middle of the boat, it was deemed necessary to strengthen her, and late last Fall, she went on the Railway. During the winter she has been most effectually strengthened in a novel and ingenious manner, by plates of iron along her keelson, supported by iron cables a la Suspension Bridge, the whole below deck and out of sight, a plan infinitely superior, so far as outward appearance, to the long wooden arches and supports. We need not add that the Banshee is in a most effective and elegant state of preparation for immediate business, because when we say, that she is fitted out by Capt Howard, her commander of last year, all that is implied. She will be shoved into the water the moment the state of the harbor permits and will take her place again in the Line of River Mail Steamers.
Alongside of the Banshee is the handsome steamer Corra Linn. This vessel was known on the Bay of Quinte, as the Novelty, but having passed into the possession of Messrs. A. & D. Shaw, her name was changed, and she ran part of last season as the Corra Linn. She is on the Railv~ay, being thoroughly caulked and otherwise repaired, previous to the resumption of her business on the Bay, where she will make three trips a week, between the Trent, Belleville, Picton and Kingston. She will have a new Captain, in the person of Mr. Sutherland, last season the obliging wharfinger on A. & D. 's waterside premises; and we have little doubt, but that the Bay Passengers will find him as obliging in his new capacity. As every thing on board, the Corra Linn is in a state of perfect readiness, she will commence business so soon as the ice permits.
Messrs. Hooker and Pridham have one of their large propellers, the St. Lawrence, on the Railway, being overhauled and put in order for business. There is a Steam Dredge building for the Lower St. Lawrence. On the stocks are two fine schooners, of very different similitude; the one a clipper schooner, with sharp bows, and a fine run aft, and the other capable of carrying 18,000 bushels of grain.
The America, a schooner belonging to Mr. Macguire, of Pittsburgh, is also undergoing repairs. The above are all the vessels inside the yard, but there are several others lying at the wharves, busily painting, repairing, fitting out and getting ready for the lake. A man might pass an hour more unpleasantly, than in visiting Counter's Marine Railway and Ship Yard during the present and the next month.
During the past winter, several very great additions have been made to the Wharves in Kingston Harbor, a process rendered necessary by the remissness of the City Authorities, who allow the slips and the shores to be filled up during the winter season by every kind of filth and refuse. This annually compels the wharfingers to make approaches to the deeper water. One would think that the Mayor, being a steamboat man would specially strive against the commission of offences so detrimental to decency and usefulness, but the evil has been greater this year than during any preceding winter. Among other wharves the St. Lawrence Wharf has been lengthened two hundred feet, now forming with its former ample size and conveniences, one of the very best wharves in British North America. Four large sized steamers can lie at it, and have wharf room each, sheltered completely from the action of high winds or a rough lake. The St. Lawrence Wharf will be again this season the stopping place of the Lake and River Mail Steamers (with the exception of Mr. Hamilton's Boats) and will also do the business of several other Steamboat Lines, the arrangements of which are not completed. Mr. Joseph Doyle (Messrs J. Doyle & Co ) is the active Wharfinger of the St. Lawrence, in whom the Mercantile Community can have no better nor more punctual servant.--Alongside this wharf, are two fine schooners, belonging to Capt. Wallace and Mr. Doyle, the Alice and the Maid of the West, now ready for sea. Their destination is Chicago, and when the ice permits, each takes up a cargo of Lumber to that distant port. This trade is new to Kingston, but it is likely to improve. Sending Lumber to the far West seems odd in America, but the fact is so--there is little pine growing near Chicago and its dependencies, or it is difficult to approach; for not only are these two schooners going there with it, but advertisements abound in the local newspapers calling for vessels to take it from the Trent, Belleville and other places where it is abundant. At the Head of the St. Lawrence Wharf is the Customs House, and opposite to it in Ontario Street is Irons' Hotel, which together make the locality one of the most frequented in Kingston for general business.
**Since the above was written, we learn that at the Great Steamboat Proprietors Meeting, at Hamilton, on Wednesday last, no definite Arrangements for the coming season were entered into;--in fact, everything connected with the Steamboat Trade of 1856 is at sixes and sevens, and nothing is permanently settled. In which case the steamer Banshee may not run on the River Mail Line, as stated by us above, but will go on the Thorough Line, making a Trip between Montreal, Kingston, Toronto and Hamilton every five days.