The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 2, n. 2 (November 1969)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Nov 1969

Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Meetings; Marine News; Ship Of The Month; Idle Tonnage; Bristol City Line
Date of Publication:
Nov 1969
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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November Dinner Meeting

Friday, November 7th, at the Ship Inn. Mr. Bob Rushton of Lloyd's Shipping Registry, will speak on the Great Lakes self-unloader.

December Meeting

Friday, December 5th, at the Marine Museum.

* * * *

We would like to welcome a number of new members to our Society. Our ranks are growing very rapidly. We hope to publish a complete membership roster shortly.

Marine News

Canadian National has confirmed the purchase of the carferry PERE MARQUETTE 12. She will be renamed ST. CLAIR and will carry traffic which cannot be handled by the Sarnia tunnel. As of early October she was still laid up at the Chesapeake & Ohio dock at Port Huron.

The old Lake Michigan carferry GRAND HAVEN, which returned to the lakes in 1964 after many years on salt water, sank at her moorings in the Old River at Cleveland on September 19. She had not operated for her managers, T.J. McCarthy Steamship Co., Detroit, since her return. The salvage contract has been awarded to Murphy Pacific Marine Salvage Co., Merritt Division, and the work is being carried out immediately as the ship is a menace to navigation in her present position.

The following information has now come to light concerning some of the lakers which have gone overseas for scrapping this year:

C. A. BENNETT - Cleared Quebec in tow of tug ROTESAND, June 7, 1969.

HOWARD M. HANNA JR. - Cleared Quebec May 1, 1969, in tow of KORAL. Arrived at Cartagena, Spain, May 23, 1969.

MIDLAND PRINCE - Cleared Quebec in tow of ROTESAND on June 7th.

BUCKEYE - Cleared Quebec September 3, in tow of FAIRPLAY X.

FRANK E. TAPLIN - Cleared Quebec May 1st in tow of KORAL and arrived at Cartagena, Spain, on May 23rd, 1969.

BEN E. TATE - Cleared Quebec June 21st in tow of MISSISSIPPI and arrived at Bilbao, Spain, on July 12th, 1969.

GOUDREAU - Cleared Quebec June 9th in tow of KORAL and arrived at Santander, Spain.

June 27th.

LEMOYNE - Cleared Quebec June 9th in tow of KORAL and arrived safely at Santander, Spain, on June 27th, 1969.

HOWARD HINDMAN - Cleared Quebec August 13th, in tow of MISSISSIPPI.

MANITOBA - Cleared Quebec June 27th in tow of BRITONIA and arrived at Newport, England, July 19th, 1969.

DONNACONA - Cleared Quebec June 21st in tow of MISSISSIPPI, arriving at Bilbao, Spain, July 12th, 1969.

ASHCROFT - Cleared Quebec July l7th in tow of JANTAR.

J.E. UPSON - Cleared Quebec in tow of FAIRPLAY XII, August 27th.

PETER ROBERTSON - Cleared Quebec September 3rd, 1969 in tow of FAIRPLAY X.

PHILIP MINCH - Cleared Quebec September 5th in tow of JANTAR.

HARRY W. CROFT - Cleared Quebec September 5th in tow of JANTAR.

SPRUCEDALE - Cleared Quebec July 18th in tow of ROTESAND.

HUMBERDOC - Cleared Quebec August 13th, 1969, in tow of MISSISSIPPI.

SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY - Cleared Quebec July 17th in tow of JANTAR.

We thank member, Dave Glick, for supplying much of the above. More on these ships will be forthcoming as the details become known.

Fraser's tug HERBERT A. looks quite smart in her new livery. The cabins are bright orange and the name Port Colborne Tug Co. appears on her nameboards. The stack is white with red top and carries a blue design bearing the letters PC in white. She has received a new bipod after mast and certain alterations to the hull.

In our last issue we neglected to mention the sinking of the Great Lakes Towing Company's tug MARYLAND in Lake Huron off Sturgeon Pt., Mich., on August 26. She was being towed by LAURENCE C. TURNER at the time.

Museum ships can still be useful. VALLEY CAMP, preserved at the Soo as a tourist attraction, provided a cylinder head for the RICHARD TRIMBLE in September so the latter could proceed to Superior where a new part could be obtained. She returned the borrowed part on her next downbound passage through the Soo.

The fleet of Cleveland Tankers Inc. has been increased by the Oct. 14 launch of a 341-foot tank barge to be christened PHOENIX. Built by Wyatt Industries at Houston, Texas, she will be brought to the lakes through the Seaway. She will be unmanned herself and will be propelled by a chartered tug. May she serve longer than CLEVECO!

C.S.L. have placed their new self-unloader TADOUSSAC in service. She is rather different in appearance with the unloading equipment aft, between her two funnels. She has a transom stern. We note that she is registered in Collingwood rather than the usual port used by C.S.L. In this direction we also see that QUETICO, formerly registered in Montreal, has been reregistered in Port Arthur following her conversion, and we can only wonder at the reason for this.

The barge WILTRANCO I, hard aground in Lake Erie since 1967, has been refloated by Clyde Van Enkevort with his tug OLIVE L. MOORE assisting. The barge was freed October 16 and is now in Buffalo. This salvor seems to succeed at "impossible" jobs as he previously removed the BUCKEYE from the beach near Port Colborne and has now salvaged the WILTRANCO I, a job no one else would touch. He also owns the barge CARTERET, which used to be towed by the MACKINAC ISLANDER in the Sault area, and is now on a Detroit construction job.

United Metals have bought BAYFAIR and BAYGEORGE, the last units of the Bayswater Shipping fleet and have moved them to Hamilton for scrapping. The same concern has recently broken up the McAllister-Pyke tug FIRE CHIEF and the salvage barge EN-AR-CO. The large tug GRAEME STEWART is due at the United Metals dock for demolition as soon as there is space for her. The barge HILDA, companion to EN-AR-CO, could not be towed to Hamilton and was sunk in Lake Ontario because of her poor condition.

Recent accidents in the Welland Canal include the striking of the seawall below the Thorold Guard Gate by the SUNRAY and the damaging of the fender in Lock 6 by the TENBURY, the latter accident happening October 21. The large Greek steamer AGIS ASTERIADIS suffered a serious engine breakdown in the canal shortly before Thanksgiving Day. This followed a variety of problems which beset the vessel while in Toronto to unload a cargo of raw sugar.

Upper Lakes Shipping have returned their RIDGETOWN to service. She had been laid up in Toronto since 1968. MEAFORD has also been fitted out for the first time this year.

Ship Of The Month


Shipping enthusiasts are always interested in new developments in the marine transportation field and, in particular, in the appearance of newly-built carriers. It seems, however, that even more interest is generated by what is about to, or has just faded into the past, to be lost forever from our sight. Perhaps this explains why one particular small steamer seems to have attracted more attention recently than she or her sisters ever did during the better part of their careers.

In fact, the ONTADOC, of N.M.Paterson & Sons Ltd., Fort William, seems to have become a symbol of the many small Upper Lake bulk carriers which were built around the turn of the century and were the mainstay of the ore trade, but whose numbers are now reduced to a mere handful. Granted, there are some vessels now in operation that are older than ONTADOC but most are in specialized trades and even they are rapidly disappearing. Ships of her type are now too small for most trades and are too expensive to operate in competition with newer tonnage and their future is very much in doubt.

ONTADOC began her active career when she left the Chicago Shipbuilding Company's yard in October, 1903. Known during construction as Hull 62, she had been christened R.L.IRELAND and entered the service of the Gilchrist Transportation Co. of Cleveland. Two coal-fired single-ended Scotch boilers supplied steam at 130 lbs. pressure to her triple expansion engines. With a length of 416 feet, she had a beam of 50.3 ft and a depth of 24 ft. giving her a tonnage of 4470 gross and 3143 net,

She was typical of the steel steamers of her day in having exceptionally good lines to her hull, well-raked masts and funnel, and a turret pilothouse with an open bridge above. The Gilchrist livery, white cabins and a black hull with high grey boot top, made her look very smart indeed.

The Gilchrist fleet became one of the largest of the lake operations of the early century but difficulties arose during the 1907 recession and worsened with the serious illness of the company's dynamic founder and president, Joseph C. Gilchrist, the same year. Those who took over did not seen to have sufficient experience to carry on the sane type of management and the stockholders could not agree on a plan to get the operation on its feet again. The company went into receivership in 1910 and the ships were finally sold by the court at public sale in 1913.

R. L. IRELAND, along with a large number of her companions, passed at this tine to the Interlake Steamship Co. of Cleveland, Pickands Mather & Co. being the operating managers, and it was decided to rename the ship SIRIUS in line with the fleet's custom of naming their units after heavenly bodies. She continued in the ore trade and was rebuilt at Fairport, Ohio, by her owners in 1925 but her tonnage was not greatly altered. By this tine, her open bridge had been replaced by a closed upper pilothouse.

Ships of her size were rapidly becoming unprofitable to operate in the American ore trade and a number of ships of the Interlake fleet, the SIRIUS included, were sold in 1926 to Paterson Steamships Ltd. of Fort William. The name ONTADOC, signifying the Canadian Province of Ontario, was chosen for her and she was given the famous Paterson black stack with a large white "P". Most of her career under Paterson ownership has been spent in the grain trade but the past few years have seen her running coal from Lake Erie to Toronto and Hamilton, a duty that she inherited from her former companions SOODOC, SASKADOC and FORT WILLDOC.

One by one, her many running-mates of so many years were sold or scrapped and, in fact, the Paterson fleet has undergone such extensive changes that not one of the other ships listed in the fleet as late as 1953 remains under the company's ownership. As the last of Paterson's conventional steamers, should cargoes not be available for her or should she require costly repairs, she will almost certainly make the one-way trip to the ship-breaker's yard. Let us hope that business conditions improve and that the waters of the lakes are kind to her so that a few more years of operation will be possible for this handsome vessel.

Idle Tonnage

The 1969 shipping season has not been a particularly good one for Canadian operators. The lengthy labour problems at three St. Lawrence River ore-shipping ports, a similar situation in the American coal industry and the very small quantity of grain to be transported, all combined to reduce the number of available cargoes and a large proportion of the Canadian lakers spent at least part of the year in idleness. The laying up of many Canadian vessels is not, however, a new situation, and in the Toronto Evening Telegram of April 27, 1946, the marine editor was complaining of the same problems.

"Lack of grain and shortage of United States coal have left idle more than 100,000 tons of Canadian inland shipping, the bulk of the grain carrying fleet, shipping sources in Montreal have revealed.

"Ship owners said the situation was without precedent with such large grain carriers as the LEMOYNE, with a capacity of 525,000 bushels, the WESTMOUNT, STADACONA, GODERICH, GLENEAGLES, EMPEROR, ASHCROFT and PRESCOTT idle. Among then they have a capacity of more than 3,000,000 tons.

"Only three Canada Steamship Lines vessels are operating and officials said it was 'touch and go' to keep them in service. Officials of another company said their vessels reached the grain ports of Fort William and Port Arthur only to be told there were no orders for then,

"Owners estimated there was sufficient fuel, short because of the United States strike, to keep the ships which are in service operating another two weeks."

Bristol City Line

A Short History and Fleet list

By: Fred Sankoff

MONTREAL CITY: Having picked up her canal pilot is now underway, inbound off Lake Ontario heading for Lock 1. Photo by Fred SankoffThe Bristol City Line of Steamship Limited is managed by Charles Hill & Sons and is a branch of the oldest shipping company in the world, with a continuous existence to the present day. The company was founded in 1704 and took part in privateering and special ventures; then in 1760 they started shipbuilding.

In 1879 the Bristol City Line started a regular steamship service between Bristol and New York.

In 1933 the company started in the Canadian trade and this service was extended in 1958 to cover the Canadian and U.S. Lakes as far as Chicago. The first year of operations into the Lakes was done with small chartered tonnage, then with the opening of the Seaway the S.S. TORONTO CITY was the first of the Bristol Fleet to come up the newly opened waterway.

Together with Clarke Traffic Services Ltd. of Montreal, the Compagnie Maritime Beige (Lloyd Royal) of Antwerp, and the third party being Charles Hill & Sons of Bristol have formed a consortium to be called Dart Containerline. This service commenced in 1969 from the port of Halifax with a chartered ship the C.V. JORG KRUGER built in 1969 by Elsflether Werft A.G. The second ship is the C.V. JUNO built in 1969, as was the C.V. BRITTA KRUGER. These ships have a capacity of 210-20 ft. containers, at a speed of 16.25 knots.

BIRMINGTON CITY: A beautiful example of a fine looking ship; having discharged her cargo, leaving Toronto via the Western Gap, bound for the Upper Lakes. Photo by Fred SankoffThe new vessels for the Dart Containerline are at present under construction and will be delivered in 1970 and will have the following characteristics: L.O. 759', B.P. 715', breadth 100', depth 61', SHP 29,000 EPK, speed over 23 knots and container capacity (units of 20 ft.) 1556.

Dart Containerline services will be implemented in two phases. During the first stage two separate lines are established. On the one hand a weekly service operated by the four Painter class container vessels between Europe via Antwerp and Southampton, and the U.S. via New York and Norfolk. The Painter class vessels are those belonging to the Lloyd Royal fleet, M.V. BREUGHEL built 1963, M.V.JORDAENS built 1963, M.V. RUBENS built 1964, and the M.V. TENIERS built 1964. All these fine ships were built at the Cockerill Yards, Hoboken, Belgium. These are large fast ships as the following specifications will bear out: L.O. 517', B.P.479' breadth 66', depth 40', SHP 9,000, speed 18 knots, 303 containers (20 ft. units).

The three German container ships will operate to Halifax wherefrom the containers are reforwarded by rail via C.N. to Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton.

In the second stage Mid 1970, the three new full container vessels will operate one weekly service, combining the two existing ones.

I am afraid that when this new service comes into being, the familiar sight of the orange hulled Bristol City Line vessels will no longer be seen in Toronto Harbour, as well as the black hulled S.S.BRISTOL CITY, probably the last ship to bear that proud name. The TORONTO CITY and the COVENTRY CITY will revert to Bibby Lines and the rest of the fleet will be sold and will probably be seen in the Lakes flying the Greek flag. Unfortunately, many a fine British ship has ended her days sailing the seas under an alien flag.


Name GrossTons Builder Year

1. BRISTOL CITY Iron Ship 1725 Richardson Duck 1879

2. NEW YORK CITY " " 1725 Richardson Duck 1879

3. BATH CITY " " 1725 Richardson Duck 1880

4. BROOKLYN CITY " " 1725 Richardson Duck 1881

5. GLOUCESTER CITY " " 1940 Richardson Duck 1881

6. JERSEY CITY " " 1940 Richardson Duck 1882

7. LANDAFF CITY " " 1940 Richardson Duck 1882

8. WELLS CITY Steel Ship 1960 North of England Ship-

building Co. 1885

9. EXETER CITY " " 2140 Blyth Shipbuilding Co. 1887

10. GLOUCESTER CITY " " 2193 J. L. Thompson 1889

11. WELLS CITY " " 1814 Charles Hill and Sons 1890

12. CHICAGO CITY " " 2324 J. Blumer 1892

13. BOSTON CITY " " 2345 J. Blumer 1893

l4. KANSAS CITY " " 2345 J. Blumer 1893

15. BATH CITY " " 2511 J. L. Thompson 1893

16. BRISTOL CITY " " 2511 Charles Hill and Sons 1899


17. NEW YORK CITY Steel Ship 2970 Richardson 1907

18. BOSTON CITY " " 2736 Charles Hill and Sons 1917

19. NEW YORK CITY " " 2736 Charles Hill and Sons 1917

20. BRISTOL CITY " " 2858 Charles Hill and Sons 1919

21. BOSTON CITY " " 2869 Charles Hill and Sons 1920

22. EXETER CITY " " 2929 Bought secondhand 1925

23. MONTREAL CITY " " 3066 Bought secondhand 1933*

24. GLOUCESTER CITY " " 3071 Bought secondhand 1936*

25. TORONTO CITY " " 2486 Bought secondhand 1937*

26. MONTREAL CITY " " 7145 Bought secondhand 1946*

27. BRISTOL CITY " " 7100 Bought secondhand 1948*

28. WELLS CITY " " 5100 Bought secondhand 1948*

29. BIRMINGHAM CITY " " 5571 Bought secondhand 1950*

30. NEW YORK CITY " " 7052 Bought secondhand 1951*

31. GLOUCESTER CITY " " 5581 J. Readhead and Sons 1954

32. NEW YORK CITY " " 5603 J. Readhead and Sons 1956

33. TORONTO CITY " " 4663 J. Readhead and Sons 1956

34. BRISTOL CITY " " 5887 J. Readhead and Sons 1959

35. MONTREAL CITY " " 6623 Burntisland S.B. Co. 1963

36. HALIFAX CITY " " 6647 Burntisland S.B. Co. 1964

37. COVENTRY CITY " " 8020 Doxford & Sunderland 1966

38. TORONTO CITY " " 8020 Doxford & Sunderland 1966

39. DART OAK " " 22800-DWT Swan Hunter Ltd. Group 1970

NEW YORK CITY: With a trail of black oily smoke behind her, as she gets underway from Montreal, on a Saturday afternoon in June, downriver and overseas. Photo by Fred SankoffNOTES: * Year ship placed in service.

#26 X FAIRMOUNT PARK Blt. Burrard,Vancouver, B.C. 1946

#27 X EMPIRE NIGEL '47, X NANDI '48, X ARCHANGELSK '46, X EMPIRE NIGEL '43 Blt. 1943, W. Gray & Co. Ltd.

#28 X ST. INA '48, X EMPIRE MARINER '46, X RHEINGOLD '40, X SCHWARTZWALD, Blt 1922, Deutche Werft.

#29 X BASKERVILLE 1950, Blt 1946, J. Readhead & Sons, X EMPIRE CAMP '46, X VALACIA, Sold 1963 renamed SEMPORNA BAY, sold 1965 now VICTORIA BAY.

#30 X LEENA DAN '56, launched 1947 by Boeles Schps.& Mach., sold 1963 renamed OLGA, completed 1949 by Aalborg Werft

#31 Sold 1968, renamed ST. JOHN

#32 Sold 1968, renamed AVIS-ORNIS

#37 Long tern charter from Bibby Lines.

#38 Long term charter from Bibby Lines.

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Scanner, v. 2, n. 2 (November 1969)

Meetings; Marine News; Ship Of The Month; Idle Tonnage; Bristol City Line