The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 2, n. 8 (May 1970)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), May 1970

Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
[Introduction]; Welland Canal Diary; Marine News; Our Member - The Journalist!; Anyone for a Trip to the Island?
Date of Publication:
May 1970
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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As most of our readers will know, this newsletter has, up until the present, been published only during the period October through May of each year. This was done because so many of our members leave Toronto during the summer months and we did not wish to be caught short of either workers or readers. Nevertheless, it did lead to an overabundance of news for the October issue and the individual items were usually out-of-date by that time.

As a result, your executive has decided that an extra issue of SCANNER will be published this year and it will be mailed to all members during the summer months. Not only do we hope to be able to keep all our members advised of current items of interest, but we shall be able to announce more readily our plans for starting the new season in the fall.

We would like to thank all those who have sent us items for the Marine News section of our bulletin, and we hope that we will continue to receive your support in our efforts to bring you the best marine publication possible. We should be glad to hear from anyone who feels he would like to contribute to SCANNER, or who has something to add to anything we have published. Only in this manner can we best serve our whole membership.

Welland Canal Diary

We are pleased to learn that the popular radio program "Welland Canal Diary" will return to the St. Catharines radio station, CKTB, on May 4, 1970. For the uninitiated, this short daily presentation features a listing of all vessels currently transiting the Canal as well as all those expected to arrive at either entrance in the next few hours. The host, Mr. Bill Bird, also passes along interesting facts about the Canal itself and frequently deals with news items concerning ships in general.

The program has proved very helpful to those fans who are chasing one particular ship, and has become quite popular in the few years it has been on the air. We salute CKTB for continuing to take an interest in the Great Lakes shipping scene, and we encourage our members to tune in the program whenever they have a chance. You will find CKTB at 610 on your radio dial.

Marine News

The 1970 shipping season at Toronto began officially on April 4th with the arrival of the tanker, IMPERIAL WINDSOR, from Sarnia, Four days later, the first salty of the year the tanker, STOLT NORNESS, entered port. The early movement of ships up the St. Lawrence was severely restricted by heavy ice conditions, and this prevented the usual rush of foreign vessels up the Seaway.

Elsewhere, ice has choked shipping in the Whitefish Bay area where a number of Upper Lakers were caught fast on their first upbound passages. The ice problem was also severe in the Buffalo area where Lake Erie ice had piled up in great windrows. The Cliffs freighters PONTIAC, FRONTENAC and CADILLAC were trapped in the harbour and had to be broken out by the icebreaker WESTWIND which had been brought up from the coast.

The two Shell tankers wintering in Toronto underwent name changes this spring and one of them was a surprise to most observers. The WHITE ROSE is now sailing as the FUEL MARKETER (II), as expected, but it had been presumed that FUEL MARKETER (I) would become RIVERSHELL (III). Instead, the veteran canaller was renamed WESTERN SHELL, In addition, W. HAROLD REA is now sailing as EASTERN SHELL (II).

Name changes have also been in evidence in the American lake fleet. The self-unloader, CLEMENS A. REISS, and the straight-decker, REISS BROTHERS, purchased last year from the Reiss Steamship Co, by the American Steamship Co. of Buffalo, have been renamed JACK WIRT and GEORGE D. GOBLE respectively. Presumably there will be further renames among the former Reiss ships as time passes.

At Humberstone, the scrapping of the self-unloading barge MAIDA is progressing rapidly and at Hamilton the wreckers have almost disposed of the remains of the carferry GRAND HAVEN. Work has begun on the demolition of the ROBERT J. PAISLEY as well.

It has been confirmed that the tug TIFFIN (a) ASHTABULA, taken to Hamilton last year for use in pushing Shell's bunkering barge, has been renamed JENNY T. for the service. She is painted in Shell's usual livery,

The carferry PERE MARQUETTE 12, now has the name ST. CLAIR painted on her bows almost a year after it became known that the change was coming. This would appear to be the first concrete step in the entry of the C.N.R. into the Sarnia-Port Huron ferry route. Construction of the new docks on either side of the river has not begun as yet.

It is reported that the remains of ASSINIBOIA were raised from the Delaware River around the beginning of the year. We understand that the burned-out hull has been sold to local scrappers. It is regrettable that this steamer could not have been preserved in a Canadian port, however, we take solace in the fact that KEEWATIN is still alive and well at Douglas (Saugatuck), Michigan.

The small tug, C. B. TED SMITH, purchased last year by the Toronto Harbour Commission, has now been renamed FRED SCANDRETT in honour of one of the Commissioners.

The coming year is shaping up as a much better one for Canadian vessel operators than 1969. Grain bookings are up over last year and it would appear that very few ships will remain idle. As an example, we understand that Algoma will operate their steamer MICHIPICOTEN which spent the entire 1969 season and much of 1968 laid up.

Of interest to some of our deep-sea fans will be the reported sale of the American passenger liners CONSTITUTION (1951) and PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT (l944) to Chandris Lines. The transactions are, of course, subject to the approval of the U. S. Maritime Administration. The former owners of the two ships were, respectively, American Export-Isbrandtsen Lines and American President Lines.

The tanker ARCTIC TRADER has now returned to salt water. Built at Collingwood as the TYEE SHELL, she had served for a number of years in Shell's West Coast service but returned to Collingwood last fall to be enlarged. A whole new forward end was built for her, and the old TYEE SHELL bow section still lies at Collingwood Shipyards. The "new" ship re-entered service last fall under the name ARCTIC TRADER and spent the winter at Sarnia, Now she has left the lakes to take up duty on the East Coast of Canada.

Another tanker has made her debut on the Lakes. The CONGAR (II), formerly the IMPERIAL HALIFAX of Imperial's East Coast fleet, arrived in Toronto on April 16th to begin service for her new owners, Johnstone Shipping Ltd. of Toronto.

The battle of the ships against the ice on the lakes this spring has caused a number of casualties so far. The most serious cases were the BENSON FORD which had to put into St. Ignace, Michigan, after being holed by the ice jammed into the Straits of Mackinac, and the C.S.L. self-unloader STADACONA which ran into trouble while downbound in Whitefish Bay. The latter ship received serious bow damage and began making water faster than it could be pumped out. Fortunately, her master was able to transfer enough taconite ore into the after compartments to raise her bow and stop the flow of water through the damaged bow plates.

We have a further piece of information for those who would like to bring the Reoch fleet list, published in the last SCANNER, up to date. The PARKDALE (II) has now been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. of Port Colborne for scrapping. Presumably she will go overseas. The same firm has also purchased the Kinsman steamer LACKAWANNA which was retired at the end of last season.

The Interlake freighter C. H. McCULLOUGH JR. will again be operated as a barge this year. She will be chartered to the Roen Steamship Co. but will be carrying for Pickands Mather as her main trade will be taking pellets from Escanaba to the Youngstown Sheet & Tube plant in Indiana Harbor.

Boat Tours International Ltd, will soon be starting a tour service in the lagoons of the Toronto Islands. The company plans to commence operations in May using two 65-foot glass-topped launches which have been obtained in Holland and which are each capable of carrying 100 passengers. The boats, named MISS KIM SIMPSON and MISS SHAWN SIMPSON, were unloaded from the Belgian salty PATIGNIES. on April 18th. Apparently, the vessels will enter the lagoon at Hanlan's Point and will proceed easterly, exiting at Ward's Island, as well as touring the harbour area. We certainly wish their operators the best of luck in navigating some of the tighter turns in the channel with these long craft. Another interesting point is that the old weedcutter was taken out of service more than fifteen years ago....

Apparently the plans are proceeding for the use of the barge WILTRANCO I in the Lake Michigan ore trade this year. Recently salvaged after a long period on the rocks of eastern Lake Erie, she has been repaired and will be pushed by the tug, OLIVE L. MOORE, which has been fitted out with an upper pilothouse for the task, We understand that her owner plans to haul ore for the Inland Steel Corporation between Escanaba and Indiana Harbor.

Late on Sunday, April 19th, a vicious spring storm was lashing the eastern coast of Canada, and caught in the teeth of the gale was the Newfoundland seiner ENTERPRISE, The 100-foot fishing boat sent out distress calls from a point about ten miles off the northern tip of Cape Breton, in the Cabot Strait, In port at North Sydney at the time was the Canadian National Railway's carferry PATRICK MORRIS, and her master took her to sea before her regular departure time in response to the distress calls of the ENTERPRISE. On reaching the location of the seiner, the crew of the ferry spotted wreckage. The MORRIS's sea gate aft was battered open by the pounding of the seas and apparently the ferry began taking water through the opened stern. Approximately 30 minutes after sending calls for assistance at 6:55 a.m. on the 20th, the PATRICK MORRIS sank below the stormy waters of the Strait. Her captain and three other officers were lost as well as the entire crew of 8 carried by the seiner. Of interest to our readers will be the fact that the MORRIS was built in Montreal in 1951 as Canadian Vickers' Hull 251. With a length of 449 ft., she entered the Florida to Cuba service of the West Indies Fruit and Steamship Co., Inc., under the name NEW GRAND HAVEN, For a number of years, she was the running mate of the former lake carferry GRAND HAVEN, recently broken up at Hamilton. The C.N.R. purchased the ferry after political problems spelled the end of the Cuban service. The ferry was twin screw and was powered by Unaflow engines. Fortunately, she did not carry passengers or the loss of life might have been much greater.

SALTY CHANGES - (All these vessels have traded into the Great Lakes).

AKROTIRI (LUKSEFJELL) 1534, 1952, Panamanian. Gutted by fire at Constanza Feb. 1, 1969. 21 lives lost.

ASTYANAX, 1273, 1951, Greek. Sold within Greece and renamed KASSANDRA.

BROHOLM, 4720, 1943, Swedish. Sold Greek and renamed MACO PROGRESS.

GEZINA BROVIG, 11177, 1951, Norwegian. Sank off Puerto Rico after piston blew right through side of ship.

CAMEROUNKUST, 3413, 1955, Dutch. Sold Liberian and renamed UNIVERSE.

COTTONWOOD CREEK, 10232, 1944, American. Stranded off Honduras. Abandoned as total loss.

CRYSTAL JEWEL, 8671, 1956, British. Sold Liberian and renamed MELTEMI.

EXILONA, 9598, 1943, American. Sold within U. S. A.

FINNAMORE VALLEY, 14610, 1961, British. Sold Ceylonese.

KUNISHIMA MARU, 7220, 1951, Japanese. Sold Chinese and renamed SEA BEAUTY. Resold to Taiwan breakers.

RAMON de LARRINAGA, 5611, 1954, British. Sold Greek and renamed MARIANNA.

MORMACELM, 10650, 1945, American. Sold to Far East buyers.

NAUMBURG, 2826, 1953, West German. Sold Chilean and renamed CORDILLERA.

RATHLIN HEAD, 9381, 1953, British. Sold to London Greeks.

SILVERWEIR, 10770, 1961, British. Sold Greek and renamed AGIOS ANTONIOS.

SUNPOLYNA, 18490, 1956, Norwegian. Sold Greek.

TRANSEUROPA, 3632, 1949, West German. Sold Greek and renamed FLORITA.

TUSCANY, 9137, 1956, British. Sold Bermudan.

UNION (CYPRESS, AVERY C. ADAMS), 12035, 1958, Liberian. Sold within Liberia and renamed FREJA.

U.S. TOURIST, 7643, 1945, American. Sold Liberian and renamed ORIENTAL FALCON.

WOODVILLE, 13094, 1958, Norwegian. Sold Liberian.

The Steam Tug "Florence"

Recent name changes in the Shell Oil lake fleet bring to mind an early unit of the fleet of Dominion Tankers Ltd., a concern which was allied with Shell when the marine service began in the 1930's.

Soon after LAKESHELL (I) appeared in 1932, Dominion Tankers ordered, from Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend-on-Tyne, a tank barge which appeared in 1933 bearing the name PETER G. CAMPBELL. This ship has since been named, successively, (b) RIVERSHELL (I), (c) GOOD HOPE, (d) B. A. SENTINEL and now serves as (e) GULF SENTINEL. To tow this barge in the lake and river trade, the wooden tug FLORENCE (Can. 88309) was purchased from the Essex Transit Co. Built at Levis, Quebec, in 1885, she measured 91 x 19.8 x 9.0 and had a gross tonnage of 113. Her early years had been spent in the service of the Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., and later she had served the Hackett Towing & Wrecking Company of Amherstburg, Ontario.

When the Quebec Transportation & Forwarding Co. of Quebec was formed during the winter of 1905-06, three large former upper lake schooners were acquired for the pulpwood and coal trade between the lower St. Lawrence River ports and the Great Lakes. They were the FRANK D. EWEN, ABERDEEN and ZAPOTEC. To tow these barges, the FLORENCE was purchased in 1906, and her powerful fore and aft engines were well suited to towing the three barges at once.

In 1914, FLORENCE passed to the fleet of the Geo. Hall Coal Co. of Canada Ltd., Montreal, and about 1920 she again changed owners, passing this time to the Essex Transit Co. Ltd. of Ford City, Ontario. This firm employed her in the sand and gravel trade until 1932 when she sank at her dock in Windsor.

In 1933, she was purchased by Dominion Tankers and was given a thorough refit before entering her new career of towing the CAMPBELL. Unfortunately, the new service did not last long as FLORENCE foundered in heavy weather on Lake Ontario off the False Ducks in November of 1933 while towing the tank barge. Although this misfortune led to the conversion of the PETER G. CAMPBELL to a self-propelled tanker in 1935 by the installation of diesel engines and twin screws, it did put an end to one of the most handsome steam tugs ever to sail the lakes. FLORENCE was a double-decked tug and had a beautiful sheer to her hull along with a finely raked, tall, thin funnel.

Our Member - The Journalist!

For fourteen years, the "St. Catharines Standard", a daily paper of the Niagara Peninsula area, carried, every Saturday during the navigation season, a detailed history and photograph of a Great Lakes ship under the heading "Ships that Ply the Lakes". The articles were written by Capt. Geoffrey Hawthorn of Niagara Falls, a veteran of many years service on lakers and as pilot on foreign vessels, and latterly an officer aboard many old lakers heading down the lakes on their last voyages en route overseas for scrap.

Unfortunately, Capt. Hawthorn, who was well known to many members of this Society, passed away in May of 1969 and, although he had prepared enough columns in advance to last through that season, it appeared that the series would not return this year.

It was then that our fellow member, Barry Gillham, formerly of Toronto and now of Vineland, stepped in and took over the chore of preparing these articles for publication. "Skip" is well qualified for the task as he is an ardent student of marine history and an excellent photographer, and even put in time serving aboard the canal tanker LUBROLAKE several years ago.

Your editor has had the chance to see several of Skip's efforts to date and they are very well done. We wish him all the best in his new venture and would suggest that any of our members who happen to be in St. Catharines on a Saturday, should stop and pick up a copy of the "Standard" so that they may see for themselves.

Ship of the Month No. 8

Cape Trinity

During the Depression years of the 1930's, there were a number of passenger and freight vessels laid up in Toronto's Ship Channel and Turning Basin due to the general lack of business. For approximately eight years, Canada Steamship Lines' overnight passenger steamer CAPE TRINITY was a member of this inactive fleet.

CAPE TRINITY was certainly not a handsome vessel when compared with the stately KINGSTON. She had a stubby appearance which was caused, in part, by the lack of large, open promenade spaces, by her rather large and almost perpendicular single stack, and by the two very short masts that she carried.

Built at Collingwood in 1911 by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company Limited as GERONIA for the Lake Ontario to Montreal passenger service of the Ontario and Quebec Navigation Co. of Picton, A. W. Hepburn, Manager, she measured 219.6 feet in length, 42 feet in the beam, and 10.4 feet in depth. These dimensions gave her a tonnage of 2105 gross and 1469 net. She was steel-hulled and propeller-driven and was powered by quadruple expansion engines with cylinders of 22 1/2, 18, 26 and 40 inches, and a stroke of 18 inches. Since GERONIA was designed for navigation in shallow St. Lawrence River waters, her draft was not great and the hull was "blistered" at and below the waterline aft to give her buoyancy and stability. Unfortunately, this did not improve either her behaviour in rough weather or her speed!

The Ontario and Quebec Navigation Co, was one of the firms involved in the 1913 merger which produced the organization originally styled Canadian Transportation Co. Ltd. The name was almost immediately changed to the familiar Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. In 1914, GERONIA was renamed SYRACUSE and became the running mate for the larger and well-known steamer ROCHESTER. These ships operated in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence service for a few years under C.S.L. colours, during which time SYRACUSE managed to get herself stranded in the St. Lawrence River on several occasions, partly as a result of insufficient power.

After World War I, both SYRACUSE and ROCHESTER were transferred to C.S.L.'s Saguenay River service, operating out of Montreal, and they were renamed respectively, CAPE TRINITY and CAPE ETERNITY in honour of the two famous rocky landmarks that rise almost two thousand feet above the surface of the Saguenay. However, larger and more comfortable ships rendered them redundant on the Saguenay cruise service, and they returned to the Lake Ontario trade in 1925 when Canada Steamships instituted a Toronto-Thousand Islands-Bay of Quinte route in opposition to their own Toronto-Prescott service which was maintained by TORONTO and KINGSTON.

Due to lack of patronage, the service, as might be expected, was discontinued in 1929 and CAPE TRINITY was laid up at Toronto. Her wooden superstructure gradually deteriorated in lay-up until 1937 when she was sold to Frankel Brothers, a firm of Toronto scrap dealers. Along with the famous Niagara paddle steamer CORONA, her companion in the years of idleness, she was towed to Buffalo for demolition.

Anyone for a Trip to the Island?

That safe and convenient boat, the PENINSULA PACKET, will leave Mr. Maitland's wharf at the foot of Church Street, every day at the hours of 10, 12, 2, 4 and 6 o'clock, returning at 11, 1, 3, 5 and 7, precisely. A limited number of Family Season Tickets will be issued, for which an early application is solicited, at £4 each, fare to and from the Hotel 7 1/2d.

Children entrusted to the care of the Proprietor on the boat will be carefully attended to.

Horses and other cattle can be conveyed over for Pasture by the first boat - not after.

Lunches, Dinners, and Pick-nick Parties will be supplied with all the delicacies of the Season, Also, an abundant supply of fresh milk. The refreshing and healthful breezes of the Lake have been highly recommended, and the beneficial results so well known, as to need no further comment.

The Proprietor hopes that the same kind patronage will be extended to him which he received last year, for which he begs to return his respectful acknowledgments.

A light will be burning on the wharf until 11 o'clock at night.


Peninsula Hotel, May 17, 1847.

From the "British Colonist" dated at Toronto, Tuesday, May 25th, 1847. A bit different from a crossing on the WILLIAM INGLIS!

Our thanks to Jim Kidd for discovering this priceless bit of local history.

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Scanner, v. 2, n. 8 (May 1970)

[Introduction]; Welland Canal Diary; Marine News; Our Member - The Journalist!; Anyone for a Trip to the Island?