Friday, April 2 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Ron Ruck will present a pictorial program entitled "Canadian Marine Miscellany".
Friday, May 7 - 7:00 p.m. at the Ship Inn. Annual Dinner Meeting.
The Editor's Notebook
The Dinner Meeting will be held on May 7th at the Ship Inn, the basement restaurant at the Museum. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter and the bar will be open early for those who might care for a pre-dinner restorative. The speaker for the evening will be Mr. Thomas E. Appleton who will present a program entitled "The Allan Line - by Sail and Steam to Canada". Mr. Appleton is the author of several books including Ravenscrag, a history of the Allan Line.
The cost of the dinner will be $8.50 and those wishing tickets should write as soon as possible to our Treasurer, Mr. James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 1W9. Space in the Ship Inn is limited so we would recommend that you write soon to reserve space, enclosing payment in Canadian Funds.
Our February meeting was a very successful evening of slides featuring lake ships built prior to 1930 which are still in service. We even saw a selection of rather elderly "salties". We were very pleased to have in attendance a number of our out-of-town members.
In our New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Capt. Frank Dishaw of Ingleside, Ontario, to Christopher Wilson of Port Colborne, to Michael S. Delaney of Detroit, to Rudi Rabe of Amherstburg, to Earl E. Belcher of Waubaushene, to Leo M. Alcock of Saginaw, to Albert Schelling of Thunder Bay, and to D. Gordon Champion of Toronto. Mr. Champion is the gentleman who was in charge of the rebuilding of the ferry TRILLIUM.
A major landslide along the Welland Canal has forced the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority to take fast action to ensure that the waterway will be usable by the planned opening day of April 1st. With the lower section of the canal dewatered for routine maintenance work, a 700-foot section of the high east bank just below Lock Three slid down into the canal on January 27, spreading 147,000 cubic yards of mud into the shipping channel. A $300,000 contract was quickly let to a local firm to clear the debris and it is expected that everything will be back to normal in time for the filling of the canal in mid-March. The section of the east bank between Bridge Four at Homer and Lock Three has been known in the past to be unstable, but never before has such a large quantity of earth shifted.
The 1976 navigation season will see a new and unique shipping service operating into the lakes. The Newfoundland - Ontario Steamship Company, a subsidiary of Rail and Water Terminal (Quebec) Ltd., will commence operation in April on a route between St. John's, Newfoundland, and Oshawa, Ontario, the latter port being located about 25 miles east of Toronto. To begin the service, two small ships will run the route, but after the first month container and reefer service will also be offered. During the winter months when the Seaway is closed, cargo will be landshipped from Oshawa to Pointe au Pic, Quebec, from whence the ships will carry it on to St. John's. At the time of this writing it is not known which ships will be placed on the route but we imagine that they will be typical St. Lawrence and Gulf coasters, the current descendants of the wooden goelettes that for so long frequented the area.
Yet another company is now planning to operate American-registry salt water vessels into the lakes. A company known as Great Lakes and European Lines Inc. has been formed and will commence service in April, serving the ports of Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, London and Amsterdam. The weekly service will begin with five foreign-owned ships but within three years the company hopes to operate with five American-built containerships, each anticipated to cost $30 million. It has not yet been announced where the ships will be built, but the president of the new firm has conceded that one or more of the ships may be built by Defoe at Bay City, Michigan.
Meanwhile, it appears that the lake service operated last year by Lykes Bros. Steamship Company was a success. Lykes is planning on maintaining the route in 1976 and is at present the only line operating U.S.-flag salt water vessels into the lakes.
As a result of a request by the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton and Company, a probate court judge at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, ruled early in February that the officers and crew of the steamer EDMUND FITZGERALD died by drowning in Lake Superior due to the sinking of the ship on November 10, 1975. The judge ordered the Chippewa County coroner to issue death certificates for the 29 men who perished in the disappearance of the vessel.
The Canadian National Railway east coast ferry SIR ROBERT BOND got into a spot of trouble on February 12th when she somehow managed to strike a breakwater and go aground near the entrance to the harbour at Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Other C.N. ferries stood by the grounded vessel and she was later refloated. Readers will recall that SIR ROBERT BOND was built in 1975 by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. and cleared the lakes in the autumn for her new duties on the run between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Work continues at Toronto on the Q & O steamer OUTARDE (III), the former ROBERT HOBSON. In addition to the conversion to oil fuel, the vessel is having a bit of a facelift. The job involves the repair of the cosmetic blemish on her port bow, the legacy of a collision several years ago with the lower end of the Peerless Cement dock at Port Huron.
Another vessel undergoing work at Toronto this winter is the veteran (1906) steamer HELEN EVANS of the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd., Owen Sound. The vessel seems to be getting a general refurbishing. Meanwhile, Hindman's steamer PARKER EVANS is having considerable plate work done this winter as she lies at Owen Sound.
A notable passage of the Welland Canal took place on December 17 and 18, 1975 and was not noted in these pages, mainly because of the fact that we were not aware of it. At long last, in December was completed and delivered by Port Arthur Shipyards (now technically the Thunder Bay yard of the Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd.) the new passenger and auto ferry designed especially for the ferry service between Kingston and Wolfe Island. Christened WOLFE ISLANDER III, the vessel was escorted down the lakes by the McQueen tug ATOMIC. The ferry measures 205 x 68 x 6, Gross 968, and is licenced for 336 passengers. She will carry about 50 autos. The motorship is a vessel of rather low profile, having a long cabin down either side of the main deck and a pilothouse which rests on a bridge joining the two side cabins. A fairly tall square funnel is carried on each side. It appears that during the summer months passengers will be allowed to sit atop the cabins and take the cooling lake breezes. WOLFE ISLANDER III made the canal passage under her own power, with ATOMIC standing by.
A minor fire occurred recently aboard the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's bulk carrier WALTER A. STERLING which is tied up for the winter at the Lorain yard of the American Shipbuilding Company. The blaze, which broke out in the vessel's galley when an oil stove malfunctioned, was quickly extinguished by Lorain firemen. AmShip will lengthen the STERLING this coming spring and after the stretching she will be the fourth-largest vessel on the lakes, surpassed only by PRESQUE ISLE, STEWART J. CORT and ROGER BLOUGH.
Once again, plans for the return to the lakes of the passenger steamer SOUTH AMERICAN seem to have fallen through. The most recent scheme involved the refurbishing of the old vessel as a convention centre in conjunction with a harbour redevelopment plan at Duluth, Minnesota. It now appears that the "backing" which was behind the plan has departed, or perhaps was never there at all, and as such another group will have to take over if SOUTH AMERICAN is to come back to the lakes. The ship herself seems to be in no immediate danger from the wrecker's torch. Ships Inc., her former owner, has now gone into bankruptcy. The firm owed money to the Port of South Jersey and so the municipality now has a lien on the steamer.
Meanwhile, we learn that a Chicago area group has been considering the return to service of the Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship Company's passenger vessel MILWAUKEE CLIPPER. The CLIPPER operated for many years on the Lake Michigan cross-lake service between Milwaukee and Muskegon but she has lain idle at the latter port for several years. The ship was built in 1905 at Cleveland and is probably best known for her years of service under the name JUNIATA for the Anchor Line and the Great Lakes Transit Corporation. Details of the new organization are not known, nor is the use to which the vessel might be put.
Winter navigation has been relatively free of problems for the better part of the winter but at last the complaints have started to come from the residents of Sugar Island, that rather vocal community located on the island in the St. Mary's River on the east side of Little Rapids Cut and Lake Nicolet. Ice difficulties were pretty well non-existent for the first half of the winter due to the fact that the U.S. Corps of Engineers put an ice boom across the bottom end of the Lower Soo harbour. The boom kept the ice from packing into Little Rapids and thus the ferry SUGAR ISLANDER was able to operate without interference. But in early February the boom suffered damage in the heavy ice and thereafter the ferry began to encounter problems in making its crossing. The island residents began to scream once again about the delays they encountered when the ferry could not operate as usual. And this time it looks as if somebody is listening to them. Chippewa County has proposed that a bridge be built to the island but in view of the fact that the county has been experiencing rather severe monetary problems lately, we rather doubt that such a project will ever come to fruition unless some other authority coughs up the bucks necessary to build the structure.
Although U.S. Steel is the only lake shipping firm still maintaining service on the lakes during the latter part of the winter, several Canadian tanker fleets have vessels in service on the east coast or in overseas trades. Branch Lines Ltd. of Sorel had six ships in service at last report, two working out of Point Tupper, Nova Scotia, for Gulf Oil and four running east from Montreal for Texaco, Golden Eagle, Shell and Canadian Fuel Marketers. The Hall Corporation has three tankers in winter service. JAMES TRANSPORT is operating on the east coast out of Point Tupper for Gulf, while SEA TRANSPORT is running to Newfoundland and other coastal areas from Montreal for Golden Eagle Canada Ltd. DOAN TRANSPORT is operating between Montreal, Freeport (Bahamas), Beaumont (Texas), and Rotterdam for Dow Chemical.
By the time these words appear in print, the future of the Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM should be known. The Mackinac Transportation Company has for years been trying to abandon the service but protests from authorities in the Michigan upper peninsula have served to keep the vessel operating. But recently the company has threatened to take the veteran steamer out of service on February 27, thus bringing to an end direct rail service between the upper and lower peninsulas. There is, however, one possibility of saving the ship and her route. The Michigan Department of Highways and Transportation has agreed to provide an operating subsidy and also financial aid for the leasing or purchasing costs on the condition that the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority makes the necessary arrangements to take over the service from the ferry's defunct former operator. It remains to be seen whether such arrangements can be made.
On another carferry front, it appears that the Lake Michigan service of the Ann Arbor Railroad will continue, thanks to the intervention of Michigan governor Milliken. Funds to allow the bankrupt Ann Arbor to continue service will be available under the recently approved Railroad Revitalization Act which will provide $2.2 million for the service effective April 1. In the first year of the five-year plan, Michigan and Wisconsin will contribute a ten percent share of the subsidy but in each of the last four years the two states will contribute a larger share of the cost, their combined contributions reaching thirty percent in the final year. We now wonder whether similar arrangements may be forthcoming to persuade the Grand Trunk and Chesapeake and Ohio to continue their Lake Michigan ferry operations.
There seems to be considerable doubt as to whether the cruise ship WORLD DISCOVERER will return to the Great Lakes in 1976. Her operators had earlier announced that the 1975 season was a financial success and that the ship would return this year, but it seems that the firm handling the arrangements in the U.S. has withdrawn and no longer represents the vessel. If this is the case, then it would seem that other backing will have to be found very quickly should the ship still be brought to the lakes this year. Quite frankly, ye Ed. would tend to question the statement that the 1975 season was a success for the ship. While she was operating at capacity early in the season, she latterly did not appear to have much of a crowd aboard. We observed her on many occasions as she arrived at Toronto or cleared the port and on very few of these occasions were there many people standing at the rail to watch. While this is, of course, not a professional study of the situation, it might be an indication that support for the service was not all it was cracked up to be.
Ever since she was acquired by the Erie Sand Steamship Company in 1973, the steamer J. F. SCHOELLKOPF JR. has looked a bit out of place. For even though she was given the usual Erie orange and black funnel colours, she still operated with a black hull, a hangover from her years with Boland and Cornelius. Readers will, however, be glad to hear that during her current winter lay-up at Erie, Pennsylvania, the SCHOELLKOPF has been given the green hull typical of all other Erie Sand units.
A late-season casualty which we have overlooked in these pages was the Pringle self-unloader PAUL THAYER which ran aground December 11 near Pelee Island in Lake Erie. The Columbia sister-ship WOLVERINE came to the scene to lighter the THAYER's cargo, whereupon the stricken vessel was released and taken to Lorain for repairs at AmShip. Another December casualty was THORNHILL which found the bottom in the St. Mary's River while en route to Toronto with a cargo of grain. Fortunately for the old vessel, two tugs from the Soo were able to refloat her and she continued on her way undamaged.
With this issue we conclude our listings of the various vessels laid up at local lake ports. We hope that these records have proved to be of interest to our readers and we thank those who wrote to pass along the information.
Erie, Pa. NIAGARA
STEWART J. CORT LAKEWOOD J. S. ST.JOHN
JOHNSTOWN LEHIGH J. F. SCHOELLKOPF JR.
CHI-CHEEMAUN MARTHA HINDMAN JUDITH M. PIERSON
PARKER EVANS SIR DENYS LOWSON PIERSON DAUGHTERS
Collingwood Huron. Ohio Buffalo
GYPSUM QUEEN (new) WILLIAM G. MATHER FRANK ARMSTRONG
SENATOR OF CANADA J. B. FORD
L. G. LaDUCA II
The Lower St. Lawrence
We would like to remind members that the book entitled The Lower St. Lawrence, by Ivan S. Brookes of Hamilton, is still available. This 361-page hardcover, which deals in great detail with the history and geography of the lower section of the St. Lawrence River, is a must for the serious ship historian. It is illustrated profusely and mention is made of many accidents and wrecks involving lake vessels.
The book is available at the price of $14.75 from Freshwater Press Inc., Room 463, The Arcade, Cleveland, Ohio 44114, U.S.A. We recommend it heartily.
Ship of the Month No. 55
The Other Wiarton
To many of our readers, the name WIARTON will bring to mind either the small town and port of Ontario's Bruce Peninsula or else the Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. bulk carrier which originally sailed for the "Steel Trust" as THOMAS LYNCH. But let's go back a few years and take a look at an earlier vessel to carry the name WIARTON, a steamer that was once a frequent visitor to the old Welland and St. Lawrence Canals.
This is WIARTON as she appeared in 1924 when sailing for Mathews under the name GLENVEGAN. Young photo taken at Little Rapids Cut.One of the most powerful of the Great Lakes steamship dynasties around the turn of the century was the Duluth brokerage of LaSalle and Wolvin, later known as Augustus and Roy Wolvin. Not only did the two Wolvins manage several smaller lake shipping companies, but in the early years of the century Augustus B. Wolvin was operating the giant fleet of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, and in 1913 Roy Wolvin was deeply involved in the formation of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.
Perhaps one of the best known of the Wolvin operations was the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company which was formed in 1903 to operate a fleet of canallers from the upper lakes to Montreal. That year the firm had ten steamers built, all very nearly identical. Three each were built at Chicago and Wyandotte, while yards at Buffalo and West Superior each turned out two steamers. The ships were very distinctive in appearance and most of them had surprisingly long careers on the lakes. They were known as "The Wolvins" by all who knew of their early years and especially by the men who worked along the Welland Canal.
One of the ten Great Lakes and St. Lawrence vessels was christened JOHN SHARPLES. She was built at West Superior by the Superior Shipbuilding Company as their Hull 507 and was enrolled at Duluth in 1903 as U.S. 77587. She measured 246.7 feet in length, 41.2 feet in the beam and 15.7 feet in depth, while her tonnage was 1614 Gross, 919 Net. She was powered by a triple expansion engine with cylinders of 14", 25" and 42" and a stroke of 30", steam being supplied by two Scotch boilers measuring 11' x 11'.
JOHN SHARPLES was painted in the same rather drab colours as were many lake steamers of her day. Her hull and funnel were black, her cabins white. Along with her sisters, she traded regularly from the ports of the upper lakes down the Welland Canal to Oswego and Ogdensburg and down through the lower canals to Montreal. She very often brought coal back up the lakes. After a few years, management of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company passed from Augustus B. Wolvin to D. Sullivan and Company of Chicago. The operation, however, remained generally the same although as the years passed JOHN SHARPLES and several of her sisters were fitted with small whirly cranes on deck to facilitate the loading and unloading of cargo. It is thought that for a period of time Wolvin and Sullivan may have operated the line jointly.
Late in the fall of 1910, JOHN SHARPLES ran into a spot of bad luck which was to bring a close to her service with Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. She was downbound in Lake Ontario with a cargo of grain when she ran on Galoo Island, a small island located between Prince Edward Point, Ontario, and Stoney Point, New York, and about nine miles from Main Duck Island. Hard aground, she was badly holed aft and the wreck proved quite difficult to salvage. Several attempts to refloat JOHN SHARPLES proved unsuccessful.
But eventually the Reid Wrecking Company of Sarnia and Port Huron managed to haul her off the rocks. The hull was sold to the Charcoal Iron Company of America, Detroit, and after being thoroughly repaired was returned to service in 1916 as (b) CICOA, her name being made up of the initials of the owning company. Her new owners were engaged in the manufacture and distribution of pig iron and to help in the carriage of their products CICOA retained her deck cranes. Her service for Charcoal Iron was, however, destined to be short-lived. Due to the demands of World War I, she was requisitioned for salt water service in 1917 and off she went to the east coast.
CICOA was lucky, though. All nine of her sisters that had remained with Great Lakes and St. Lawrence were sold to the French government in 1916. All went overseas, with the exception of A. D. DAVIDSON and JOHN LAMBERT which were lost in the North Atlantic by enemy action on their delivery trips. CICOA, however, was kept busy on the east coast, operating minus her cranes which had been removed prior to the time she sailed out of the lakes. She remained in east coast service until 1921 which was, strangely enough, the year in which her sisters (the seven that remained) began to drift back to the lakes.
CICOA was purchased in 1921 by the Glen Transportation Company Ltd. and was returned to lake service. The principals of Glen Transportation were Albert Ernest Mathews of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd., Toronto, and James Playfair of the Great Lakes Transportation Company Ltd., Midland. Soon after CICOA was brought back to the lakes, she was renamed (c) GLENVEGAN, having been enrolled as C.150231. Although her name bore the familiar Playfair "Glen" prefix, she was painted in Mathews colours (black hull with white forecastle rail, white cabins, black stack with two silver bands).
This Playfair-Mathews partnership did not last long and in 1925 GLENVEGAN was transferred to the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. and renamed (d) WIARTON. She operated for Mathews in the grain, coal and pulpwood trades on the lakes and the St. Lawrence River until the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. was forced into receivership in February 1931 on the petition of the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. Management of the Mathews vessels was then taken over by the receiver, F. C. Clarkson of Toronto. During 1932 and 1933 WIARTON and a number of the other vessels in the fleet were chartered to Toronto Elevators Ltd. WIARTON did not actually operate in this period but was used from time to time for the storage of grain at Toronto.
Late in 1933 Capt. Robert Scott Misener and the Hon. H. C. Schofield purchased the Mathews vessels and formed Colonial Steamships Ltd., Toronto, to operate the fleet. WIARTON was included in the sale but was sold in 1934 to the Nicholson Transit Company, Detroit. She was returned to U.S. registry as (e) FLEETWOOD (II) and was operated by Nicholson as a scrap carrier. At one stage during her years as a Nicholson boat, she was once again fitted with deck cranes, but she did not have them for long.
She operated for Nicholson until the press for available tonnage during World War II led the U.S. Maritime Commission to requisition the steamer for east coast service in 1942. FLEETWOOD returned to the lakes in 1943 but in 1944 she went back to the coast under charter to the British Ministry of War Transport and the management of Montreal Shipping Ltd. She operated mainly in the coal trade until the conclusion of hostilities. The ship was then laid up and was scrapped about 1946.
Thus ended in the salt water of the Canadian east coast the career of one of the ten Wolvin canallers. She carried her very distinctive profile right through to the day of her scrapping and had not been given any major rebuild with the exception of the addition of a rather high bunker hatch forward of the funnel. In this respect she differed much from Nicholson's FELLOWCRAFT (originally ALBERT M. MARSHALL and BRIGNOGAN) which had been reconstructed to such an extent that she was scarcely recognizable as a "Wolvin".
The Toronto Drydock Company Ltd.
A Short Corporate History and Fleet List
The Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. was incorporated under the Ontario Companies Act in 1917 by the following: C. S. Boone, President (President of the C. S. Boone Dredging and Construction Company Ltd.); John E. Russell, Vice-President and Managing Director (a prominent Toronto vessel owner and operator); Lawrence Solman (Manager of the Toronto Ferry Company Ltd.); John J. Manley (C. S. Boone Dredging and Construction Company Ltd.); and Henry J. Dixon (former operator of the old Shickluna shipyard, St. Catharines). The company was formed to operate a vessel repair yard and located its premises on the south wall of the Keating Channel, a cut situated north of the ship channel and connecting the harbour with the Don River. Keating's Cut, as it is generally known, was created during the course of the Toronto Harbour Ashbridges Bay development.
The Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. started business with a floating drydock about 160 feet long which it acquired in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. In 1920 John E. Russell purchased a drydock in Montreal which had formerly been used as part of the plant established by the United States Emergency Fleet Corporation. This drydock had been used in connection with the joining together of parts of Great Lakes vessels which had been sent through the canals in sections to the seaboard during the war. The sectional dock was towed to Toronto and was linked with the unit purchased in 1917 to form a dock capable of accommodating full-sized canallers.
As time passed, Henry J. Dixon became the principal owner and manager of the yard, assisted by his son Harold who eventually became manager. During the 1940's a subsidiary company, Toronto Towing and Salvage Company Ltd., was formed to take over and operate the tugs which were used in general harbour work, in lake towing and salvage operations, and in the Toronto Island winter ferry service. Some of these tugs were for a time registered as being owned directly by Harold Dixon. The company's tugs were for many years identified as wrecking tugs by the "running horse" insignia which they displayed. As the years went by, the company concentrated more and more on the towing aspect of its business and the drydocking and repair side of the firm received less and less attention. This was due mainly to the decline in the number of small vessels which could be serviced by the drydock or which could be taken into the Keating Channel, a body of water which has the unfortunate habit of silting up rather badly as a result of the great masses of effluent pouring down the Don River.
But over the years countless tugs, barges, ferries and freighters were rebuilt at the yard. Dixon acquired numerous tugs and dredges and scrapped them in the yard, thus building up a supply of spare parts for use in repairing other vessels. Probably the most notable building jobs were the steam tug NED HANLAN (1932) and the 115-foot Island ferries SAM McBRIDE and THOMAS RENNIE constructed in 1939 and 1951 respectively.
The Toronto Drydock Company Ltd., and its subsidiary went into voluntary liquidation in 1964 and in January 1964 the yard and drydock were sold to Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. The operation was soon closed down and all repair facilities were moved to the main repair facility at St. Catharines. The drydock was sold and was taken away, presumably for breaking up. The remaining tugs, all coal-burners, were likewise sold for scrapping, the new owner having no use for them at all. The company's office building and surrounding premises, fronting on Villiers Street, have been taken over by the Toronto Harbour Commission. Fortunately, Mr. Harold Dixon kept quite a collection of interesting marine artifacts, most of them coming from vessels which had been an integral part of the waterfront scene, and the majority of the items from his collection are presently on display at the Marine Museum of Upper Canada.
There follows a listing of the harbour tugs that the Dixons operated over the years. Because of the very nature of their business, the list may not necessarily be complete and we would welcome comments from anyone who may have additional information. We have not included in this listing a rather extensive fleet of small (30-foot) motor workboats which the company used in its later years to supplement the steam tugs.
H. J. DIXON, (a) ABNER C. HARDING, (b) ARKANSAS (50). (U.S.204588, C.190900). Steel harbour tug built 1907 at Chicago for the Great Lakes Towing Company, Cleveland. 74.0 x 20.0 x 11.6, Gross 98, Net 34. Operated mainly at Detroit and Toledo but during World War I ventured as far east as Montreal to assist in handling the requisitioned lakers cut in sections for the eastward canal passage. Acquired 1948 by Harold J. Dixon and the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. and rebuilt 1949 for the general towing and Island winter ferry service. Canadian dimensions 75.9 x 20.0 x 9.6, Gross 100, Net 68. Soon transferred to the subsidiary Toronto Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. Known as one of the best icebreakers on Toronto Bay. Towed to Hamilton 1965 and scrapped at Strathearne Terminals by United Metals Ltd.
EBESS. (C.137926). Wooden tug, originally steam and later converted to diesel, built 1915 at Chatham, New Brunswick. 62.4 x 16.3 x 7.0, Gross 58, Net 17. Owned 1918 by Charles Reinsborrow, Chatham, N.B. Owner in 1924 and 1927 shown as Howard Smith Paper Mills Ltd., Montreal. Prior to World War II owned by J. R. Allard, Cross Point, Quebec. Requisitioned by the Canadian government for war use at Halifax. Sold 1945 by the Minister of Munitions and Supply, Ottawa, to the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. Dismantled at Toronto 1947.
ELSIE DORIS. (C.138184). Wooden tug built 1921 at Midland, Ont. 63.5 x 14.5 x 7.0, Gross 64, Net 22. Built for the Minister of Mines, Province of Ontario. Acquired by H. J. Dixon and the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. in the 1930's. Operated as a harbour tug at Toronto until November 1945 when her boilers and engine were removed. Hull towed out into Lake Ontario and scuttled in deep water.
FRANK W. (U.S. 120839). Steel tug built 1891 at Buffalo by the Union Drydock Company for F. W. Gilchrist, Alpena, Mich. 74.8 x 18.6 x 11.5, Gross 93. Net 46. Later acquired by Drake and Maytham, Buffalo. Absorbed into the fleet of the Great Lakes Towing Company, Cleveland, 1899. Retired as a "G-tug" in 1943 and sold 1948 to H. J. Dixon and the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. She does not appear to have ever been officially registered in Canada. Operated for a few weeks in 1949 but spent the rest of her time at the company dock in the Keating Channel, Toronto. She was partially stripped, apparently with the idea of repowering, but this was never accomplished. Scrapped at the yard during 1955.
A. E. GIBSON, (a) SIR JOHN. (C.133939). Wooden tug. Original date and place of build not shown in register but rebuilt 1902 at Sorel, Quebec. 81.2 x 17.3 x 8.0, Gross 94, Net 41. Owned 1914-1918 by the Minister of Public Works, Ottawa. Purchased early 1920's by H. J. Dixon and the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. During the spring thaw of 1925 she was swept from her Keating Channel dock by ice moving down the Don River. She was carried under the Cherry St. lift bridge which was in the closed position at the time. Her deckhouses were stripped off and the hull severely damaged. Rebuilt by Dixon at Toronto. Owned in 1927 by the Dominion Towing and Salvage Company Ltd., Midland, and in 1940 by Janin and Company Ltd., Montreal. Out of documentation by 1946 but disposition unknown.
H.J.D. No. 1 looked like this on December 10, 1955 while helping HERON BAY (I) under the Cherry Street Bridge, Toronto. Photo by J. H. Bascom.H.J.D. NO. 1, (a) FINGLO (39). (C.152501). Wooden fishtug built 1925 at Port Stanley, Ont. for the Finlay Fish and Storage Company Ltd., Port Stanley. 77.1 x 20.8 x 8.0, Gross 83, Net 29. Acquired by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. 1939. Soon after arriving at Toronto she was badly damaged by fire. Rebuilt as harbour tug, 84.0 x 20.8 x 8.0, Gross 67, Net 33. Remained in harbour service for the Toronto Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. until about 1961. Dismantled at the company yard. Hull scuttled in Lake Ontario in deep water.
H.J.D. NO. 2, (a) INTERNATIONAL (39). (C.173512). Iron tug built 1884 at Cleveland by the Globe Shipbuilding Company. 71.0 x 17.1 x 8.3, Gross 58, Net 22. Built at a cost of $15,000 and fitted with a high pressure engine. Commissioned in June 1884. Originally owned by the International Bridge Company which was controlled by the Grand Trunk Railway Company. The railway owned a bridge across the Niagara River between Fort Erie and Black Rock (Buffalo), the bridge having a draw for vessels passing up and down the river. Due to the strong river current, it was a requirement of the bridge company's charter that the owners provide a free tug service to assist ships passing through the draw. INTERNATIONAL was also ready to help vessels in trouble in the area. Acquired 1939 by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. and was towed to Toronto where she was rebuilt and repowered with diesel engines. She was intended for Dixon's own use in Toronto harbour but was sold soon after commissioning to J. P. Porter and Sons Ltd., Montreal. They in turn sold her to the Minister of War Transport for the United Kingdom. Taken to Alexandria, Egypt, for service as a fire tug during World War II. Final disposition unknown.
HOME RULE. (C.97001). Wooden tug built 1890 at Thorold, Ont. 74.9 x 17.0 x 9.4, Gross 81, Net 45. Owned at one time by James Whalen and the Canadian Towing and Wrecking Company, Port Arthur. Owned 1914 by Miss A. M. Hackett, Amherstburg, Ont., and apparently was a unit of the Hackett family towing business. Owned 1918 by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. By 1920 she was owned by Henry J. Dixon and the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd., although she was not long a Dixon unit. Final disposition unknown.
LUCIA. (C.103969). Wooden tug built 1898 at Sorel, Que. 66.7 x 15.1 x 7.1, Gross 41, Net 28. By 1902 she was owned by Sincennes-McNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal, and stayed in their ownership into the first war. Owned 1918 by Mrs. Thomas Simpson, Montreal. Rebuilt 1918 at Sorel, 59.9 x 15.7 x 6.8, Gross 54, Net l[sic]. Owned 1924 by John E. Russell and Henry J. Dixon and apparently operated for the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. during this period. Owned 1927 by C. S. Boone Dredging and Construction Company Ltd., Toronto, of which several officers were also principals of Toronto Drydock. Final disposition unknown.
TUPPER PORTER, (a) FANNY ARNOLD (41). (C.85322). Wooden tug built 1882 at Owen Sound. 89.0 x 18.0 x 9.0, Gross 73, Net 50. Owned at least during the period 1902-1927 (if not longer) by the Spanish River Company, Spanish River, Ont. By 1940 she had passed to the Burke Towing and Salvage Company Ltd., Midland. Sold 1941 to J. P. Porter and Sons Ltd., Montreal. Acquired 1944 by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. and largely rebuilt at Toronto. Remained active in their service until 1948. Dismantled at Toronto 1949.
PRINCE RAY. (C. 126395). Wooden tug built 1909 at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. 73.6 x 18.8 x 8.2, Gross 72, Net 39. Owned during the period 1914-1918 (and probably longer) by the W. J. Poupore Company Ltd., Montreal. Owned in 1923 and 1924 by Knox Bros., Montreal. By 1927 she was owned by Henry J. Dixon and was operated by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. Sold about 1930. After a prolonged period of lay-up in the Welland Canal at Ramey's Bend, she was salvaged by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. and was brought back to Toronto where the engine and boiler were removed. Hull towed out into Lake Ontario and scuttled in deep water.
SOGENADA and J.C. STEWART (right) are seen in this February 23, 1960 photo by J. H. Bascom. They have just tucked WILLIAM H. DANIELS into the Spadina Street slip at Toronto.SOGENADA. (C.126766). Steel tug built 1909 at Rutherglen, Great Britain. 75.4 x 15.6 x 8.2, Gross 64, Net 6. Owned 1914 by the Minister of Public Works, Ottawa, and remained under this ownership until acquired by the Toronto Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. c.1957. Operated as a harbour tug at Toronto until the dissolution of the company 1965. Scrapped 1965 at Strathearne Terminals, Hamilton, by United Metals Ltd.
J. C. STEWART, (a) J. C. STEWART (18), (b) COL. M. J. McDONOUGH (46). (C.137896, U.S.213259). Steel icebreaking tug built 1915 by Johnston Brothers at Ferrysburg, Mich., for the Canadian Stewart Company Ltd., Toronto. 71.0 x 20.0 x 8.7, Gross 113, Net 30. Originally operated in Toronto harbour. Sold c.1918 to the U.S. government and operated in the service of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, stationed at Buffalo. Acquired November 1946 by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. for use during the winter months under charter to the City of Toronto for the Island ferry service at a daily rental of $230. She had a capacity of 90 passengers. Later transferred to the Toronto Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. Operated on Toronto Bay and in towing duties on Lake Ontario and the Welland Canal until dissolution of the company in 1965. Towed to Hamilton and scrapped 1965 at Strathearne Terminals by United Metals Ltd.
GEORGE A. WALLACE (47), (b) FOUNDATION WALLACE. (C.170511). Steel fire tug built 1916 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for the city of Cleveland. 78.1 x 20.5 x 10.3, Gross 129, Net 66. For some reason she never appeared in the U.S. register of Merchant Vessels. After being laid up for a considerable period of time, she was acquired in the 1930's by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd. and was rebuilt. Sold 1941 to Maritime Towing and Salvage Ltd., Halifax, a subsidiary of the Foundation Company of Canada Ltd. Saw service out of Halifax during World War II. She was back in Toronto in 1947 when Foundation was laying an intake pipe for the new Scarborough waterworks plant. Out of documentation by 1956 but final disposition unknown.
Although the company used a variety of colour schemes for its tugs in the early years, it settled on green hulls and red cabins during the last few years of operation. During this period, stacks were black with two narrow silver bands and a wide red band. An exception to this appeared in the summer of 1957 when J. C. STEWART and H.J.D. NO. 1 were used for the filming of the Canadian television series "Tugboat Annie". Unofficially renamed NARCISSUS and SALAMANDER respectively (although sometimes these names were reversed) for the filming, the two tugs were painted up with white cabins and white funnels with a narrow black smokeband.
There follows a listing of some of the major construction and rebuilding jobs done by the Toronto Drydock Company Ltd., together with some of the vessels dismantled by the firm over the years.
GARGANTUA, wooden tug - "Seafarer" hull completed 1923 for the Lake Superior Paper Company. Dixon had purchased the hull from Cowles Shipyard Company, Buffalo. It had been built for the U.S. government at Marine City but never completed.
G. R. GRAY (II), wooden tug - rebuilt from tug TRAVELLER c.1923 for the Lake Superior Paper Company.
JOYLAND, wooden freighter - refitted 1922 after grounding.
LUCIA, wooden tug - rebuilt c.1924.
LAKESIDE, former passenger steamer - rebuilt 1921 as wrecking tug JOSEPH L. RUSSELL.
HELSEA, steel tug - built 1927. Later owned by New Brunswick International Paper Company, Bathurst, N.B.
ATACAS, steel tug - built 1928. Later owned by Canadian International Paper Company, Montreal.
G. M. BRAZIER, tug - dismantled.
PARKS FOSTER, steel package freighter - refitted 1929 as (b) SUPERIOR forNorthwest Transportation Company Ltd.
PRINCE RAY, wooden tug - dismantled.
NORTHUMBERLAND, steel passenger steamer - rebuild of cabins for Port Dalhousie service.
DALHOUSIE CITY, steel passenger steamer - major bow repairs after the ramming of the pierhead at Port Dalhousie.
LYNN B., steel tug - refitted.
NED HANLAN, steel tug - built for the City of Toronto 1932.
SAM McBRIDE, steel ferry - built for the T.T.C. 1939.
STOIC, steel tug - refitted for Imperial Oil during World War II.
R.C.CO. TUG NO. 4, wooden tug - major replanking job.
C. W. CADWELL, steel sandsucker - refitted 1946.
THOMAS RENNIE, steel ferry - built 1951 for the T.T.C.
IMPERIAL LACHINE, steel tanker - converted to sandsucker NIAGARA 1953-54.
SKIPPER M., wooden tug - dismantled 1954.
SOULANGES, steel tug - rebuilt and dieselized 1955.
FRANK W., steel tug - dismantled 1955.
SIDNEY M., steel sandsucker - dismantled 1960.
T. J. CLARK, composite ferry - dismantled 1961.
Toronto Ferry Company and T.T.C. ferries - refitted and repaired as necessary over the years.
Port Weller Dockings
Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. had a very busy year in 1975 with a steady flow of vessels in and out of the drydock. It appears that 1976 will also be a good one for the yard. The following list of planned dockings is supplied through the courtesy of Bill Bruce.
Vessel In Out Work
WHEAT KING December 1975 April 1, 1976 Lengthening
A. S. GLOSSBRENNER April 5 April 20 Repair & Survey
MONTREALAIS April 21 April 30 Survey
GEORGE HINDMAN May 1 May 15 Survey
QUEDOC May 15 May 22 Prop. Change
PELEE ISLANDER May 15 May 22 Survey (Shelf)
THORNHILL May 23 June 5 Survey
C.C.G.S. LIMNOS June 6 June 11 Survey
METIS June 6 June 11 Survey
PIERSON DAUGHTERS June 12 June 26 Repair
OUTARDE June 27 July 6 Survey
J. N. McWATTERS July 7 July 14 Tailshaft
FERNDALE August 1 August 15 Survey
JOHN E. F. MISENER August 16 August 31 Survey
FRANK A. SHERMAN September 1 September 15 Survey
LAKE WINNIPEG September 16 September 30 Survey
POINTE NOIRE October 16 October 30 Survey
Added to this listing, of course, will be a number of repair jobs that cannot be foreseen.