The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Oct 1899

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p.2 Want The Canal Cleaned Out - The Wolfe Island township council presented a petition to the council at its meeting last night, asking that the members sign the same. The petition is intended for presentation to Hon. J.I. Tarte, minister of public works, and sets forth the need of having the Wolfe Island canal dredged out; that when navigable it was of great benefit; that the said canal should be considered as a link in the international chain between the two countries. All the aldermen signed the petition.



It Is Being Built At Davis Shipyard.

It has only been within the past two or three years that the Rideau route has become generally famous as one of the most beautiful scenic routes of the world. Previous to that time it was looked upon as merely a canal by means of which a continuous waterway was established between Kingston and Ottawa. But the name "canal" is a gross misnomer. There is in truth very little canal when compared with the number of island-dotted lakes and the length of winding, graceful rivers. There is only one steamer plying regularly between the capital and the limestone city - the James Swift. No other passenger boat has disturbed the beautiful waters on the Rideau lakes and river. It has been found that this one vessel is incapable of accommodating the large number of tourists who frequent this now popular route, and so the Rideau lakes navigation company has been formed for the purpose of building and running steamers on the navigable waters of the Rideau. The board of provisional directors consist of three Kingstonians, an Ottawa capitalist and a New York capitalist. The headquarters of the company will be at Kingston. It is intended to build two boats, one this winter and one next. Both vessels would be constructed before navigation opens next spring if it were possible so to do. ( Rideau Queen ?)

A visit to Davis' shipyard will convince anyone that the new company means business. Nearly all the frame work is on hand, and ship carpenters are busy laying it out. Between eight and ten men are engaged on the work. The company has rented Davis' dry dock for the winter and in it the new vessel will be built, thus obviating any possible danger of straining the craft when launching. The dimensions of the boat will be: length over all, 111 1/2 feet, beam twenty-eight feet four inches; depth, seven feet six inches; draft, four feet six inches. The keel will be built of hard maple; the stem, stern, ports, aprons, counter, transoms, etc., of white oak; the frame, clamps and shelf, of tamarack; the bottom, of rock elm; the arches, of pine and tamarack with selected white oak coverings. These will all be fastened in place with screw bolts, with the exceptions of the deadwood and keelson. Over 3,000 of these bolts will be required. It is the intention of the builders to make her the best wooden boat afloat. She will be constructed purposely for the Rideau route, and to fit her for this will have a light draft and length and breadth adjusted to the size of the locks through which she must pass.

As regards machinery the boat will be equipped with a triple expansion engine, of 500 horse power and a water-tube boiler of 700 horse power, sufficient to run the electric plant, etc. There will be about 130 electric lights, besides an adjustable searchlight. The electrical plant will be almost absolutely noiseless, so as not to interfere with the passengers' rest at night.

Modern telegraph signals for the engineer will be put in. The smokestack will have a hydraulic lift to raise and lower it to enable the boat to pass under bridges. This, too, will be a noiseless appliance. Each stateroom will be ventilated by means of a fan, as on the ocean liners. A current of cold air can be brought to circulate through the rooms whenever the occupants desire it. The boiler material has already been shipped from Pennsylvania, and is expected here by the middle of the month. Hard coal will be used, thus preventing all possibility of passengers being inconvenienced by dense smoke.

A great deal of the work of construction has been accomplished. The ribs are ready and in less than a week will be set on the keel. In another week all the frame work will be completed, and everything ready to set the boat up. The new steamer will cost over $30,000, and will have more the appearance of a private yacht than of a passenger boat. No freight will be carried. The recent advances in the cost of iron means an increase of about $2,000 in the cost of construction. The new craft, for which a crew has not yet been chosen, will be ready for work by the first of May.

Had a summer hotel been erected on the water front of the city the new boat would have landed and embarked her passengers at its wharf. The company will also construct two large hotels along the Rideau. One will be built next season on Big Rideau Lake, and the other the following summer at Jones' Falls. In proportion to the extent to which the Rideau route is known, Kingston will also be known and benefited. The company deserves credit for its energy and pluck in establishing a daily passenger service on the Rideau route, and will no doubt meet with the large patronage it so richly deserves.


The schooner Glad Tidings cleared today for Clayton with lumber.

The steamers of the Ogdensburg transit company will be sold on October 28th.

The tug Active cleared last evening for Montreal with four grain-laden barges.

The tug Thomson arrived last night from Charlotte with two barges, coal laden.

The schooners Echo and Madcap, from bay ports, unloaded cargoes of wheat and rye at Richardsons' elevator today.

The steamer North King will make her last trip to Rochester next Sunday, and will arrive back here on the following day.

The sloop Ripple, South Lake, came into port this morning with a cargo of fresh fish which will be shipped to New York.

High prices are offered for coal cargoes from Cleveland to Ogdensburg. Vessel men are holding back for still higher rates.

Gave Up the Idea.

Brockville capitalists recently approached R. Davis & Sons, shipbuilders of this city, with a view of having constructed another steamer similar to the Brockville. On account of the great advance in the price of building material the company did not think it advisable to go on with the boat. The Rideau Lakes navigation company, of Kingston, intended to have constructed their new steamer of steel, but the cost of that commodity was too great to entertain such an idea. It is thought that the unusual exorbitant prices of iron and steel will not obtain for long.

p.6 A Claim For Commission - A writ has been issued by Messrs. Walkem & Walkem, on behalf of Capt. T.J. Craig, of this city, against the Cornwall & Montreal navigation company for $500. The plaintiff claims this amount as commission promised him by the defendants for being instrumental in selling the steamer Rocket to a western firm.

Incidents of the Day - The steamer James Swift will be kept on the Rideau route until November 10th. Freight traffic and local travel warrants it.

The steamer Hamilton from Hamilton arrived at Swift's wharf this afternoon.

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10 Oct 1899
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Oct 1899