The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 Dec 1903

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p.2 Islanders Had To Wait - Pierrepont went to help New Island Wanderer down the river, and was late in getting back.

Incidents of the Day - James O'Neil, formerly of Richardson's elevator staff, has been appointed captain of the barge Toledo.

Caught In Ice Flow - New Island Wanderer pulled out of ice by Pierrepont at foot of Wolfe Island.

To Erect Marine Railway - R. & O. Navigation company to build one at Sorel.

p.5 Steam Barge In Danger - Trenton, Dec. 21st - It is reported here that there is now and has been for the last two days a steam barge lying near Presque Isle light. She has lost her boat and keeps dragging anchor and has now a black flag at the top of the mast. She is painted black or drab. She may need help if she does not go down.

p.6 Decrease In Traffic - in American canal at Soo, but not on Canadian side.

Dec. 22, 1903


City Council

The Ferry Wharf Question.

In reference to the proposed ferry wharf at the foot of Clarence street, as provided for by the report. Ald. Sears held that the city should be safeguarded as to the use of the proposed wharf, so as to prevent the new ferry steamer being used for excursion business without indemnifying the city, as it was desired to retain the steamer and the wharf for ferry purposes only. Increased ferry facilities would be a benefit to the city.

Ald. McLeod took a similar ground; the city ought to proceed slowly.

Ald. Walkem was opposed to giving exclusive use of such an important piece of property to the township of Wolfe Island. He was opposed to giving the county any considerable privilege; the county did not show the city any consideration.

Ald. Kent objected to Ald. Walkem's remark, regarding the non-benefit of Wolfe Island to Kingston; the whole of Wolfe Island trade comes to Kingston. The speaker favored the proposed new ferry, and of granting the privilege sought by the islanders.

Ald. Abbott pointed out that Wolfe Island was peculiarly situated. For nine months out of twelve, the islanders are isolated and dependent upon a ferry to bring them into touch with the city. All the island business was done in the city. The islanders were unable to enter into negotiations with the present ferry owners, or any other boat owners, for a continuation of a ferry service, hence the necessity of procuring a ferry steamer of their own; the Wolfe Island council was forced by circumstances into procuring a ferry steamer. Two local firms had been prevailed upon not to tender for the furnishing or building of a ferry steamer for the islanders, hence the necessity of the township council being forced to go to Toronto. If Cape Vincent was only open to the township of Wolfe Island, the people of that village would not only build but would maintain a wharf, in return for the island trade. The islanders were willing to come here, but the city tried to compel them to come by one particular channel, which was not just or equitable. It was unfair to place any obstacle in the way of the islanders, who were compelled to do their business here. The islanders did not ask the city to expend a dollar on building the wharf, and they even went so far as to arrange for the dredging the slip to afford a safe and proper landing for their ferry steamer.

Reeve Fawcett, upon being requested addressed the council, rehearsing much of the ground covered by the former speaker. The Wolfe Islanders were not paupers and did not ask anything for nothing. For 21 years the Islanders had been handicapped by the present ferry lessees, but the island could no longer be run by that company. The island trade ought to be worth some consideration by the city. The islanders would not only build their own boat, but would build and maintain the wharf proposed. The city council had promised the Wolfe Islanders a ferry landing and it was presumed the aldermen were men of their word.

G.M. Macdonell held that much traffic to Wolfe Island was deferred by reason of inferior ferry service. It was a well-known fact that the ferry service today is much inferior to that of thirty years ago.

Ald. Behan was of opinion that the city council would and was willing to keep its word. He pointed out a difference in the wording of the report and the provisions of the by-law. He thought it only fair that the islanders should build the wharf and maintain it at their own cost and risk.

Reeve Fawcett said that the islanders were quite agreed to build and maintain the wharf.

Ald. King pointed out that the by-law provided for the islanders building the wharf, which would become the property of the city, after which the city would lease the wharf to the islanders for a sum to be agreed upon.

Ald. Walkem wanted it understood that he was not opposed to granting the Wolfe Islanders the privilege asked for, but not knowing the contents of the proposed by-law, he had wondered how the islanders were going to obtain exclusive use of a public wharf.

The report was finally adopted as presented.



At the council meeting last evening the township of Wolfe Island was given the first favour which it asked from the city. Last year it intimated that it proposed to run a ferry boat on its own account, and the council promised to afford it every facility so far as a landing at the city was concerned.

The boat has been ordered at the Bertram works in Toronto, and, according to contract, it will be completed by June next, when the present ferry lease expires. Hence the appeal to the city council for wharfage accommodation.

The desire is to get as near to the market as possible, and the waterfront at the foot

of Clarence street was selected as the site of a dock. It is proposed by the township of Wolfe Island to build a wharf twenty feet wide and sixty feet long, in line with the east side of Clarence street, and between it and a wharf on the west side, owned by Mr. Swift, there will be a slip about forty-six feet wide. The wharf is to become the property of the city; as soon as it is constructed, and will be given to the township of Wolfe Island council at a nominal rental.

It will be maintained, too, by the township, and a guarantee bond for the sum of $5,000 will be supplied to the city, as protection from suits of any kind, from adjoining property owners and from persons who may be injured by or on it. Should the township at any time go out of the ferry business it will be compensated for the wharf, and to such an extent as may be agreed upon by arrangement or arbitration. Meanwhile it will be used exclusively for ferry purposes, and so permit of that rapid service which is wanted by the islanders in their progress to and from the island.

The by-law permitting of all this received one reading last evening, and was then held pending a further consideration of its details by the city solicitor. The ferry is a venture in municipal ownership which will be watched with interest by the people generally. Heretofore there has been competition in the ferry business, but now it is to be a monopoly by the township. At least the township is committed to the expense of it and will be nerved to work the harder in order to make a success of it.

p.5 Day's Episodes - It is not the steambarge Hinckley that is carrying the Cape Vincent passengers across the United States channel to and from Wolfe Island, but it is Henry Hinckley, who is in charge of piloting the passengers across in ice scows.

p.8 Early Closing of Navigation at Kingston Is Threatened - harbor and river may be frozen over at an early date; Pierrepont and New Island Wanderer having problems getting to Cape Vincent.

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21 Dec 1903
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 Dec 1903