The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 5 Aug 1908

Full Text

p.1 Latest News - A steel screw steamer, named Kinmount, intended for service on the Canadian lakes, was launched at Dumbarton on the Clyde, on Monday.



For Carrying Grain From Fort William.

H.W. Richardson, the head of the grain firm of James Richardson & Sons, was shown the charges made in a recent issue of the Montreal Herald which alleged that a grain combine was working against the interest of Canada and Montreal, and connecting with it charges made against the Dominion Marine Association of fixing arbitrary rates, and was asked his opinion. Mr. Richardson at once became retrospective and recalled the formation of the association, years ago, with the object of protecting Canadian marine.

"At that time," said Mr. Richardson, "the Canadian marine was small in character, the number of steamers owned by Canadians were very few, and the grain that arrived by these steamers, at Montreal, amounted to very little.

"There were tolls on the Welland canal of about three-eighths cent per bushel. This had the effect of stopping grain at Buffalo or the Georgian Bay ports, and the association was formed to encourage Canadians to build ships for the great lakes, to get the government to take the tolls off the Welland, also to get the government to modify and change a great many of the restrictions that were imposed on the association.

"The government listened to its request, and granted about all it was asked for. Since then the Canadian marine has grown steadily. Today there is probably four times the tonnage that there was, when organization occurred, showing that the association certainly was for the interest of the marine of Canada. No doubt, taking off the tolls from the St. Lawrence canal had a good deal to do with the increased tonnage that came through to Montreal.

"The first paragraph in the Herald's article," went on Mr. Richardson, "questioned if three and a half cents per bushel to Montreal in 1900 were profitable, why should they have paid seven cents in succeeding years? The fact is, three and a half cents per bushel to Montreal is not a profitable rate. No one would think of building ships to carry grain to Montreal at three and a half cents from Fort William and carrying a maximum cargo of 75,000 bushels. If the canal were deepened and enlarged as it should be to deep water draught, to allow steamers to come through that carry 350,000 to 400,000 bushels, then the rate to Montreal would never likely be over three and a half cents per bushel and it would not be possible to advance the rate to seven cents per bushel, or to eight and a half cents, which has been paid in exceptional cases.

"In regard to grain going to Buffalo," said the shipper, "a great deal goes in December, or very late in November, when the port of Montreal is closed, and when the Georgian Bay elevators are full, when the Canadian tonnage is all taken up (to put ?) winter grain in, for many steamers carry their cargoes alongside the Georgian Bay elevators, until well on in the spring, acting as warehouses. It would not pay Georgian Bay to build elevators that would accommodate this grain for the few weeks that it would be in store. Then there comes in a lot of American tonnage that carries iron ore during the summer season and on late into the fall, until the ore chutes freeze up. This tonnage comes on the market at the end of the season and takes whatever rate is offered, consequently a large quantity of the grain shipped during the last week in November and the first ten or twelve days in December goes to Buffalo and is held there by these steamers free of any storage charge or any heavy burden of fire insurance. Freight is taken for it from the ports of New York or Boston, and it is shipped out during the winter months.

"Regarding shipping grain to Buffalo during the summer months, the steamer that goes to Buffalo takes a cargo of coal back from Lake Erie, and if she went to Tiflin or Depot Harbor, or any of the Georgian Bay ports, would necessitate her either going back light to Fort William, or going down to Lake Erie light to get this cargo of coal, therefore, it is not unreasonable to suppose that a steamer would carry cheaper to Buffalo than she would to the Bay ports.

"The rate to Montreal made by the boats is generally based on the Georgian Bay rate plus the railroad rate, or, in other words, the steamers figure on getting as much to Montreal, for the through trip, via the St. Lawrence, as the grain would cost the shipper if he placed the grain in Georgian Bay ports and shipped by rail.

"There is no doubt but at times the rate has been modified by the railroads, owing to the Canadian steamers being willing to carry for less than the Georgian Bay rate, and (unreadable) and East rail rate. A year ago this spring, I think, the rate was reduced by the railroads owing to this competition, and quite a savings made on the shipping of grain to Montreal.

"You will notice from the above that a lot of grain that goes to Buffalo is for winter storage. Why? Because New York is one of the best shipping points on the continent. There are more ports available from New York than from any other port that shippers use for exporting and, in consequence, the shipper has more opportunities for selling his grain in Europe, by having it in Buffalo than he would by having it at Georgian Bay ports.

"The western trade is growing and will increase very fast, in the years to come. The Canadian marine should grow with it, but this will only be possible by the deepening and enlarging of the Welland canal, the quickest, most direct and the cheapest way today on this continent, for taking the produce of the west to the ports of Europe.

"This not only applies to Canadian grain, but applies to American grain as well, and when this canal is deepened and enlarged so that the big steamer of the upper lakes can proceed on her voyage and discharge her cargo at the foot of Lake Ontario, or anywhere above the rapids of the St. Lawrence, the port of Montreal will receive the great portion of the summer traffic that now goes to Buffalo, not only Canadian grain, but American grain as well.

"The Georgian Bay canal route will never take the place of this route. The time transporting the grain will be greater; the difficulties in canaling will be greater and then there is no up-cargo for the large steamer even providing she gets to Montreal. She will have to leave the Georgian Bay entrance of the canal and proceed through Lake Huron down to Lake Erie to load a cargo of coal to make an upfreight, but coming through the great lakes and discharging her cargo at Kingston or Prescott, she takes her up-freight on her way back, and will save at least three days, a fair profit alone on the trip.

"Montreal is improving its facilities for handling grain from the lakes," concludes Mr. Richardson. "Its transfer elevators are getting now so that cargoes can be moved without the floating charges that have been so burdensome in the past, and when the port gets equipped so that this grain will be transferred from lake steamers into the elevator, and from the elevator to the ocean steamers, without any extra lighterage charge, it will do more than anything in the past has done to facilitate the trade of the port."


Owing to heavy rain and a high sea the steamer Donnelly was unable to stay with the steamer Columbia, which went ashore at Ten Acre Shoal yesterday, and after taking about 7,000 bushels of grain out of the vessel returned to the city at nine o'clock this morning.

Capt. John Donnelly stated that the vessel was in good shape, and was not taking any water. The steamer Donnelly will go out to the scene later in the day. It is expected that the vessel will be released without any serious damage.

The steamer Donnelly, with the barge Grantham, left for the scene early yesterday afternoon, and fine weather favored the work up till midnight, when the rain came down in torrents. Work was continued, however, but about four o'clock this morning the sea was so high that it was found impossible to go in.

p.5 Pith of the News - The S.S. Huronic beat the Assiniboia from Port Arthur to the Soo.

The tug Rescue, built in the Rathbun company's shipyards, Deseronto, ten years ago, operating on the Bay of Quinte, has been sold to Capt. J.B. McLean, of Sault Ste. Marie, for $4,800.


A.A. Wright, president of the Dominion Marine association, answers the Montreal Herald's charges that that body is an illegal combine in increasing freight rates against Montreal. He says the association has nothing to do with rates, its business is to secure aids to navigation. However, vessel owners, members of the association, have agreed on minimum rates for carrying grain from time to time, and in doing so have always endeavored to see that this minimum rate from the head of Lake Superior to Montreal was lower than to any other ocean port. This has been well done. There were no penalties of any kind for carrying grain at less than minimum rates.

This season, owing to scarcity of business for United States vessels, they made a rate of 3 1/2 cents, Duluth to Montreal, by a line of boats reputed to have never paid a dividend, and Canadian owners to guard against any diversion of traffic from Port Arthur and Fort William to Duluth, at once agreed to meet this rate or any other rate they made. Hence the rate of 3 1/2 cents, which any one conversant with the business knows is not profitable and never will be. It is only a good ballast rate for boats which get enough package freight back to pay.

The president repeats what Mr. Richardson says, that wheat going to Buffalo - some 11,000,000 bushels - went there after Montreal ocean shipping closed, and was exported via New York.

Canadian vessel owners will welcome an investigation into this whole grain carrying question, as they may then get an answer to the following questions which are serious ones to them:

1 - How is a lake vessel going to carry grain to a Georgian Bay port at one and a half cents per bushel in view of the following facts?: Two days running light for cargo, three days loading (sometimes less, often more), three days running down and unloading (often longer), eight days at actual cost in cash $125 per day, $1,000; shovelling and trimming, $3.70 per thousand bushels, $370; average shortage on a 100,000 bushel cargo, $200; 100,000 bushels at 1 1/2 cents per bushel, $1,500; net loss exclusive of depreciation or dividend to shareholders, $70.

Or how can she carry to Montreal at a profit in view of these facts?: Average time to make a round trip from Fort William to Montreal, returning light, say twenty days, at $125 per day, $2,500; average shortage on 60,000 bushels, say $400; trimming and shovelling, say $2.70, total $162; terminal charges in Montreal, one-half cent, $300; total $3,062. Sixty thousand bushels at 3 1/2 cents, $2,100. Loss on grain which has to be borne by vessel, if it cannot get return cargo, and in case of return cargo add a week for loading and unloading, $962.

2 - Why should a vessel owner be expected to carry grain at .93 cents net as above (1.5 less .570), when it costs a vessel owner one cent per bushel to take grain out of a lake steamer through a Montreal elevator and put on board an ocean steamer when floatage is charged?

3 - Why should a lake vessel pay fifty to seventy cents per thousand bushels for trimming when no trimming is needed or performed?

4 - Why should a lake steamer make good errors in weighing between loading and unloading elevators instead of the shipper?

5 - Why should ocean rates out of Montreal vary from one and a half cents to six cents per bushel without objection, but if lake rates vary one half to one cent there is a howl about a combine or trust?

6 - Why should a lake steamer have to go to anywhere from five to ten elevators to gather up a 100,000 bushel cargo, instead of the shipper getting his cargo together at one, or, at most two elevators, where she could vessel owner, as according to the takes days in many cases? (sic)

I think that the foregoing shows that the Canadian vessel owner is not only willing but anxious to have this question gone into thoroughly, and it can be shown clearly that no one has done as much for Montreal as that much maligned individual, "the Canadian vessel owner," as according to the New York press, he has at present given Montreal an advantage of four cents per bushel over New York, and certainly he should not be grudged the half cent which seems to be the extent of the grievance of the "gentleman in a high position in the transportation world" against the boats carrying to Georgian Bay.

p.8 Presented the Prizes - An Evening at the KingstonYacht Club - Bruce Carruthers trophy won by yacht Kathleen; annual Labor Day cruising race will be to foot of Wolfe Island; nearly all the Kingston boats will go to Chaumont Bay for races on 14th and 15th.


The schooner Kitchen is loading feldspar at Richardsons'.

The steamer Plummer called at the government dry dock yesterday, on her way west.

Swift's: steamer North King down and up today; steamer Aletha from bay points; steamer Rideau Queen for Ottawa this morning.

The dredge Sir Richard and tug Trudeau are still busy at the Canadian Locomotive Works slip. The slip will be dredged out deep enough to accommodate any of the large steamers coming to this port with coal or freight.

M.T. Co.'s wharf: The steamer Rosemount and barges Ungava and Hamilton cleared for Fort William; the tug Emerson cleared for Montreal with two grain barges and one coal barge; the tug Glide cleared for Montreal with two grain barges; the tug Bronson will arrive tonight with three barges, from Montreal.

When, oh when will the city council instruct the harbor master to do his duty and compel the owners to remove the old, sunken hulks out of waters below Cataraqui bridge? Such derelicts are a daily disgrace to the city, and an official's civic pride, to say nothing of his duty, should prompt him to act.

Busy Day For Court - hotelmen summoned for liquor charges, as were William Bloomfield, captain of the steamer Caspian, one charge; John Jarrells, captain of the steamer North King, one charge; and Robert Carnegie, captain of the steamer America, two charges.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
5 Aug 1908
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
Creative Commons licence:
pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

British Whig (Kingston, ON), 5 Aug 1908