The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 Dec 1908

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A Modern Repair Plant Is Needed.

The question of the advisability of leasing the government dry dock to a company that will establish a first class repair shop in connection with it, is again discussed in marine circles. Some time ago, the Collingwood Shipbuilding Co., which operates a dock at Collingwood and receives a fat government bonus for so doing, made advances to secure the lease of the Kingston dock, to operate it in conjunction with a local company. It is well known that big vessels needing repairs, very often pass Kingston by, because of the lack of a fully equipped repair plant in connection with the dock. Vessels nowadays must have repairs rushed with great rapidity, and it takes a good plan to do this. Ordinary jobs can be handled all right, but the big ones can not.

Whether the government would lease the dock is not known. Strong objections would be made to that procedure by various marine companies and small vessel owners who can at present lease the dock and do their own repairs.

Marine men claim that the proper thing to do is for the government to establish a plant itself and lease it, or bonus a company to establish a proper plant. The latter would be the better method. There are several local parties who would like to have the privilege of establishing a plant on the dry dock property, if a bonus was given.

At present the steamer Bickerdike is in the dock receiving extensive repairs, which are being rushed ahead pretty well, so as to get the steamer out of the dock by the first of the year. An excellent job is being done on the vessel by local firms, the captain says.


The steamer Kinmount arrived in the city this morning from Fort William, on the way to Prescott, with 70,000 bushels of grain.

The Kinmount was the last boat to come through the Welland Canal, the canal now being closed for the season. There is no ice in the canal, and marine men say that if it were necessary, it could very easily be kept open for another month. Altogether about three million bushels of wheat have gone through the Welland canal since the wheat was cut, said to be the biggest year in Canada's history.

Portsmouth Council - .....It was decided to lay a petition before Hon. William Harty asking the dominion government to make a grant for improvements to the long pier at Portsmouth.



Returns To His Home - Lost All His Belongings.

William S. McDonald, second mate on the ill-fated steamer North Star, that went down in Lake Huron the end of November, was in the city on Tuesday night, on his way to Stella. Mr. McDonald looks hale and hearty and does not appear to be any the worse for his exciting experience. The steamer North Star was running up Lake Huron at the time of the accident. A heavy fog had overhung the lake the night before and towards morning it became very thick. Mr. McDonald's watch were off duty after midnight and were in their berths, taking their well earned rest, when the collision occurred.

The mate stated that at half past five o'clock the collision came, and thirty-five minutes after the steamer was at the bottom of the lake. She collided with her sister ship, the Northern Queen, the latter coming off without very serious damage. Immediately after the collision the steamer began to go down and by the time Mr. McDonald arrived on deck the first boats had left the steamer with part of the crew, and he quickly followed with the men of his watch. Every one got off the steamer, but lost nearly every thing they had. Mr. McDonald lost his papers and had to wait in Buffalo some time to secure new ones. He is a young man and this was his first experience in a collision on the lakes.


Marine Notes.

Capt. Chamberlain Irwin, ill in the marine hospital at Fort William, is reported to be some better.

Capt. Telfer, of the steamer Fairmount, arrived in the city from Collingwood, to wind up his business for the season.

Capt. A.D. Muir, of the steamer Rosemount, has settled up his work for the season, and will leave tonight, for his home in the old country.

The steamer Kinmount, which arrived today, grain-laden from Fort William, on the way to Prescott, was drawing seventeen feet of water, and there was some talk of having the vessel lighter here, it being feared that she might meet with trouble down river. The vessel cleared, however, with pilot, Capt. James Murray. It was the intention to make Clayton, remain there over night, and then make the remainder of the trip at daylight.


Commander Spain Familiar With Mr. Polson.

Ottawa, Dec. 16th - The marine department enquiry was resumed here this morning, before Judge Cassels, and quite an array of counsel. Commander Spain was the first witness. He said he looked over the specifications for government ships built by the Polson works, Toronto, and acknowledged receiving $500 in the summer of 1904. He had paid it back to Mr. Polson. While in British Columbia he had drawn on Mr. Polson at the Bank of Montreal for that amount. He had got the money for Mr. Polson's purposes to buy property at Fort Simpson which was to be the G.T.P. terminus then. He admitted being on very intimate terms with Mr. Polson.

The treasurer of the Polson iron works, W.B. Tindall, was examined on the building of the Vigilant. The price was $124,400, and he could not say if tenders were asked. The figure was for a boat built on a different line to the original specifications. Mr. Watson, K.C., showed a letter from the Bertram engine works, stating that the vessel, or one of that kind could be built for $86,000, but Mr. Tindall did not know nothing about that.

There were two cheques, amounting to $44,000 charged up to cash on Polson books in October, 1904 upon which witness could not through any light. Mr. Tindall did not know where the money went. It was paid to Mr. Polson himself. J.E. Jeffrey, secretary of the company, did not know any more. J.B. Miller, president, said he looked after the business in a general way, but had other interests and could not assist the commission of enquiry with any facts.

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16 Dec 1908
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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), 16 Dec 1908