Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Canada (Steamboat), C122406, sunk by collision, 12 Jun 1904
Full Text

      Collided With Steam Ship BRETON near Sorel, Que., All But 5 passengers Saved.
      Francis U. Kahle of this city was aboard the doomed vessel CANADA.
      The River Seemed Full of Struggling People.
      Crew Behaved Splendidly, Thus Accounting for Small Loss of Life.
      (By Associated Press)
      Montreal, Que., June 13. - Six miles below Sorel at 2:30 o'clock Sundry morning, the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company's steamer CANADA, bound from Quebec for Montreal, came into collision with the Dominion Coal Company's collier CAFE BRETON. Twenty minutes later the CANADA went to the bottom. At the time of the collision there were 110 people on board and all were rescued except five. Those who perished are: Alfred Thibeaut, ticket agent of the company at Quebec, and his two sons, aged 12 and 15. Purser Bonneterre, of the CANADA A man named Brunet of Sorel. He is missing and it is supposed that he perished.
The collision occurred just as the first signs of dawn were becoming visible. The CAFE BRETON lay at the entrance of the Lake St. Peter channel waiting for daylight so as to find her way through. She was just getting under way when the CANADA, making for Sorel at full speed, came into view.
Just how the collision occurred and who is responsible for it has not yet been determined, for the officers of the CANADA decline to talk, but from the statements given out it would appear that the CAFE BRETON had not got headway enough to answer her rudder and that she swerved across the path of the passenger boat, her bow striking the CANADA just forward of the paddle box on the starboard side and tearing its way half through.
      Then she swung clear and the two steamers came alongside one another. There was no necessity for arousing the sleeping passengers, for the shock of the collision had already done that.
      The CANADA at once began to settle, and as the CAPE BRETON did not appear to be seriously damaged the passengers were hurriedly transferred to that steamer.
In the excitement some of the passengers jumped overboard and were picked up by boats from the CANADA and the CAPE BRETON, but generally those on board were composed, while the discipline shown by the crew was excellent.
Twenty minutes later when the CANADA went down alongside the CAPE BRETON, resting on her side in the mud, all the passengers had been transferred to the CAPE BRETON.
      Thibeault and his two sons occupied a stateroom just above where the bow of the CAPE BRETON entered the CANADA, and it is supposed that they were killed in their berths. The body of the father was recovered later in the day, but those of the sons have not yet been found.
Bonneterre, the Purser, was seen after the collision making his way to his quarters on the lower deck, with the intention of saving his cash and his records, and it is supposed that he perished in the attempt.
      Brunet was a second-class passenger, and no one saw him after the collision, though it is just possible that he went ashore with the crew of one of the boats which was sent to secure help from Sorel.
      This arrived a few minutes after 4 o'clock, the steambarge PREFONTAINE being in the harbor with steam up. She brought the passengers and crew to Sorel and they were brought up to this city in the afternoon on board the company's steamer COLUMBIAN.
      Many of the passengers who occupied staterooms on the upper deck were fortunate enough to save their baggage, but those on the main deck lost theirs. Some of them had but little clothing on, but these were supplied with the necessary garments on arrival at Sorel, so when they arrived in Montreal there was no evidence of the fact that they had just been through a wreck.
      All the passengers speak highly of the efforts made by the captain and the crew of the CANADA to save the lives of the passengers and to their exertions is ascribed the slight loss of life that occurred.
      There was much excitement when the news of the sinking of the steamer became known, first reports placed the loss of life at 100.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, June 13, 1904

The hull of the wrecked steamer CANADA, which went to the bottom of the St. Lawrence River near Ottawa several weeks ago, has been entirely stripped of her upper works by the winds and tides. The hull is still in good condition and will be released to be taken to Sorel and rebuilt.
      Buffalo Evening News
      July 26, 1904
      Paddle wheel steamer CAPE St. FRANCIS.* Official Canadian Number 122406. Built Sorel, Que.,1867. Rebuilt in 1905. Of 2094 tons gross; 1160 tons reg. Home port, Montreal. Owned by Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal. 268.2 x 58.0 x 11.1.
* Formerly [a] CANADA, [b] St. IRENE,
      List of Vessels on Registry Books of the Dominion
      of Canada on the 31st. Day of December, 1920

Item Type
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 5
Remarks: Raised
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Quebec, Canada
    Latitude: 46.03336 Longitude: -73.11585
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Emailwalter@maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.caWWW 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.


Canada (Steamboat), C122406, sunk by collision, 12 Jun 1904