The Toronto Ferry Company was registered as a joint stock company on February 27th, 1890, the object in view being the conveyance to and from the Toronto Island of its summer residents and daily visitors.
In 1890 the company purchased the steamers, hitherto on the same route, owned by the Doty Ferry Company, and two years later they also bought up the vessels belonging to the Island Park Ferry Company.
The various routes pursued by these vessels are: From Yonge street wharf to Hanlan's Point and Island Park; from Brock street wharf to the same places, and also from the wharves at Dufferin and George streets. The service is practically continuous from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day throughout the season, which extends from April to October inclusive, and there is a limited service on Sundays.
The Jessie L. McEdwards is a one deck screw steamer, built in 1876, at St. Catharines, by Melancthon Simpson, of the same place. Her length is 65 feet, and her breadth is nearly 12 feet 6 inches. She has one high pressure engine of 15 horse power, by Doty, of Toronto; has a tonnage of nearly twenty-one and a half tons and is licensed to carry 116 passengers.
The Arlington, also a one deck screw steamer, was built at Harwood, in the township of Hamilton, Northumberland County, in 1878, and re-built by George Dickson in 1880. Her dimensions are almost the same as those of the Jessie L. McEdwards, but her engine is of 25 horse power, and is by William Hamilton, of Peterboro, She is of rather more than 23 tons burthen, and she is licensed for only 100 passengers.
The Luella is a somewhat larger vessel than the two former, though her engine by Doty is of only 24 horse power. She is of nearly 38 tons burthen and carries 122 passengers. She is looked upon as the handsomest boat on the bay, and is a great favorite with the Island residents. The owners of this little vessel may well be proud of her, for she has a "record" for the numbers of people she has saved from drowning. Some years ago the City Council presented her captain with a set of colours as a public recognition of her services in that respect.
The Canadian, unlike any of the preceding vessels, is a two-decked, double-ended pad-die steamer. She was built in 1882 by John Alexander Clindinning, of Toronto. She is 122 feet long and is within a fraction of 19 feet wide. Her one low pressure engine by Inglis & Hunter, of Toronto, is of 130 horse power. Her burthen is 230 tons and she carries 340 passengers.
The Sadie, though carrying a greater number of passengers than the last steamer, namely, 377. is only 112 feet long, but is just over 35 feet wide. She is a double-decked paddle vessel, and was built by James Andrew, of Oakville, in 1885. Her engine, by Doty, of Toronto, is of 50 horse power, and her burthen is 154 tons.
The Kathleen, two-decked screw steamer, built in 1886 by George Dickson, of Toronto, is 84 feet long by 18 feet wide, carries one high pressure engine of 35 horse power by Nagle & Weed, of Buffalo, U. S. A. She takes 200 passengers and is of nearly 110 tons burthen.
The Gertrude, similarly constructed to the last vessel in 1886, by George Clean, at Toronto, is 75 feet in length with a breadth of beam of 16 1/2 feet. Her engine of -------- horse power is by John King, of Oswego She is of nearly 76 tons capacity and accommodates 147 people.
The Mascotte, single-decked screw steamer, was built in Toronto in 1886, by William E. Redway. She is 70 feet long and very nearly 14 feet in width. Her high pressure engine is of 15 horse power, by the John Doty Engine Company, of Toronto. Her burthen is very nearly 49 tons and her license is for 128 passengers.
The Island Queen, a similar vessel to the Mascotte, was built by Joseph Duval at Port Dalhousie. She is 73 feet in length and as nearly as possible 14 feet wide. Her engine, precisely the same as that of the Mascotte, is by Beckett & Co. of Hamilton, She accommodates 148 passengers, and is of 23 1/3 tons capacity.
Both these steamers are lighted throughout by electricity, and when loaded with pleasure-seekers at night present a gay and unique appearance. They are universally considered the finest ferry steamers to be found between Hudson's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. One pleasing thing in connection with them is that almost daily throughout the season hundreds of the inmates of the charitable institutions of the city are provided with free excursions upon them by their proprietors.
The president of the Toronto Ferry Company in 1893 is Mr. E. B. Osler, with Mr. William Hendrie, who is well known in the shipping world, as vice-president. Mr. W. A. Esson is manager, whilst Mr. R. A. Smith is secretary and treasurer.
The company's office and Board room is at 18 King street west, Toronto. There is no better evidence of how well they do what they undertake to do than the "act that no one ever hears anything about them or their affairs.
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This electronic edition is based on the original in the collection of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.