Considerable detail has, however been given to the history of the steamers "Frontenac" and "Ontario" because the latter has hitherto been reported to have been the first to be launched, and the credit of being the first to introduce steam navigation upon Lake Ontario has erroneously been given to the American shipping.
Successive eras of trading on the River tell of strenuous competitions. Sail is overpassed by steam. The new method of propulsion wins for this water route the supremacy of passenger travel, rising to a splendid climax when the application of steam to transportation on land and the introduction of railways brought such decadence to the River that all its steamers but one had disappeared.
The transfer of the second "City of Toronto" and of steamboating investment from the Niagara River to the undeveloped routes of the Upper Lakes leads to a diversion of the narration as bringing the initiation of another era on the Niagara River and explaining how the steamer, which formed its centre, came to be brought to the River service.
Our steamboating coterie had been promised by Mr. Chas. Gildersleeve, General Manager of the Richelieu Ontario Navigation Co., that he would write up the navigation history of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River sections upon which he and his forbears had been foremost leaders. Unfortunately he passed away somewhat suddenly, before being able to do this, and they pressed upon me to produce the Niagara section which had been allotted to myself.
The narration has been completed during the intervals between serious illness and is sent out in fulfilment of a promise, but yet in hope that it may be found acceptable to transportation men and with its local historical notes interesting to the travelling public.
Thanks are given to Mr. J. Ross Robertson, for the reproduction of some cuts of early steamers, and particularly to Mr. Frederick J. Shepard, of the Buffalo Public Library, who has been invaluable in tracing up and confirming data in the United States.
Dr. A. G. Doughty, C.M.G., Archivist of Canada, Mr. Frank Severance, of the Buffalo Historical Society, and Mr. Locke, Public Librarian, Toronto, have been good enough to give much assistance which is warmly acknowledged.BARLOW CUMBERLAND.
Dunain, Port Hope.
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This volume is copyright The Estate of Ivan S. Brookes and is published with permission of the Estate. The originals are deposited in the Special Collections of the Hamilton Public Library.