Recorded elsewhere in this issue is the sale of the steamer VICTORIOUS by Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. of Toronto, for use as part of a breakwater in Lake Ontario off Exhibition Park. This ship, long a familiar visitor to Toronto Harbour is, at the tine of her retirement, the oldest operative Canadian upper lake bulk carrier.
Built as VICTORY in 1895 at Chicago as Hull 14 of the Chicago Shipbuilding Co., she entered the service of the Interlake Company, Cleveland. She was then 387.5 feet in length, 48.3 in breadth and 22.5 in depth, with tonnage of 3775 gross, 3340 net, and was powered by triple expansion engines.
Her early history was closely tied to that of the schooner-rigged 379 foot steel barge CONSTITUTION, an 1897 product of the American Steel Barge Co., West Superior, Wisconsin. The two ships became one of the most famous steamer and barge combinations on the Lakes. In fact, so closely linked were they that, when their owners found them too small for their requirements, each ship was lengthened by 72 feet, the VICTORY becoming 459.5 feet long and showing tonnages of 4527 gross, 3707 net. The job was done in 1905 at Superior, Wis., and the sane year the pair made history when, on November 25, the barge broke loose from her towing steamer in a vicious storm on Lake Superior while off the Keewenaw Point. VICTORY could not locate her wandering consort in the heavy blizzard conditions and was forced to give up the search and proceed on her own way to safety. Some considerable time later, CONSTITUTION was found, helpless but unharmed, by the wooden freighter C. W. MOORE.
The Interlake Co. was merged into the newly-formed Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, in 1913 but Pickands Mather & Co., continued as operating managers. VICTORY had been reboilered in 1912 but remained the usual companion to CONSTITUTION until 1926 when the latter was converted for use as a self-unloader after being sold to the Pringle Barge Line. This concern later became a subsidiary of the Oglebay Norton Co., Cleveland, but the barge remained in service, mainly on the Toledo to Detroit coal run until the end of the 1965 season. She was scrapped 1967-68 at Humberstone, Ontario.
VICTORY was also considerably rebuilt and modernized in 1926 but remained a conventional bulk carrier in the Interlake fleet until her sale in 1940 to Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co., Toronto, which later became known as Upper Lakes Shipping. It was at the time of her sale that the name was altered to VICTORIOUS.
She saw regular service for these owners, usually in the grain trade until she arrived at Toronto on Friday, December 6, 1968 with a winter storage cargo at the end of what would appear to be her last voyage.
VICTORIOUS was always a good-looking ship but, in latter years, her appearance was somewhat unbalanced by a stack that was decidedly too short. This condition was changed, but not remedied, by the 1966 extension of the stack "liner" far above the top of the funnel. Her profile, however, was most distinctive and easy to identify at a distance.
Although probably unrecognizable in her new role, it appears that VICTORIOUS, in keeping with her name, may escape the wrecker's torch and end her days in a useful function in her home port of almost thirty years.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.