There she sits in all her splendour, her paint a bit faded now but still a cut above the other ships nearby. Her black hull with its bright orange boot-top and red-and-white trunk still looks sound. Big she's not, but beautiful she surely is as she presses her bow up tight against the bridge, lifting her head up majestically as if she really were getting ready to do battle once again with the stormy lakes. As if.......
She sailed as JOHN IRWIN until 1940, was known as CYCLO-BRAVE until 1947, and then took her present name which, incidentally, is not spelled with the hyphen in the registers, but which is hyphenated on the bow and stern of the ship. She has always been kept in immaculate condition and by now must have more paint on her than any other ship her age. Normally used in lake service, the BRAVE has spent the last two years operating on the St. Lawrence River. During the summer of 1974 she lost almost a month of service due to boiler problems.
TEXACO-BRAVE arrived at Toronto on November 11 and did not let down steam until December 20, a fact that led us to speculate in our last issue that she had received a mechanical refit. Not only didn't we get on base with that guess, we didn't even hit the ball! Seems that Texaco was simply waiting to see if a deal could be closed on a new boat before a decision was made on the future of the BRAVE.
Now Texaco Canada Ltd. has purchased a 2,901-ton, 48,000 bbl.-capacity British tanker which was built in 1970 for Thun Tankers Ltd. and given the unlikely name of THUNTANK 6. In 1972 she was sold to Thames Tankers Ltd. and rechristened with the equally unlikely name of ANTERIORITY. She will make her appearance on the lakes in 1975 under the name of TEXACO-WARRIOR (II). Meanwhile, scrap bids have been called for TEXACO-BRAVE.
Why do we write this sentimental tripe about the demise of just another superannuated and outmoded ship? Well, we just happen to think that the disappearance of the last example of a particular class of vessel is worthy of special mention. And that is exactly what the BRAVE is - the last operating steam canal tanker on the lakes (excluding the converted CAPE and COVE TRANSPORT). The last of a beautiful breed that was once so common.
She'll never pass this way again and never more will we hear her deep steam whistle echoing across the stillness of a hot August night on Toronto Bay. But for just a little while longer, she'll rest in her spot by the bridge, showing off her lines for all to see, even if most who pass don't care.
So do her honour of going down to the Cherry Street bridge over Toronto's Ship Channel. Sure, take your camera along, but just stand there on the bridge for a minute and think about what you're seeing. And take your hat off, buster, 'cause you're watching the passing of a lady.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.