Charles A. Farrar, of the Georgian Bay town of Meaford, Ontario, first entered the shipping business in 1889 when the small wooden passenger and package freight steamer FAVOURITE was built for him at Meaford. Farrar operated FAVOURITE for five years and then sold her in 1894. For the next decade, he was not involved in the ownership of vessels, although he may well have acted in a managerial capacity for one of the many local shipping concerns.
To operate NEWMOUNT, (b) MEAFORD, Farrar formed the Farrar Transportation Company Ltd. of Collingwood. His principal associates in this venture were Captains F. Scott, F. A. Bassett and G. B. Pearsall, together with W. R. Rowland, G. E. Fair, E. R. Wayland, T. I. Thompson and others. Captains Scott and Bassett served as masters of the company vessels for many years.
The Farrar Transportation Company Ltd. doubled the size of its fleet in 1907 when it took delivery of the steamer COLLINGWOOD which was built for the company by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company Ltd. COLLINGWOOD was not large when compared with the 600-foot bulk carriers which were then becoming the order of the day, but she was large enough for a fleet which does not appear to have had major financial backing of any sort.
During the early part of 1912, the Farrar operation came under the scrutiny of James Playfair of Midland, Ontario. Playfair had only two years previously achieved the merger of several fleets to form Inland Lines Ltd. and, in 1911, he had acquired control of the Northern Navigation Company Ltd. Playfair was seeking to enlarge his shipping empire and turned his eyes on the small Farrar fleet. Nevertheless, Playfair's efforts in this direction met with a singular lack of success and Farrar carried on as before.
The February 1913 issue of "Canadian Railway and Marine World" gave the following report on the company's rather pleasing financial position: "The Farrar Transportation Co., operating the steamers COLLINGWOOD and MEAFORD in the bulk freight trade, has declared a dividend of 10% for the past year with a bonus of 5%. The annual report shows earnings of $173,181 and net profits of $73,338. There is paid-up capital of $250,000."
The fact that the fleet was doing well is reflected in the fact that its Head Office was moved in 1914 from Collingwood to Toronto, where it established its home at 107 Mail Building, the edifice occupied by one of the city's morning newspapers. It should be noted that Charles A. Farrar was apparently no longer associated with the firm by this time. He last appeared on the list of directors in 1909.
In July of 1914, "Canadian Railway and Marine World" reported on the formation at Toronto of a new company which, it was said, would be named Gulf and Lake Navigation Company Ltd. and would acquire an elevator at Kingston and a dock at Oswego, N.Y., as well as the property and operations of the Farrar Transportation Company Ltd. It was suggested that Capt. J. W. Norcross, one of the founders of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. and then its managing director, was involved in this matter together with certain U.S. interests. Norcross immediately denied any involvement in the affair and stated that the new company would have no connection, either direct or indirect, with C.S.L.
Be all this as it may, the whole matter cooled out very quickly and Farrar carried on as in the past. A company named Gulf and Lake Navigation Company Ltd., Montreal, eventually came to be a reality, but not until more than twenty years later and there does not seem to have been any connection between the two. At this late date, we can only guess as to what actually happened back in 1914 and speculate on what might have transpired had it not been made public that the Farrar shareholders had received a very specific offer for their holdings, a fact that those involved would, no doubt, have preferred to keep quiet.
Farrar continued to operate for four more years, but it was a very small concern in a shipping world which, to an increasing extent, was being controlled by the larger companies. Farrar lost its canaller MEAFORD early in 1918 when she fell victim to enemy action on salt water and, on September 10th, 1918, the company finally gave in and sold COLLINGWOOD, its only remaining vessel, to Canada Steamship Lines.
We do not know what colours FAVOURITE carried during the years that she was owned by Charles Farrar. COLLINGWOOD and MEAFORD both had all-black hulls and white cabins. Their stacks were black with a single band, possibly a brownish-yellow or red colour.
COLLINGWOOD, (C.117089). Steel bulk carrier built 1907 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Hull 17. Launched October 5, 1907. 386.0 x 50.0 x 23.0, 4529 Gross, 3480 Net. Triple-expansion engine, 21", 33 1/2", 57" x 42" by Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., 1907. Two single-end Scotch boilers 14' x 12'. Built for Farrar Transportation Co. Ltd., Collingwood. Originally appeared with three masts, all equipped with cargo booms. By 1916, mizzen and all booms removed and new mainmast fitted aft of stack. Drydocked at Collingwood July 6, 1909 for repair of bottom damage suffered in stranding at Michipicoten harbour. Upbound, Capt. F. A. Bassett, with 7,000 tons coal for Fort William, was rammed amidships by GEORGE L. CRAIG on Detroit River near Windsor, August 24, 1909, due to misunderstanding of whistle signals. Sank in 40' water, 100 yards off shore. Underwriters awarded salvage contract to U.S. firm despite lower Canadian bid of $13,800 and Farrar protest. Raised October 2, 1909 and repaired at Detroit. Recommissioned November 9, 1909. Farrar awarded damages of $20,000 in civil litigation following accident.
Downbound with grain for Port Colborne, stranded April 27, 1915 near Corsica Shoal, Lake Erie. Downbound with grain, Fort William for Port McNicoll, Capt. John Ewart, stranded April 23, 1916 in Whitefish Bay due to ice and fog. Released by dredging April 25. Continued in service but later drydocked at Collingwood for repair. Recommissioned November 17, 1916. Carried 8,000 tons iron ore, Allouez to Ashtabula, in July 1917, the first Canadian ship to carry U.S. ore between U.S. ports under revised wartime coasting regulations.
Sold September 10, 1918 to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. Stood by May 1, 1940 and rescued 16 of 17 crew from ARLINGTON which foundered near Superior Shoals, Lake Superior. Converted to 'tween-deck package freighter 1950, 4545 Gross, 3496 Net. Retired from service 1966 and laid up at Kingston, partially stripped. Reactivated 1967 but again retired at close of 1967 season and laid up at Kingston. Sold 1968 to Steel Factors Ltd., Montreal, and resold to Spanish breakers. Towed from Kingston by GRAEME STEWART and JAMES BATTLE, September 17, 1968, and taken to Quebec. Arrived with HAGARTY at Santander, Spain, October 28, 1968, and subsequently dismantled.
FAVOURITE (95), (b) CITY OF PARRY SOUND, (C.95762). Wooden passenger and freight propellor built 1889 at Meaford, Ontario, by Chisholm. 130.0 x 25.0 x 10.0, 491 Gross, 334 Net. Fore-and-aft compound engine, 18" and 36" x 26", by Doty Engine Works, Toronto, 1889. One Scotch boiler 11' x 11'. Built for Charles A. Farrar, Meaford. Sold 1894 to North Shore Navigation Co. Ltd., Collingwood, "The Black Line". When this company merged 1899 with Great Northern Transit Co. Ltd., Collingwood, "The White Line", she became part of newly-formed Northern Navigation Co. of Ontario Ltd., Collingwood. Later in 1899, this company merged with the North West Transportation Co. Ltd., Sarnia, "The Beatty Line", to form Northern Navigation Co. Ltd. Destroyed by fire at town wharf, Collingwood, October 9, 1900.
Allegedly rebuilt at Collingwood by Robert J. Morrill as wooden tug A. F. BOWMAN (C.116385). 76.O x 22.0 x 12.0, 113 Gross, 77 Net. Powered by same machinery as earlier vessel. Documented at Port Arthur, October 24, 1906, by Canadian Towing and Wrecking Co. Ltd., Port Arthur. Transferred January 8, 1929 to Dominion Towing and Wrecking Co. Ltd., later known as United Towing and Wrecking Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Sincennes-McNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. Registry closed May 3, 1941, vessel dismantled.
NEWMOUNT (06), (b) MEAFORD (I), (Br. & C.118615). Steel bulk carrier built 1903 at Wallsend-on-Tyne, England, by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. 248.0 x 42.0 x 20.6, 1889 Gross. Originally built for Montreal Transportation Co. Ltd., Montreal, being somewhat similar to its FAIRMOUNT (I) and WESTMOUNT (I). Returned by M.T.Co. to builder as "unacceptable" and then purchased by Farrar Transportation Co. Ltd., Collingwood. Chartered March 10, 1915 to Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Co. Ltd. and used in coal trade between Sydney, N.S., and Montreal. Returned to lakes Autumn 1915 to assist with movement of 1915 grain harvest. Returned to wartime service on salt water 1916 and later chartered to French government for Mediterranean service. Whilst in Mediterranean on June 12, 1917, en route from Swansea, encountered a German submarine near Sicily and sank it with third shell fired. Dominion Naval Service Dept. awarded her crew a prize of $500 for the feat. Lost by enemy action March 27, 1918 whilst en route Gibraltar to Belfast.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.