The Lake Ontario passenger steamer CAYUGA was featured in our May 1986 issue and in October we did a follow-up concerning her latter-day shaft problems, as well as her storied race with TURBINIA. We suggested that the race must have occurred in 1908 because "it was that year that the Turbine Steamship Company put TURBINIA on the Niagara run to compete with CAYUGA". We drew that conclusion after reading Barlow Cumberland (one of the founders of the Niagara Navigation Company) in his book A Century of Sail and Steam on the Niagara River, which was published shortly after his death in 1913.
We now have reason to doubt Cumberland's dates, for we find that on May 20, 1907, the Turbine Steamship Company announced that TURBINIA would not run two Hamilton-Toronto trips each day and a Saturday trip to Charlotte, but rather would sail each morning from Hamilton to Toronto, then make two trips to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lewiston, returning to Hamilton in the evening. It would seem natural that TURBINIA would hope to show up the newly-commissioned CAYUGA. That TURBINIA did not run to Niagara in 1908 is confirmed by a report that, at the annual meeting of the Turbine Steamship Company on February 8, 1908, it was decided that TURBINIA would confine herself to two Hamilton-Toronto round trips per day. So the race must have occurred in 1907...
Moving on to our November feature, MODJESKA, it has been brought to our attention that we hinted at it but did not come right out and say when MODJESKA was built. We have reread the feature, and we did indeed omit the building date! For those who have been on tenterhooks ever since, MODJESKA really was built in 1889...
While on the subject of MODJESKA and TURBINIA, we all recall that, from 1909 until 1911, the Hamilton Steamboat Company and Turbine Steamship Company were both owned by the Eatons, who even then operated large department stores in Hamilton and Toronto. It seems that, as an added incentive to get people to ride the boats, merchandise discounts were allowed to passengers who rode the boats one way, shopped at the store and showed their boat ticket stub, and then returned home by steamer. Too bad we can't work that deal today!
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.