In our May Twentieth Anniversary Issue, we featured as our Ship of the Month No. 165, the famous "Turkey Trail" steamer CARIBOU and, of course, we also made mention of her slightly older and smaller near-sister MANITOU. We were indeed pleased by the very positive response which we received from our readers in respect of this feature. Undoubtedly, much more could be written about these two little steamers which served the ports of the North Channel area for so many years, but we think that we hit the high points of CARIBOU'S career.
We would be grateful for any additional assistance which any of our members might provide. Meanwhile, however, in going through some old newspaper clippings now in the collection of Ron Beaupre, we recently ran across several interesting items concerning CARIBOU and MANITOU, and we are happy to share them with our readers at this time.
The "Toronto Evening Telegram" carried a special report, datelined April 12, 1932, at Midland: "Navigation was opened here last night, the first boat being the passenger steamer MANITOU from Owen Sound for repairs. The MANITOU did not encounter any trouble until within fifteen miles of Midland, when on approaching the Giant's Tomb, she became embedded in a sea of ice and called the (tug) STRATHBOGIE. The STRATHBOGIE, a powerful icebreaker, had no trouble and returned to this port with MANITOU, making the 30-mile run in four hours. Captain Arthur Batten of the MANITOU won the harbourmaster's silk hat."
Why was Capt. Batten in MANITOU, when CARIBOU was his ship for so many years? As senior master in the fleet, Capt. Batten would undoubtedly have been the first captain called back in the spring, and as this sailing of MANITOU would have been the fleet's first trip of the year, he would have taken her. He then would have moved over to CARIBOU for her regular fit-out, and Capt. Norman McCoy would have taken MANITOU when she emerged from the Midland shipyard for her entry into scheduled service.
In our feature, we mentioned the ceremonies held at Manitowaning aboard CARIBOU in 1933 to celebrate 25 years of service of Captains Batten and McCoy. We now find that the "Hamilton Spectator" of Tuesday, May 30, 1933, ran a photo of the two boats side-by-side at Manitowaning, with all of the occasion's celebrants lined up in the foreground on the dock, and featured inset photos of the two skippers. The caption stated: "Veteran Masters of Great Lakes Steamers Honoured. Captain Arthur Batten, of Owen Sound, Ontario, and Captain Norman McCoy, of Manitowaning, Ontario, masters of the sister ships CARIBOU and MANITOU, have passed the quarter-century mark in piloting their twin ships in the upper Great Lakes. These pictures were taken when the two skippers met at Manitowaning to be honoured by the owners of the vessels, fellow officers and representatives from Owen Sound and Manitowaning... Ivor Wagner, vice-president of the Dominion Transportation Company, came from Chicago to make the presentations."
The "Toronto Evening Telegram" carried a report dated at Manitowaning, May 26, 1933. "Masters of the sister ships CARIBOU and MANITOU, neither of which has been in an accident in 25 years - Captains Arthur A. Batten, of Owen Sound, and Norman McCoy, of Manitowaning - yesterday passed the quarter-century mark in piloting their ships on the upper Great Lakes. They were honoured when, for five hours, the MANITOU and CARIBOU lay side-by-side in the harbour here. Owners of the vessels, their fellow-officers and representatives from Owen Sound and Manitowaning made presentations at a banquet in the main cabin of CARIBOU.
"Each captain received from the Dominion Transportation Co. a gold watch and chain. Their fellow-officers presented each with a set of binoculars, and the City of Owen Sound made a gift of a club bag to each of the veteran skippers and former shipmates."
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.