The success of a harbour depends on the waterway on which it is located and on the availability of land transport. The wharves and wharfingers together with the vessels and their owners control the tonnage of goods that are handled through a harbour. The adjacent commercial and industrial enterprises provide the demand for cargoes.
In the 1780's George Stuart and Charles Depew paddled canoes from the Niagara River to the inlets along the shore of what is now Hamilton Harbour. They sought and laid claim to land that is now occupied by Stelco Inc. and the International Harvester Co. Ltd in the south-central section of the Harbour.
During the intervening years, many cargoes of food-stuffs, settlers' effects, lumber, staves, coal, sand, oil and iron ore passed through the Harbour. They were carried through rivers, canals and lakes making up the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes Waterway, in vessels whose size and capacity was governed by the available depths in the channels and by the dimensions of the canal locks.
Details of the cargoes, vessels wharves, canals, channels, and other harbours that existed in this span of time are described vividly herein. Interesting stories of the men and companies involved with the shipping trade, and of events that happened are interspersed throughout this history. The complex commercial, industrial and transportation factors that promoted [page 2] Hamilton and its harbour traffic are included to complete the picture of the years.
This fascinating collection of descriptions of yesteryears activities is full of nostalgia and human interest. The ingenuity of our forefathers is emphasized throughout and is credited as the basic reason for the writing of the History of HAMILTON HARBOUR.
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This volume is copyright The Estate of Ivan S. Brookes and is published with permission of the Estate. The originals are deposited in the Special Collections of the Hamilton Public Library.