Port Britain is situated in the centre of the Township of Hope, in the County of Durham, about sixty miles to the eastward of Toronto, four miles west of Port Hope, and nearly opposite the City of Rochester.
The great advantages to be derived from this Harbour, will arise from the splendid anchorage afforded by a blue clay bottom, entirely free of boulders, which is not to be attained to the eastward of this port, and which under any extremity will form a safe and secure refuge for all vessels navigating the Lake, protected as it is by the bluff both to the eastern and western limits of the harbour, and will thus form a shelter for any vessel, in the almost impossible event of her inability to obtain the shelter of the piers or harbour itself.
The Inner Harbour will be formed by the natural basin, having an area of about 15 acres, with 12 feet depth of water; and the Outer Harbour will be formed by piers extending about 700 feet from the shore into the Lake, 300 feet apart at the entrance, with 14 feet depth of water, enclosing a surface of six acres, and thus available to vessels of any draught navigating the Lakes. There will also be lights on both pier ends.
The progress of these works has been so rapid, that the outer harbour will be accessible to vessels by the middle of June, and I am informed that a portion of the inner harbour will be completed so as to afford every accommodation to shipping for the fall trade.
It is not, however, the intention of the Company to complete the whole of the inner harbour immediately, their principal object being to ensure a secure Harbour of Refuge, extensive enough to meet the present exigencies of commerce, leaving the completion of the work, until such time as the rapidly increasing trade of the country may require.
"I first directed my attention to the anchoring ground, both outside and within the intended basin, good holding ground being essential to a harbour of refuge, and without which no place can be safely used as a trading port. This condition of a good harbour I found fulfilled more satisfactorily than I anticipated.
* * * The bottom, both outside and within, as it will be when cleaned out to a depth of about fifteen feet, is a clay, and as far as I could ascertain, free from boulders, making the best holding ground possible. The construction of the harbour, as shewn by the plans, I consider preferable to any of the artificial ports which I have seen; being not only more safe, but much larger than any other on that part of the coast of Lake Ontario. Opening wide east and west within, it allows the entrance between the piers extending south into the Lake to be made more direct and wider than would otherwise be safe; and again, the piers protecting this entrance, diverging from each other as they approach the inner harbour, give the wave rolling in, room to spread, and thereby lessen its force.
For all commercial purposes, it possesses the great advantage of ample room for wharves, stores, ship-yards, or lumber-yards, with the GRAND TRUNK RAILROAD running along its entire length, and accessible at all points.
The whole is surrounded by an amphitheatre of rising ground, at such a distance as to allow the freest circulation of air, and at the same time afford sufficient protection from westerly, northerly, and easterly winds."
Return to Home Portelectronic edition is based on the original in the collection of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.