Chapter 249
Niagara Falls Line - 1883 to 1893.

Table of Contents

Title Page
203 The Island Lighthouse.
204 Two Western Piers.
227 The Island in the Forties.
236 Front Street of Old.
237 Canadian Lake Navigation
238 1766 to 1809.
239 Six Eventful Years, 1809-15
240 A New Era, 1816 to 1819
241 A Progressive Enterprise, 1819 to 1837.
242 The Rebellion of 1837-38
243 Complaining Travellers
244 The Trade of the Lake Still Continues to Expand
245 The Royal Mail Line, 1840 TO 57
246 Storms and Shipwrecks -- Great Destruction of Life and Property -- The Commercial Distress in 1857.
247 Gloomy Anticipations for the Spring Trade
248 The Niagara Steamers, 1874-78.
249 Niagara Falls Line - 1883 to 1893.
250 Hamilton Steamboat Co. '87-'93
251 The General History of the Lake Shipping Continued
252 New Steamers
253 Lorne And Victoria Parks.
254 Toronto Ferry Co. 1890-93.
255 Royal Canadian Yacht Club.
256 Canadian Pacific Steamers.
257 The Rochester Route -1889-'93
258 The Ottawa Steamers, 1864-93
259 The R. & O. Company.
260 Tabulated Statements of Various Vessels from 1678 to the Present Time.
Table of Illustrations

A Popular Vessel--Opposition is the Soul of Trade--A Truce Effected.

The Niagara Falls Line, founded in 1883, Mr. A. W. Hepburn, of Picton, being the principal promoter, was projected for the purpose of securing a portion, at any rate, of both the freight and passenger traffic between Toronto, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, hence the name given to the undertaking.

Steamer Empress of India
Their first and only vessel for some years was the Empress of India. This steamer is a very great favourite with travellers upon Lake Ontario and also with excursionists. She has side wheels, is one hundred and eighty feet long over all; has a breadth of forty-eight feet and a depth of upwards of eleven feet. She is of 353 tons burthen, and was built in 1876 by Jamieson, of Mill Point. She had a new boiler in 1884, was rebuilt in 1886, and again had most extensive repairs made to her in 1891. Her present commander is Captain G. O'Brien, and her previous masters have been Captains Collier, Hodgins and Van Dusen.

Until 1888 the Empress, for so she is always called for brevity's sake, was entirely unopposed on her route, but in that year " a change came o'er the spirit of the scene," for when the season opened the proprietors of the steamer found they were to have a rival to compete with who wished also to share the risks and also the profits to be gained from the lake trade.

The opposing vessel was the Lakeside, owned by the Lakeside Navigation Company, which had previously been running on Lake Erie, and was under command of Captain Wigle.

The Lakeside is a propeller and has been used chiefly for excursions. She was built by Lane, of Windsor, in 1888, her capacity being 267 tons.

The Empress and the Lakeside continued on the same route until 1892, when a new company was formed, who not only chartered the Lakeside, but built a new steamer of their own called the Garden City; so in 1892, between Toronto and Dalhousie, there were no less than three steamers running, namely, the Empress, the Lakeside and the Garden City.

The name of the shipping company running the last two of these steamers was the " St. Catharines, Grimsby and Toronto Navigation Company."

The Garden City was built at Toronto in 1892, by the Doty Company, in their yard at the foot of Bathurst street. She was intended by her owners, as has just been mentioned, to ply from Toronto to St. Catharines, and she did so for the remainder of that year.

At the time of her launch she was spoken of being " likely to prove one of the handsomest and most commodious steamboats plying on Lake Ontario."

Her length over all was 180 feet, her beam being 25 and her width over guards 44 feet, while her depth was 11 feet and she drew six feet of water. No iron whatever was used in her construction. She was of steel from stem to stern.

Her decks were of British Columbia Douglas pine, imported expressly by the builders, the Doty Company.

The Garden City commenced running on the lake on June 20th, 1892.

Mr. John Booth is the engineer for these vessels, having been previously in the employ of the Chatham Navigation Company, where he served his articles. Messrs. N. J. Wigle and A. W. Hepburn are the joint managers, and Mr. Smith, of Milloy's wharf, is agent in Toronto.

In 1893 the owners of the various steamers consulted together, and it was decided unanimously that it would be better for the public, better for the steamers, and possibly even better for the pockets of the shareholders in the various vessels, that this reckless opposition should cease, so a tentative proposal of amalgamation for at any rate the present season was made and entered into which possibly may be fully carried out, and the boats form the fleet of one company at a future date. Nous verrons.


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This electronic edition is based on the original in the collection of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.