Almost the first notice relating to the lake shipping in 1867 emanated from Captain Thomas Dick, of the Queen's Hotel, Toronto, on April 10th. He advertised as for sale "the fine tug steamer Reindeer, now lying in Toronto harbor."
Navigation opened on the Bay of Quinte about April 20th, the steamer of the same name resuming there her regular trips. The steamers Rochester and Bruce in this season ran for the first time as a daily line from Belleville to Oswego.
On Lake Huron the Algoma resumed her trips on May 1st and on the same day the Ida Burton did likewise on Lake Simcoe, running between Barrie, Orillia and Washago, in connection with the Northern Railway from Toronto.
Among the freight steamers and propellers between Montreal and Hamilton were the Ontario, Georgian, Indian, Huron, Bristol, Ottawa and Avon. These were all steamers. Among the propellers were the Magnet, North,St. Lawrence and Her Majesty.
On May 17th the Toronto Globe published the announcement that on and after the following Monday, May 20th, the steamer Rothesay Castle would commence making regular journeys between Toronto and Niagara, making two trips each way daily.
Complaints were made that when the Rothesay Castle appeared on the Niagara route, racing took place between that vessel and the City of Toronto. This was soon put a stop to. The Toronto Globe remarked at the time, in reference to what must be confessed was a most reprehensible practice: "We are glad to learn from Captain Milloy that no further racing will take place on the part of the steamer City of Toronto, between this city and adjacent ports. Captain Milloy deserves the thanks of the people in at once putting a stop to a system of things which could be productive of no good. He would have deserved more had he never given any countenance to the thing at all."
On May 24th the rowing matches of the Toronto Rowing Club took place on the bay. The first race, for which there were three entries, was won by Richard Tinning in his skiff, the Orlando. The course lay from the club boat around a buoy anchored off the northern elevator and back.
In the boys' race which followed, and which was over the same course, only three boys entered, only two put in an appearance, and one of these two broke down almost immediately, giving J. B. McMurrich an easy victory.
The last event was a double scull race, distance two miles. Only two crews entered--those of the Lady Jane and Sly Boots--the former, composed of R. Tinning and Godfrey Donnelly, won. The races passed off very successfully.
The Bouquet and the Princess of Wales formed the Island ferry from Toronto to what in later years has come to be known as Centre Island. A Toronto paper, speaking of this spot, says " the crowds that daily visit it are evidently bent on making it the grand summer retreat this season."
"Our recently deceased friend, Mr. Joseph Dennis, was brought up in the dock-yard to a thorough knowledge of shipbuilding, which occupation, however, be soon exchanged for a more congenial one--that of sailing. Owning a vessel on the lake at the outbreak of the American war in 1812, he placed himself and his vessel at the disposal of the Government and was attached to the Provincial Marine. In one of the actions on Lake Ontario he lost his vessel, was captured and retained a prisoner in the hands of the enemy for some fifteen months. He subsequently commanded, we believe, the first steamer on the waters of Lake Ontario, the Princess Charlotte, which plied, as regularly as could be expected from a steamer of 50 years back, between the Bay of Quinte, Kingston, and Prescott For the last six and thirty years Mr. Dennis had retired from active pursuits retaining till within the last year remarkable vigour, which, however, he taxed but little, excepting to indulge his taste in fishing, of which he was an enthusiastic disciple. A man of genial and happy temperament, of unbending integrity, of simple tastes and methodical habits, he was a type of man fast passing out of this country."
It was rumoured throughout Upper Canada in June that on the following July 1st, when the Royal Proclamation announcing the Confederation of the Provinces as the Dominion of Canada was to be made, that the new Dominion would be presented with the three gun-boats then upon the lakes, the Huron, Cherub and Britomart, by the Imperial Government. Up to that date the Canadian Government had paid the cost of keeping these vessels in repair, the other expenses being borne by the Home Government. Such being the conditions, it is not so very surprising that Canadians were not exactly enthusiastic over the proposed gift. So far as they were concerned, the offer was about on a par with that made by one man to another to supply a large party of tourists with draught ale. The former was quite willing to supply the people with glasses to drink from, if the latter would fill them with ale.
"The loss of this fine freight steamer, owned by Captain F. Patterson and John Proctor, Esq., of this city, has been announced by telegraph. She was on her passage from Hamilton to Montreal, with a full cargo of wheat and flour, and, when about twelve miles below Kingston, in the St. Lawrence river, on Tuesday night, she was struck while rounding the point of an island by the American steamer Bay State, and sank in less than five minutes. Both boats were running at their regular speed, and though all the proper lights were displayed, the watches do not seem to have seen them distinctly rounding the point until too late to prevent a collision. Captain Patterson was in the saloon of his boat conversing with his passengers, of whom he had a few on board, including a couple of ladies, and rushed out to the deck but a moment before the collision took place. The bows of the Bay State penetrated the side of the Magnet abaft the engine, almost cutting her to the centre. The Magnet immediately began to sink, and a scene indescribable occurred. While the crew were working hard to launch the small boats, the ladies took to the mast, but the gentlemen passengers showed courage. The boats were successfully set afloat and the passengers and crew taken aboard, only in time to see the Magnet plunge head first down to the bottom. She now lies in 60 feet of water, with her topmast four feet above the level. Nothing on board but life was saved. The Bay State, which was only slightly injured in the bow. remained alongside, offering all the assistance in the power of her officers, who throughout acted most kindly to the shipwrecked persons. The boats of the Magnet, containing each a portion of the crew, were towed up to Kingston by the Bay State.
"The collision cannot be attributed to carelessness, and was entirely the result of accident. The Magnet was insured for $8,000 in the Phoenix, Western of Canada, and the British America Assurance Companies, which amount will not cover the loss. Her cargo, consisting of 5,000 bushels of wheat, a quantity of flour and general freight, shipped at Hamilton, was insured. It will be impossible to raise the boat, but there are hopes of raising the boilers and engines to the surface."
Captain James Saulter, a man well-known on Lake Ontario, and until his death owner of the Island steamer Bouquet, died in Toronto on August 21th. He was greatly respected, and on the news of his death becoming known the flags of the vessels in harbor were placed at half-mast and remained so until after the funeral.
The American Express Line ran a daily boat from Toronto to Lewiston, Oswego, Kingston, Prescott and intermediate ports, connecting with the steamers for Montreal and the New York Central Railroad for all parts in the United States. The steamers employed were the same as in the year previous, namely, the Ontario, Bay State and Cataract.
The steamer City of Toronto in 1868 resumed her daily journeys from Toronto to Niagara on April 13. The steamers of the Royal Mail Line began their work on May 1st. For a short period the Rothesay Castle was on the route from Port Hope to Rochester; later she ran from Toronto to Hamilton.
The Princess of Wales made her first pleasure trip of the season from Toronto to the Island on April 10th, carrying a very large number of passengers. The Bouquet also began at the same time the usual opposition traffic.
"We understand that a project is on foot in the Council to lease the privilege of carrying passengers to the Island The city has full power in this direction, and it is felt that they might justly exercise it, while the result will be a better control over those to whom the privilege is given. Some talk exists of giving the exclusive privilege to some intimate friends of certain members of the Council without tender. We trust such favoritism will not be attempted. Undoubtedly the only just plan will be to let it out by tender."
The propeller Dominion, used solely as a freight steamer from Montreal to St. Catharines, Toronto and the head of the lake, was built in this year at St. Catharines by Shickluna for S. Neelon. Her capacity was 370 tons, and she afterwards proved a most useful vessel.
Another vessel, known at first as the Hastings, was built in 1868 at Montreal by Cantin. Her owners were Messrs. Close and others, and her capacity was 286 tons. She had various routes on the lakes, and was re-built in 1876. She was again altered and repaired in 1890, when her name was changed to the Eurydice. Since then she has run from Toronto to various points on the lake.
The Norseman, a side wheel steamer of 422 tons, was built at Montreal in 1868 by Cantin, Gildersleeve, of Kingston, was her owner After running from Toronto to Rochester for many seasons, she was rebuilt in 1891, and her name changed to North King.
On Lake Huron there were few, if any, changes; indeed the season of 1868 differed but slightly from that of its immediate predecessor. The vessels employed, the routes they took, and the officers commanding them, were very nearly the same, and happily there were no serious accidents either on the lakes or river.
The season of 1868 had been a very quiet one, and its successor was quite as much so. The Royal Mail vessels ran as usual from Toronto to Montreal. The City of Toronto was, as she had been for so many seasons, on the Niagara route, and the usual steamers plied from Toronto to Hamilton, Rochester and Port Dalhousie.
On Lake Ontario there were the two routes, via Sarnia and Collingwood, to the north-west; but the latter was in those days an unknown land to the vast majority, even of Canadians, and had as yet received no attention from European emigrants.
The Lake Superior Royal Mail Line, from Collingwood to Fort William, consisted of the Algoma, Captain J. B. Symes, owned by Messrs. E. M. Carruthers, and the Chicora, Captain McLean, owned by Messrs. Milloy & Co. These vessels ran every week from port to port, calling at Owen Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Michipicoten and intermediate ports. They carried passengers and merchandise
The following steamers composed the line: Spartan, Captain Kelly; Kingston, Captain Farrel; Passport, Captain Sinclair; Athenian, Captain Morley: Corinthian, Captain Dunlop; Champion, Captain Carmichael; Banshee, Captain Bailey; Union, Captain Fairgrieve; Abyssinian, Captain Estes, and Magnet, Captain Simpson.
One of these steamers left Toronto every morning at half-past ten, and called at Charlotte, Oswego, Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Kingston, Prescott, Cornwall and Montreal, and there connected with the Richelieu Company's steamers for Quebec.
Every afternoon at two o'clock one of the above steamers, either the Abyssinian or Athenian, left Toronto for Prescott, calling at Port Hope, Cobourg and Kingston, when they connected with the river steamers for Montreal.
The propeller Bruno, Captain Gaskin, ran during the season between Montreal and the ports on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, calling at Kingston and Toronto for freight for Goderich, Kincardine, Port Elgin, Inverhuron and Southampton.
The Island ferry steamer Bouquet, Captain William Parkinson, began making her half hourly trips to the Island on May 21st. Her proprietor, in advertising the sailing arrangements for the season, tells the public that " the steamer has been finished in a tasteful style and in such a manner as to ensure comfort combined with safety to persons wishing to visit this favorite place of resort." They add in a postcript that " the most liberal arrangements will be made with excursion and picnic parties."
The annual meeting of the Toronto Rowing Club was held on May 2nd, Angus Morrison, M. P. , being elected president, and W. M. Davidson secretary and treasurer. Among the members of the committee were John Gibbs Ridout and Henry O'Brien.
On June 1st the Erie and Niagara railway was opened throughout for the summer season, connecting with Buffalo by the new iron steamer Ivanhoe, and with Toronto by the steamer City of Toronto. It was advertised in the daily papers as possessing " unrivalled attractions for excursion, fishing and picnic parties."
On June 8th the Toronto Daily Leader, in a leading article headed " The Island," asks the very pertinent question, " What shall be done to preserve the Island from decay ? Shall anything be done? " Proceeding to answer its own question, it relates how a trip round the island, through the western gap and back to the harbor, through the eastern gap, had been made the day previously by the gentlemen composing the Harbor Trust and others, their object in doing so being to see what steps could be taken to guard against the encroachments of the lake. After discussing various remedies, the writer of the article concludes with these carefully thought-out words: " There are practical men who are favorable to the construction of a crib work at the gap which would catch the debris which is continually washing down from Ashbridge's Bay, and which helps to make up the vacuum which has been made at the eastern entrance. It seems to us that there is much force in this suggestion, and that it is worthy the consideration of the Harbor Trust. We do not presume to offer anything like a dogmatic opinion in such a matter; but we think it is worth enquiring into, for the protection of the harbor is worth no little expenditure, if it can be saved without detriment to the sanitary advantages which have accrued from the opening of the gap"
Captain Hugh Richardson, for so many years connected with the lake steamers, and at the time of his death Harbor Master at Toronto, expired in that city on August 2nd, in his 87th year. He had been born in London, England, in 1784, and was the second son of Thomas Richardson a West-Indian merchant. Leaving school at fourteen years of age, he went to sea, and in 1810 both he and his brother were captured in the English channel by a French privateer, and he was a prisoner in France for many years. After his release he returned to England and emigrated to Canada in 1821. He was appointed a Harbor Commissioner in 1837, and Harbor Master of the port of Toronto in 1852. He was always both energetic and courteous in the discharge of his various public duties, and his death, though far from unexpected, caused very general regret.
The Toronto Rowing Club races were held on August 13th, with the following results: In the Fishermen's race, for which there were two entries, the Charm won by five lengths, in 18 minutes and 30 seconds.
In the race for the "Championship of the Bay" two boats came to the starting point, namely, the Skylark, T. Lowden, and the Wind, R. Berry, (Black Bob.) The latter, after a very spirited race, was victorious, and every one was ready to admit that he was a remarkable oarsman and well deserved to hold the position of "Champion of Toronto Bay."
On November 12th the various vessels in Toronto port all had their flags at half-mast in respect to the memory of Captain Dugald Gray, who was for many years a popular lake captain and was on that day interred.
Captain Symes, of the steamer Algoma, was a great favorite with the travelling public on the upper lakes, and no less popular with the residents on Lakes Huron and Superior. At the close of the season of 1870 these marked the occasion by presenting Captain Symes with a purse containing $200 as a token of appreciation of his kindness, courtesy and attention to their comforts.
"The only American steamers which have been running on Lake Ontario during the past season are those of the Northern Transportation Company, which has just stopped payment. If this company cannot make an arrangement with its creditors so as to go on as usual next season the lake will be wholly in the hands of the Canucks, so far as steam vessels are concerned. Such is probably another effect of a tariff which makes everything artificially dear, and having already killed the American ocean fleet, is now destroying the lake trade. The Canadian proprietors have not for some time had much to boast of in the way of profits; but they have kept afloat, and some of them--the Inland Canadian Navigation Company among them--are reported to have this year done a better and more profitable business than in preceding seasons, though the company has always paid dividends. The Northern Transportation line ran from Ogdensburg to all the American lake ports, and from Oswego to New York. Its liabilities are $400,000, and its assets in steamers, &c., are valued at $1,200.000. It is represented that the stoppage of the company, in spite of the low rates at which it had been carrying, was quite unexpected. Referring again to the Canadian Inland Company, we are happy to learn that their vessels are now safely housed for the winter, the Corinthian having arrived here yesterday morning. As the season has gone by without accident, the company saves some $10,000 in insurance, as they have this season been their own insurers, except against fire. In order to avoid marine risks, they have already planked the iron bottom of the Passport, so as to prevent the extreme danger of touching rocks, which is experienced by iron ships in channels like those of the St. Lawrence. The Corinthian and the Spartan, which is also here, are to go to Mr. Cantin's yard, there to be treated in the same manner as the Passport, so that they will be brought up to the character of composite ships, and such accidents as that of Split Rock last year will not, it is believed, occur again."
The season of 1870 had been remarkably free from accidents to the steamers, either on the lakes or the St. Lawrence, and this to a great degree compensated for the very moderate amount both of passenger and goods traffic that had taken place.
The Canadian Navigation Company's Royal Mail through line commenced between Toronto and Montreal with the Passport, Captain Sinclair, on the 21st April, and she was followed in due succession by the Kingston, Captain Farrell, and the other steamers belonging to the line. The Express steamers, as they were called, of this line ran between Ogdensburgh and Toronto, calling on the up trip at Alexandria Bay, Clayton, Kingston, Oswego and Charlotte, and on the down trip at Bowmanville, Port Hope, Cobourg, Kingston and Gananoque.
On the upper lakes one difference in the arrangements made was that Captain Symes gave up the command of the Algoma, assuming that of the Manitoba. The Lake Superior Royal Mail Line consisted of the Chicora, Captain McGregor; the Cumberland, Captain Pollock; besides the new steamer just mentioned.
These four vessels, in connection with the Northern Railway from Toronto, formed a route direct from Quebec and Montreal to Bruce Mines, the Sault St. Marie, Fort William and Duluth, and for all points in Red River country and Duluth.
Not only was the Bouquet announced to resume her trips for the season from Toronto to the Island on May 24th, but she was joined by a new steamer, the Perry, Captain Thomas Lundy, these two vessels making the journey four times an hour. These boats were both under the same management.
The Princess of Wales was, as in previous years, upon the same route. On May 24th, the first day of the season, no less than five thousand people crossed from Toronto to the Island by the aid of these steamers.
In 1880 Mr. Samuel Crangle and W. A. Geddes, of Toronto, purchased her. She traded on the lake for some time. She. was considerably lengthened in 1882, and ran from Chicago to Montreal most successfully, Capt. John Trowel being her commanding officer.
The season of 1871 was not marked by any incidents of great importance. Navigation closed rather early, and reopened somewhat later than usual, the City of Toronto not resuming her journeys from Toronto to Niagara in 1872 until April 18th.
The Royal Mail Line, as it still called itself, from Toronto to Montreal, began its season's work early in May. There were no additions to their fleet of steamers, though they had all been re-fitted and re decorated during the winter.
On Lake Huron there were two lines of steamers connecting with Toronto; one ran from Sarnia in connection with the G. T. R., the steamers being the Manitoba and Arcadia. The other line sailed from Collingwood and consisted of the Cumberland, Chicora, Frances Smith and Algoma. They ran to all ports on the lake, carrying both freight and passengers.
Of the propellers or freight boats running between Montreal and Hamilton the principal vessels were the Dominion, which ran to St. Catharines; the Dromedary, Mary Ward, America, St. Lawrence, Dalhousie and East.
"Drowned at sea in the Atlantic Ocean, 130 miles west of the coast of Portugal, on the morning of Friday, March 8th, William Adams Jukes, R. N., sub-lieutenant in charge of cadets on board of H M. steam frigate Ariadne, and eldest son of Dr. A. Jukes, of St. Catharines, Ontario, in the heroic effort to save the life of a seaman who had fallen overboard from the main top cross trees in a gale of wind. Brave and self devoted to the last, he perished in the performance of the highest duty of humanity, in the 23rd year of his age, and died a true sailor.
The regatta of the Toronto Rowing Club took place on Saturday, August 10th. The committees of the club had spared no pains to afford accommodation to competitors, as well as spectators. Mr. George Hawthorne adopted an excellent plan for buoying the course, that of having barrels, with good high flagstaffs placed through them, the barrels being on floats of planks placed crosswise. The steamer Norseman, with the Queen's Own band on board, was chartered by the club for the use of its members and their friends, while tugs J. S. Clarke and the Ontario rendered good service, the former in clearing the track, and the latter as judges' boat. The bay was as usual crowded by small boats, but the progress of the competing boats was not so much impeded as in former years. At 11:15 Mr. T. S. Birchall started
This was one of the best contested and most interesting races that ever took place from Toronto harbor, and the following account from one of the daily papers of the time will probably prove interesting to readers.
"The Brunette led off, closely followed by the Ina, which crossed the line a few lengths behind her, and the run to the Elevator buoy was very interesting. The Brunette held her position, the Ina hanging on to her quarter, while the Oriole came after them in magnificent style, every sail filling, and dashing the spray from her bows, while the Ripple was astern and evidently out-sailed, on account of the comparatively light wind, which favored the yachts with the greatest spread of canvas. The Elevator buoy was rounded in the following order: Brunette, Ina and Oriole. As the Brunette jibed around, the Ina came sweeping along and jibed over, and as the yachts were not a length apart the sight was a very pretty one. The Oriole followed in close order, and well together they sped away down the bay to the Marsh buoy. This was an interesting stretch, the yachts all being able to lay their course directly for the buoy. The Ina endeavored to go to windward of the Brunette; but found that this would not do and bore away to her leeward, and as the wind freshened the Ina evidently was picking up and passing her. The Oriole, however, 'showed her heels' to both the sloop yachts on this run, as she passed down the bay in fine style, and reached the buoy about a length ahead of the Ina. The Marsh buoy was rounded in the following order: Oriole, Ina, and Brunette. The run to the starting buoy was a pretty sight, the Ina gradually drawing ahead of the Oriole, while the Brunette was making good time astern. Neither yacht was able to make the buoy, and the Ina tacked across the bows of the Oriole, and passed the buoy first; the Brunette slipped past the Oriole, owing to her moving in stays more rapidly than the heavy schooners, and was second past the buoy, the Oriole being third. The Ina pointed for the Mimico Point buoy, and with main-sail, top-sail, stay-sail, and jib and top sail set, she bowled along with a long lead out of the bay, the Brunette following second, and the Oriole coming after at a rattling pace. The Ina greatly increased her lead on the run up to Mimico Point and rounded the buoy seven minutes ahead of the Brunette, which was second, with the Oriole close behind her. Off the light house all the yacht; were becalmed for some little time, until at last a breeze answered the prayers of the yachtsmen, and the Mimico Point buoy was rounded as follows:--Brunette, Ina and Oriole The Ina and Oriole rounded the buoy at the same moment--and as the Oriole swung around and covered up the Ina with her great spread of canvas, the latter lost headway and drifted down upon the buoy, thus losing several minutes in getting clear and away. The Brunette pointed for the home buoy, and the Oriole made excellent time after her, while the Ina brought up the rear. The Gorilla came into the harbor just before the Oriole, and at this time the sight was a beautiful one. Four of the finest yachts in the Dominion were running free, within short distance of each other, with all sail set, and they presented a sight which delighted every yachtsman. The Oriole gained on the Gorilla and Brunette also, passing down the bay, giving her owners a great deal of pleasure. The winning buoy was passed in the following order:--Brunette 1st, Oriole 2nd, and Ina third. As the Ina rounded past the winning buoy her crew save three hearty cheers for the victorious Brunette, which were returned with a will by those on board of the latter yacht.
"The second-class prize of $150 for yachts of the second-class was won by the Water Kelpie, of Hamilton. Time, 4h. 5 min. 16sec.: Kate,Oakville, 2nd, time, 4h 7min. 10 sec.; Wanderer, 3rd, Toronto, no time taken. In the third-class race, for a cup and money, value $30, the John A., owned by J. Clendining, Toronto, was the winner. Time, 4h. 27min 33sec; Spray, (Geo. Ward' Toronto) 4h. 33min. 28sec. The time of the Snowdrop is not given, so it is to be presumed she came in very much astern "
Two boats started, the Quebec, of Montreal, manned by G. C. Tyer and J. B. Grey, stroke; and the Lachine, of Montreal, E. D. Boswell and J. Phillips, stroke The result was a " walk over" for the Quebec, the Lachine becoming disabled very early in the race.
In the Fishermen's race, the boats Jenny and Lady Jane contested for the prize of $25. It was won by the former, the time being seventeen minutes thirty seconds, just one minute and ten seconds less than that of the Lady Jane.
One of the pleasant incidents of the day connected with the regatta was the presentation of a diamond ring by the members of the Rowing Club to Mr. W. M. Davidson, for eight years the secretary, at the Queen's Hotel, at an entertainment got up for the purpose. Colonel Shaw, (U. S. Consul), presided, and Major Arthurs, Q. O. R., with about fifty other gentlemen, were present, including the members of the Montreal crew and Mr. .John F. Gibson, of the Quebec Yacht Club. After the toasts of " The Queen," "The President of the United States," "Our Visitors from Other Clubs," had been given and responded to, Mr. A. E. Smith made the presentation, which Mr. Davidson acknowledged in appropriate terms.
In 1890 she was sold to Mr. W. A. Geddes, of Toronto, and placed upon the route between Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal. Her present captain (1893) is Hiram Vaughan. John P. Towers previously commanded her. This vessel was built by Andrews for Sylvester Neelon, of St. Catharines.
In lock 5, of the Welland Canal, John Simpson, the well-known ship-builder, constructed in 1872, for the Lake and River Steamship Company, the well-known freight steamer Lake Michigan. About the same time were also built the two sister steamers, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. They were all of the same or nearly the same dimensions, namely, 140 x 37 x 12 feet, and were engaged in the general trade of the lakes.
The Columbia was built in 1872 by Robertson, of Hamilton, for Butters & Co., of Montreal. She traded upon the great lakes. She was of similar dimensions to the Lake Michigan and sister ships and was a very great success.
When Messrs. Butters & Co. ceased business, this vessel reverted to the Merchants' Bank, who sold her to Mr. Fairgrieve, of Hamilton. Captain James Malcolmson was in command of her for several years. Her end was a very sad one. She was wrecked, and a great number of her crew perished on Lake Michigan in the year 1884.
The steamers belonging to the Royal Mail Line did not begin their trips until the early part of May. A new steamer, known as the Egyptian, built during the autumn and winter of the preceding year, was launched and added to their fleet, while the Kingston, which, as has been already related, had been wrecked the previous autumn, had been entirely re-built and re-appeared as the Bavarian.
Three of the freight boat lines running from Montreal to Toronto and Hamilton amalgamated this season and formed what was known as the Merchants' Ontario Line. Their fleet consisted of eleven propellers, three of them new.
Direct freight as well as passenger service between Montreal and the Western States was secured by the lake and river steamship line consisting of eleven vessels. Their route was from Montreal to Chicago direct.
On the upper lakes there was no change in the steamers that ran from Collingwood. The Waubuno, a vessel previously mentioned, and which had been on Lake Huron for some little time, also ran from Collingwood for the Sault Ste. Marie, Parry Sound and Penetanguishene. She was commanded by Captain Campbell and ran on her own account.
From Sarnia, in connection with the G. T. R., the Steamers Manitoba, (afterwards the Carmona), and City of Montreal formed a line from Montreal to Fort Garry, or, as it was just being called, Winnipeg.
The other vessel the City of Montreal, was built in Chatham in 1873, and was a vessel of 220 tons burden. She continued to ply upon Lake Huron until 1876, when at the close of that season she was taken to Toronto. Her route from 77 to '78 was between Toronto, Kingston and Oswego. In 1879 she ran from Cleveland to Port Stanley, being in these years under the command of the late Captain Thomas Leach. For a very short time in 1878 she had run from Collingwood to. Chicago under Captain Parsons, but this was a mere interlude in her history. Donald Milloy was concerned with Captain Leach in the management and ownership of this vessel. About 1880 she was turned into a steam barge, and very shortly afterwards was totally wrecked.
A very sad accident occurred to the yacht Sphinx at the end of August. As she was returning to Toronto, while off the Humber, a sadden squall struck and capsized her. Three out of four of those who were on board of her, all young men, residents in Toronto, were drowned. Only one escaped.
On Lake Simcoe the Lady of the Lakes, Captain Moe, supplanted the Emily May. It seems strange that in such a comparatively short period as forty years there should have been such a number of steamers on Lake Simcoe. There had been no less than seven, namely, the Beaver, Simcoe, Peter Robinson, Morning, J. C. Morrison, Emily May, and last of all the one just mentioned. No less than seven, where the work was of the very lightest.
On the Island route, that is, on Toronto bay, plied the Princess of Wales and the Bouquet, while another ferry steamer, called the Perry, "ran wild," that is, was at the service of any one who would hire her.
In 1875 Powers, of Kingston, built for John Proctor, of Hamilton, the well-known steamer Cuba. She was the largest carrier of her day and had a good trade on the lakes. In 1877 Captain Crangle and W. A. Geddes, of Toronto, purchased her and employed her as a trader between Toronto and Ogdensburgh, forming a route in connection with the Northern Railway between Chicago and the New England States via Collingwood. For five years everything went " merry as a marriage bell," until the United States Government by putting what certainly seems to be a forced interpretation upon the Washington Treaty, put a stop to what had proved for the Cuba's owners a very profitable enterprise. She then ran from Chicago to Montreal, and continued upon that route until 1892. In 1893 she was placed on the route from Hamilton to Montreal, where she still remains. Her commanding officers have been Captains Crangle and Ewart.
Another new vessel appeared on the upper lakes with the opening of the navigation in 1875 -- the Celtic -- built by Archibald Robertson, of Hamilton, in 1874. Her length was one hundred and forty feet, her breadth thirty-seven, and her depth twelve feet. Her route was on the upper lakes. She was first commanded by Captain Taylor and afterwards by William Cavors. Whilst engaged in carrying freight on Lake Erie she came into collision with an American vessel, and was totally wrecked in May, 1892
The Windsor and Lake Superior Line, George Campbell, Windsor; Sylvester Neelon, M. P. P., St. Catharines; J. C. Graham, St. Catharines, proprietors, consisted of the new steamers Asia and Sovereign, forming a weekly line between Windsor and Duluth. The steamers Sovereign and Asia left Windsor on alternate Thursdays, at 10 a.m., calling at Sarnia and (weather permitting) all Lake Huron ports, for Bruce Mines, Sault Ste. Marie and north shore ports on Lake Superior, Silver Islet, Prince Arthur's Landing, and Fort William, making close connections with the Dawson route, and at Duluth connecting with the N. P. R. R. and steamers on Red River for Fort Garry.
From Collingwood, what was called the Lake Superior Line, or, the Pioneer Route, consisted of the side-wheel steamers Frances Smith, Cumberland and Chicora. One of the steamers of this line left Collingwood every Tuesday and Friday for Fort William and intermediate ports.
The new Rothesay Castle made her trial trip on May 13th, her route being from Toronto to Niagara. She was one hundred and ninety-five feet long by twenty-four wide, and was licensed to carry seven hundred passengers.
In 1876 some of the lines were enlarged, and some vessels that had previously been run on the various routes independently amalgamated with other established lines. There was, in fact, a decided move in the direction, not of diminishing the steamers, but of minimizing the competition.
The steamers plying to the Island from Toronto were the Princess of Wales, Bouquet and Watertown, though the latter also ran to the Humber. Civic holiday came in Toronto on Monday, August 14th, and among the amusements provided was one of a decidedly unique character. Perhaps it would be as well to give the advertisement as it appeared at the time announcing the attraction:--
"Civic Holiday. The most Novel and Pleasant Excursion of the Season, on Monday, August 14th. The schooner John Bentley, the largest vessel on Lake Ontario, will make a grand excursion to Niagara, under sail, and in tow of the steamer W. T. Robb. Will leave the Canada Southern Dock, foot of York street, at 8.30 a. m. Returning, will leave Niagara at 4 p. m., arriving in Toronto about 7 p.m. Fare for the round trip 50 cents. Children half-price. Accommodation will be very complete In the evening a moonlight excursion.
History is mute about this excursion, but there were dark rumors afloat in Toronto on the morning of August 15th that some of the excursionists, while they had found their trip decidedly " novel," had grave doubts as to its being " pleasant." But probably these reports came from those who could not get tickets!
But the owners of the ferry steamers Watertown and Bouquet did not mean " the schooner John Bentley," even if aided by the steamer W. T. Robb, to have all the fun to themselves, for they in an advertisement which, though but of forty words, occupied nearly half a column of the papers of the day, announce on August 14th:--
"Grand Display of Fireworks to-night on the west point of the Island. Steamers Watertown and Bouquet every half hour from Hamilton's and Canada Southern Wharves to see the Fireworks. Be sure and take your ticket by the above steamers."
Toronto came prominently to the front at the International Regatta held at Philadelphia in this, the centennial year of the Independence of the United States. Hanlan was the victor in the rowing match against all comers. On his return to Toronto the plucky and victorious oarsman was honored with a public reception.
The Toronto ferry steamers were the Princess of Wales to the Island; the Bouquet to the same place; the Watertown to the Humber and Mimico. The Empress of India also made constant excursions on the lakes. The following advertisements will show how keen the competition for traffic was at the period referred to. They ran thus:--
"Empress of India, Humber, 25c; Monday and Friday, 10 30, 2 and 4; Tuesday, 10.30, 2, 4 and 6. Oakville, 50c.; Wednesday, 9 and 2 o'clock; Saturday, 8 and 2 o'clock. Hamilton and Burlington Beach, 50c.; Thursday, 8 a.m.; returning leaves at 4 p. m. sharp. See posters. Family tickets for sale. Friday--Moonlight Excursion at 8 p.m. Band in attendance. C. J. MCCUAIG, Manager."
"50 Cent Excursions to Niagara, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Afternoon. Quickest Time. Two Trips Daily between Toronto and Buffalo. Southern Belle leaves York street wharf for Niagara at 7.15 a.m. and 3.15 p m., connecting with Canada Southern for the west, also at Bridge and Buffalo for the east, allowing 4 hours in Buffalo, and returning same day. Return tickets at reduced rates to Niagara, Niagara Falls and Buffalo."
Early in January, 1878, Mr. Harbor Master Carr, of Toronto, in his report to the Harbor Commission, says:--"It is to be hoped that the corporation will proceed with the building of the contemplated Trunk or Receiving Sewer along the front of the city, as a receptacle for all the present sewage nuisance running into the different slips and polluting the waters of our harbor, also leaving considerable deposits of filth, which the Harbor Trust have to dredge out. Should this very important work be carried out, the waters of our harbor will become purified by the currents which are continuously passing between the western and eastern channels, affording our citizens the opportunity of enjoying healthful recreation on the water of our beautiful bay. '
The North-west Transportation Co. (Ltd.) consisted this season of five steamers, one of which left Sarnia every Tuesday and Friday at 10 p.m. and Windsor every Friday at 9 a.m. carrying the Canadian mails, in connection with the Grand Trunk, Great Western and Canada Southern Railways. These first-class and powerful steamers left Sarnia at 10 p.m., and Goderich, Kincardine and Southampton the following morning for Bruce Mines, St. Joseph's Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Silver Islet, Fort William and Duluth, making close connections with Northern Pacific Railway and Kitson'sRed River steamers for Fort Garry.
The Empress of India was this year in the hands of a firm styling themselves, not altogether inappropriately either, their vessel being an "Empress," the Imperial Navigation Company. They organized excursions to Burlington Beach and Hamilton, Mimico Grove,Whitby, Oshawa and Bowmanville, Brant House and to Oakville.
The Watertown ran to Mimico: the Transit, St. Jean Baptiste, (this vessel afterwards became the Sadie), Golden City, Juliette and Bouquet to the Island opposite to Toronto.The Princess of Wales was also still upon the waters of Toronto Bay, and continued there until 1882. In 1883 she met with an accident and was sunk near the Queen's wharf. She was raised, taken to Oakville and re-built. As the General Wolseley she re-appeared on the upper lakes in 1885, and a little later was burnt at Fire Island.
In connection with the Great Western Railway between Port Stanley and Cleveland, after 8th May, the fast upper cabin side wheel steamer Saginaw left Port Stanley on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week, on arrival of the train leaving Toronto at 12 55 p.m; Hamilton 2.55 p.m., and London 6.35 p m. reached Cleveland early the following morning, making connections there with trains for Pittsburg, Dayton, Columbus, Newark, Cincinnati and other points in the State of Ohio; returning, left Cleveland at 9 p m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week, arriving at Port Stanley early next morning, and made connection with all points reached by the Great Western Railway system.
The great race between Ross and Hanlan for the sculling championship took place at Rothesay, N. B., on July 31st, Hanlan being the victor. Mr. Sheriff Harding acted as starter, and at three minutes past five o'clock put the warning question to the men, but Ross being not quite ready it was a second or so before the word " Go" was given. Both men, amid the wildest enthusiasm, struck the water simultaneously. It was difficult for on-lookers to tell if any advantage had been secured by either during the first four strokes. It is, however, generally conceded, on the testimony of those who were favored with a lateral view, that Ross had just a little the advantage at first. This is reasonable, for the stroke which he pulled was considerably faster than Hanlan's, and was favorable to a terrific pace for a short distance--much faster than is likely to be made by Hanlan's long sweep. The men were wide apart, and that heightened the difficulty of coming to an accurate opinion upon the start; but no difficulty was experienced in betting that Hanlan was, while pulling with his utmost ease, drawing slowly but surely away from his opponent. When half a mile had been traversed by Ross pulling a fiery stroke of 37 and Hanlan a great sweep of 32, the latter had a length's daylight to the good. Without any increase of effort this advantage was at a mile doubled, and to the most ignorant it was clear that, bar accident, Hanlan had already won. Ross was pulling a stroke that must have been wrenching him to pieces, while the little one in blue was gliding along apparently as easy as if strolling on the road The pace was, however, tremendous, and Ross kept forcing himself to the utmost, while Hanlan contented himself with maintaining his advantage. No change that was appreciable took place in the position of the contestants when a mile and a quarter had been traversed. Then, however, a change came over the aspect of affairs, for as Ross was pulling home his stroke, he was seen to go headlong over into the water. Immediately there was a great shout of alarm, and Capt. Ross, father of the oarsman, directed the tug's head towards Wallace, struggling in the water and supporting himself by clinging to his upset boat. No delay took place in fishing out the poor fellow who, wrapped in a great coat, was soon ensconced in a warm engine room. Every one felt great sympathy for the unfortunate oarsman, those who had been hardest on him for his actions before the start being as genuinely sorry at his mishap as those who were his warmest supporters throughout.
Meantime Hanlan, after seeing that Ross was safe, went over the course, turning the stake boat, it is said, in 17 min. 17 sec., though another time made it 15 min. 55 sec., which would be a full minute almost faster than the fastest time on record over dead water. The champion pulled back at his leisure, finishing in 37 min. 03 sec., official time, private timing, however, giving him credit for having done the five miles in 36m. 58s. Thus ended what, look at it in every way we can, was the most disappointing and unfortunate race ever rowed, the Renforth race not excepted.
On August 2nd Hanlan and his friends left in the steamer City of Portland for Portland, Maine. A very large crowd gathered to see the champion off, and he was loudly cheered as the steamer left the wharf.
Messrs. Davis and Ward, on behalf of the Hanlan Club, published a card returning thanks to the citizens of St. John for their kind treatment, etc., and in conclusion said:--" Of the gallant Newbrunswicker, Wallace Ross, who has been unfortunate in this contest, they feel that they cannot speak too highly. He has proved himself a first-class oarsman, and they nope that his friends will not be slow to appreciate the splendid effort he made in their behalf yesterday, which produced what was unquestionably the grandest aquatic contest that ever took place on any water, in any country, in any age."
On Toronto Bay, on the evening of August 1st, the final heat for the gold medal, in the Post-office regatta, was contested, the entries being Messrs. Newell, Riddell, and Thompson. At the start, however, the two latter only contended, and Thompson won the race by over five lengths.
Competition was very keen on the Niagara line this season, and it is evident the best of feeling did not exist between the owners of the rival steamers. Witness the following advertisement dated August 5th:--
"Toronto, Niagara and Buffalo Steamboat Line. The public are warned that spent checks of the steamers City of Toronto and Rothesay, of this line, collected and issued by the steamer Chicora, will not be accepted for passage on either of the steamers of this line. Passengers going over by the Chicora on Saturday last were furnished with such by the Chicora, and were consequently deceived, as these checks were refused by this line. D. MILLOY, Agent."
Hanlan was not allowed to " rest on his oars victorious" long. In May he is again in England, contesting with the famous English oarsman, Hawdon, the championship of the Tyne. The race took place on May 5th, the result being, as one pa per put it, that Hanlan " won as he liked."
On the Toronto and Ogdensburg line of steamers there was no alteration whatever excepting that their proprietors say the " accommodation was all that could be desired " and they certainly were very well patronized.
Hanlan proved victorious in his encounter with the Tynesider, and on the date in July of his arrival in Toronto becoming known, it was decided to give him a public reception and the following advertisement appeared in all the Toronto papers in reference to the project;--
The Chicora has been chartered to bring Hanlan home, at an hour which will be definitely settled on Monday morning. Return tickets will be issued and for sale on Monday at one o'clock at $1 each, for the benefit of the Homestead Fund. A number of steamers have been chartered to meet the Chicora on the Lake, leaving the docks as foot of Yonge. Church and York streets at three o'clock. The fare has been fixed at 25c for adults and 15c for children. The Opera Company now playing at the Horticultural Gardens will give an entertainment, commencing at 8 o'clock sharp.
The steamers Filgate (a new vessel), Maxwell, Empress of India and St. Jean Baptiste were chartered to leave their respective wharves at 3:30 p.m., on the 15th to meet the Chicora with Edward Hanlan and his party on board. The "Champion" arrived in due course and the reception accorded him was in accordance with the programme and as hearty and enthusiastic as the most exacting soul or ambitious spirit might desire.
The Filgate, just mentioned, was a new, iron, side wheel steamer of two hundred and forty-one tons burthen, built by White of Montreal in 1879. She remained in Toronto a short time and is now employed (1893) on the River St. Lawrence from Montreal.
H.R.H. the Princess Louise, accompanied by the Marquis of Lorne, visited Toronto in the early part of September. The Toronto Rowing Club had a regatta in honor of the event, at which the vice-regal party were present on board the Filgate. The following were the entries:
Mr. J. E Robertson acted as referee, Mr. H. Crewe as judge at the turn, Mr. J. R. Hay as starter, and Mr. J. E. Ellis as timekeeper. The club rooms were handsomely and profusely decorated for the occasion, and the billiard table set out with a profusion of cups, including the four to be contested for, all of which were alike. Among the decorations the several addresses to Hanlan were prominently displayed.
The following accident occurred on October 2nd:--The propeller Dromedary, bound south, struck a rock at Ramey's Bend at two o'clock, sinking five minutes afterwards in sixteen feet of water. She was bound from Montreal to Detroit with two hundred tons of pig iron and a miscellaneous cargo, con-sisting of sugar, etc. At the time of striking she was drawing eight feet four inches forward. The rock was a projection from the west bank. The captain, F. B. Twitchell, was in charge at the time, and loudly censured the canal authorities for leaving such an obstruction exposed. He succeeded in running the propeller to the bank, so as not to impede navigation. The vessel was owned by the Merchants' Bank of Montreal.
The formation of a naval reserve force in Canada for the protection of the Canadian mercantile marine was mooted in the early part of 1880, whereupon a Toronto paper of the day has the following very straightforward remarks, it says:--"This suggestion," that is to create a naval reserve," is not one likely to be adopted, although in the event of war between England and Russia, the North American squadron would be withdrawn, and the Canadian mercantile marine, which is the fifth in importance in the world, would be at the mercy of Russian cruisers. But the truth is that Canada could not afford to go to the expense of supporting a naval force, nor, so far as Canada herself is concerned, is there any need of such a force. There would not be the remotest danger of any foreign power interfering with Canada if Canada were a nation by herself and minded her own business. The only danger to which this country is exposed is on account of England, which may involve Canada in the consequences of a bloody war without a day's notice. It is probably fair to say that England must be prepared to abide by the consequences of her own acts, and that in event of her becoming involved in war with a naval power, if she desires to retain Canada as a colony she must be ready to defend it."
The approaching race for the " Championship" in the sculling world, between Trickett, the Australian, and Hanlan, the Canadian, excited at this time a great deal of interest An English correspondent under the signature " Tynesider," has the following interesting if somewhat lengthy remarks:--
NEWCASTLE ON TYNE, June 7.--It has been a long time since I last penned you a letter about aquatic interests in England, and my present venture will be confined exclusively to the great forthcoming race between Trickett and Hanlan. As you have been already advised, the friends of Trickett, residing in London, have made a match with the friends of Hanlan, for these two world-wide known scullers to contend for the world's championship on November 15th next, on the Thames. The meeting to draw up articles and make arrangements was very harmonious, and everything passed off without the least hitch or disagreement. Thos; who represented Trickett were gentlemen in every sense of the word, and only sought fair conditions for their favorite. Col Shaw, on Hanlan's behalf, endeavored to so arrange matters as to insure a fair race without fear or favor from any source. At his suggestion arrangements were made securing deserved and fair benefits from two interests most benefitted by the meeting of two great oarsmen, viz., the railroads and steamboat owners. I am pleased to be able to state that every consideration was shown those who planned this just " tribute." and a handsome return may be expected from this source, on the day of the race. I need not advise you that this meeting between Trickett and Hanlan will be the event in the rowing annals of the year--if not of the century. Coming together as they will-- each with a brilliant record as a " prince of scullers "--and each a "champion" of undoubted merits, the banks of old Father Thames will be lined with excited thousands to witness the anticipated battle between the fleetest scullers of the present day. Already the lovers of keen aquatic contests are taking fire over this meeting. It comes off late in the year, but Trickett has a long journey to make by water--and needs a long preparation after he arrives in England. Moreover, he is in business, and it will take him some little time to plan to get away. His friends advised me that he would likely leave for this country about the first of July. The trip over will occupy nearly six weeks. This will bring it to the middle of August before he arrives, and the time spent in becoming acclimated will not be too long by the date fixed for the race. I disclose no secret when I state that Trickett's friends have every confidence in his ability to vanquish your Canadian champion They claim that he is a rowing wonder--a giant at the oar. Standing six feet five inches in his stockings, with long legs and arms, and a splendid physique, united with great strength and endurance, as well as with great skill with the sculls, they regard his chances as exceedingly sure in the forthcoming event. They spoke of Hanlan as a small man--but I reminded them of the remark made by the ferryman at Bultave, near Pittsburg, viz.: " That the more clothes he takes off the bigger he gets," and suggested that when he measured speed with their "six foot sixer," the little man might look the larger of the two. It is a curious fact that the Trickett-Hanlan race has aroused the rowing interests here from a long slumber. The victories of Hanlan last year took all the life out of rowing on English waters. Here it is the first, alone, that excites enthusiasm Elliott, defeated, was a dead dog; and even
to row a big race over a lost trophy--or to see which should try for it again--was of little account. The shadow of Hanlan fell across their fame, and overshadowed them altogether. But now that the promise of a meeting between the two rowing wonders is held out, the average Englishman is alive with interest over the promised treat. Nor will the circle of uninterested ones be small! It will be as wide as the poles, literally. And this leads me again to refer to the honor Hanlan's career has won for his own Dominion of Canada, He has advertised it more extensively than Canadians really appreciate, and anyone who may have a nose that is inclined to turn up, in a kind of scorn, over the "Hanlan fever"--should just reflect upon the fact that he has been the best advertising agent Canada ever had. Besides, if ever a citizen of Canada, by honest endeavor, deserved well of his own, this sculler is certainly one of them. Before this reaches your readers the race between Boyd and Hanlan will have been rowed I have already put myself on record in reference to it, and at this writing am not clear that the course of Hanlan in rowing him so soon after his Washington races is a wise one. Too long a strain weakens, and to be in constant training for many weeks means a greater drain upon physical force than is prudent to chance. Boyd is a great sculler, and, in my humble opinion, Hanlan will have a very large job on hand to defeat him. Still, as a former letter gives my views upon this point, I need not here repeat them. More anon.
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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.