Over the Waves: Stern-wheeler 'Victoria'

The May 24th Long Weekend is one of my favourite holidays. Over time, the focus has shifted from celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria to celebrating the arrival of summer, but one thing has remained the same - it's a chance for people to get out and enjoy the first of the summer weather! This sentiment certainly isn't new, but not every May 24th has ended a happy one. In 1881, this holiday was marred with one of the worst tragedies that London, Ontario has ever suffered. Today, we're looking at the story of the Victoria.

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Over the Waves: HMS Ontario

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season. As I mentioned in my last post, I was back in Ontario visiting family. It was a wonderful visit, and it came to an end far too quickly (as holidays tend to).

While I was home, I was digging through some old books and folders and I came across a newspaper clipping. When I was away at university, my mum used to go through the paper and if she came across an article she thought I'd be interested in, she would cut it out and leave it on my dresser in my bedroom for the next time I was home. This article surfaced around June 2008, and I had read it and then dutifully tucked it away in a notebook. Turns out, the article was about one of the oldest and most well preserved shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, and it fits perfectly with my 2015 Shipster plan. So, thanks Mum!

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Over the Waves: Nisbet Grammer

As some of you may have heard, September was a very busy month for shipwrecks. The Canadian Government, working with Parks Canada and different agencies, finally located the HMS Erebus from the fabled Franklin expedition. Shortly after, a four-man team located the wreck of the Nisbet Grammer, a steel cargo ship that collided with another ship and sank to the bottom of Lake Ontario almost 90 years ago.

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Over the Waves: The Niagara Scow

This week I decided to feature a wreck from my home province; one that anyone who has visited the Niagara region is probably familiar with.

Anyone who has visited Niagara Falls (either the Canadian or American side, though your vantage point for this would be better from Canada) has probably seen the large, rusting wreck in the middle of the rapids leading the way towards the Horseshoe Falls. I remember being a kid and having my grandfather point it out to me, saying it was a barge that had broken free of its moorings and got stuck in the middle of the rapids. But what's the real story? Not to say my granddad was lying, but there's a way you explain things to an eight year old and a way you explain things to an adult. So, for this week's "Over the Waves", I decided to research the history behind this hulking wreck, referred to in publications as "The Niagara Scow" or "The Old Scow".

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Over the Waves: SS Alexandria

The SS Alexandria was a steam paddle boat that travelled along the Great Lakes from 1866-1915. She was originally constructed as a freight vessel, but was then refitted and extended to allow for passenger travel, making runs all along the Canadian shores with the occasional trip across to the United States. Towards the end of her career, however, she was changed back into a freight ship, moving goods from one port to the next.

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Introduction: From Ontario to the Ocean

I've been interested in ships and shipwrecks since I was a kid. I distinctly remember learning the story of the RMS Titanic when I was four years old, and then driving my grandfather crazy while belting out the song "They Built the Ship Titanic" over and over again for hours. She was the first ship I fell in love with, and I was hooked.

As I got older, my interests diversified (as they do). Even though there would be years where my books on Titanic and other ships like her stayed on the shelves as I read about Anthropology or learned French and Japanese, I always came back to them. When I finished my post-grad and had to pick where my internship was going to be, it only seemed fitting that I pick somewhere on the coast.

The minute I landed in St. John's and stood at the side of the harbour, I was taken in by the diversity of the ships there. I had just watched an episode of Mighty Ships and had seen the special on the CCGS Terry Fox, and suddenly there she was, 10ft from me. Ever since then, I've sought out information on every "pretty boat" that has come in through the Narrows.

I created this blog to share my love of ships, both past and present. The format is going to be as follows: Mondays will be "On the Waves", featuring a ship or shipwreck from the past. Fridays are "This Week in the Harbour", which will feature a select few of the ships that have come into the harbour and talk about their functions.

I hope you all enjoy!