Saturday, May 19, 2018

Postscript - Kingston Grain Elevator Ships

My previous post covered Kingston's waterfront grain elevator that was served by CN. But the raison d'etre for the elevator was lakers, and earlier, canallers. During our time in Kingston, the enlarging of the Seaway had led to the end of the canallers. But lakers were still prevalent. Straight-deckers, not self-unloaders. We lounged at a picnic table while Coverdale wintered 1969-1970 (L.C. Gagnon top photos). Here's Coverdale in colour in March, 1970:
The Whig-Standard pictured Coverdale on December 22, 1969, with Halco's Stonefax unloading road salt at the Crawford wharf: 
Ten years later, Hall Corporation's Vandoc was docked in the calm waters on the elevator's east side in November, 1979:
The west side was used for laid-up lakers, such as the Canada Steamship Lines former package freighter French River also photographed in November, 1979:

The following summer, Murray Bay was being unloaded, with Helen McAllister tug at the bow in August, 1980. Fort Henry on the west side and another laker waiting to dock, visible just off the stern:
By 1982, as self-unloaders came on the scene and older, obolete boats like Hochelaga were rafted on the west side of the elevator, awaiting an uncertain future. Hochelaga had had mechanical problems and was kept in Thunder Bay as a spare self-unloader before coming to Kingston:
 Hochelaga in July, 1982 (above) along with Fort York and Fort Henry:

The plucky Troisdoc is seen docked closest to shore in July, 1982. Previously docked at the LaSalle Causeway, some ne'er-do-well cut her lines and while the RCMP was investigating, she was moved here. One of the very last canallers in Seaway use:
Two years later, as winter approached, Hochelaga, now flanked outward by CSL ships Nipigon Bay and T.R. McLagan, with the grey-hulled Metis closest to King Street:
In November, 1984 (left to right) Whitefish Bay, Hochelaga, Nipigon Bay, T R McLagan, with Metis closest to camera. Only METIS, WHITEFISH BAY, and T R Mc LAGAN  came back out. The Metis is now a barge, the WHITEFISH BAY went overseas to China in 1989, and the McLAGAN went overseas as OAKGLEN(2) in 2003. HOCHELAGA 1949-1993 overseas to Colombia, and the NIPIGON BAY 1952-1989 overseas to Turkey.
Note CN switch target designated track KM21 (above) leading to the westernmost track. Whitefish Bay is low in the water:

These photos were posted online, showing some unusual ships docked near the elevator. Two Royal Canadian Navy destroyer escorts, with DDE 265, HMCS Annapolis in foreground. We visited HMCS Ottawa docked here in July, 1969. At that time, the Ottawa was docked on the east side, with its bow pointed out into the lake.
a wooden-hulled hulk on a barge:

Running extra...

When Harry Married Meghan. Windsor Castle was the scene of this this morning's wedding.
Up at 4:30 a.m., the coffee was perking and the scones were warming.

An evening of railfanning this past week saw me being treated royally by CN and VIA. Sixteen trains in four hours! CN No 518 ventured east from Belleville with 28 tie gons full of new ties. Safely stashed in Queens, the light power returned west within the hour.
Prairie Branch Line Rehabilitation gons among them (below). Within a few days, I hope to have copies of both Trains & Grains books in hand. They're currently being printed. Profiling the cars, branchlines and the grain elevators they served. How have the mighty fallen (the gons AND the elevators - glad I got there in time)!


Robert Archer said...

Very interesting post. You are a Boatnerd as well as a railfan!.
The CSL package freighters used to go to Port Credit once the package terminal in the Port of Toronto was closed. I remember seeing them around 1968 or 69. They hauled a lot of newsprint to Toronto. Kingsway Transports was a CSL subsidiary and their trucks hauled the rolls of newsprint to the three Toronto dailies. There were other cargoes as well but it is the newsprint that sticks out in my mind.

Eric said...

Yes, I have a few verious interests that end in '-nerd'!

Thanks for your comment, Robert. Indeed, the package freighters served some niche markets but didn't seem to generate enough business to make the relatively short hauls cost-effective. Imagine if there was a 'short-sea' business on the lakes using containers instead of 'loose freight' that required more handling on the docks! Those newspapers would have consumed a large amount of newsprint - a voracious appetite for newsprint for voracious readers!


GP9Rm4108 said...

Truly a treasure beside the tracks!

Eric said...

Indeed, Chris. Some of the lake elevators were better known - Midland, Sarnia, Collingwood, Toronto, Prescott come to mind. Perhaps Kingston's was the most tucked-away, safely hidden behind Wolfe Island and for most of its life on a lakeside two-lane road. I'm sure there were many more ships docked there that were unphotographed, but at least this is a sampling.

Thanks for your comment,

Robert Archer said...

As a follow up comment Eric - I think that the winter freeze up interruption in service is what killed off the CSL package freight business. The railways could deliver the newsprint without it having to be stockpiled.
The Star printed 5 editions a day; the Tely 4 and the Globe 2.
I recall the package service ceasing about 1973 or 4.
Continuing with the Lakers In Kingston theme, I recall seeing lakers rafted together in the inner harbour. They might have been canallers laid up after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959.
I saw on another blog that your dad came from the Lachute area. My Grandmother lived there as well She passed in 1963 and we made our final trip there in 64.
So, stopping in Kingston was always done on the journey from Cooksville to Lachute. There was a shopping centre on the west end of town where we would have lunch and then we would drive through town to Fort Henry. My dad always like to stop at Fort Henry.
Then we would often go Highway 15 through Smith Falls and Ottawa to Hawksbury and then to Lachute,
So, that is how I came to see the lakers rafted somewhere in the inner harbour in Kingston.
All of which was a long time ago. It might be before your time.
Kingston is maybe the most interesting town in Ontario.

Eric said...

Good point about the freeze-up, Robert! Yes, canallers of various fleets were sometimes laid up in the inner harbour.

That would be my brother David's blog. He hosts several, including family history. I have come across a few folks who know about Lachute!

Growing up in Montreal, we could not predict that our family would move to Kingston. Before we did, it was always a pleasant day trip. Fort Henry loomed large for us, too. Truly history brought to life. The Kingston Shopping Centre is still there, albeit in a slightly different format. And due to Kingston's growth, that is now much closer to the centre of the Greater Kingston Area.

Thanks for sharing your memories!

Anonymous said...

What Robert Archer may be remembering are the four Hall Company ships that were tied up side-by-side beside the LaSalle Causeway from the late '60s until about 1974-75 when they were moved out. They were considered an eyesore and as I recall the city was quite adamant about their removal. There are some photos on the "Vintage Kingston" Facebook page that I uploaded several years ago.

Eric said...

Indeed, A., the 1947-built Wittransport II (ex-Cape Transport?) was another canaller eyesore, finally towed to the Caribbean for freshwater transport.

Thanks for your comment, and Vintage Kingston Facebook truly is the home to some fine photos: Kingston railway, marine and a host of other photo subjects.


Drew Makepeace said...

This, and the other post of the grain elevator, are very interesting to read. I'm not sure if I've shared these two images before or not, taken in 2984:


Eric said...

Thanks, Drew. You did share those awesome photes before. Those old girls were sitting ducks for passing photographers. Such an interesting 'fleet' of classic lakers!