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La Canadienne


"LA CANADIENNE".                 Sunk in the Welland Canal , 1912

The passage of a ship through the old Welland Canal occupied the best part of a day. It was customary when the hydrographic ships, "Bayfield" or "La Canadienne", entered the canal for those who were free to go over and visit Niagara , and rejoin the ship at the other end of the canal

In 1912, the "La Canadienne" was upbound for Lake Superior with Charles Savary in charge. When we rejoined her at Port Colborne we learned she was lying on the bottom of Lock 22. We found our effects, oil and water-stained, piled in a stable near by.

She had entered the lock with the gates closing behind her, and was still slowly under way being checked by the mooring lines* One line was insecure and slipped and the ship bore gently into the gates ahead. Her weight and slow headway was sufficient to dislodge these and the full contents of the next lock tore the gates away and all came down on the ship and drove her into the lock wall, and her bottom opened up.

The wall of water washed over the lock wall and swept two young men away. They were drowned farther down.

"La Canadienne" was docked at the old Muir drydock, Port Dalhousie, for repairs  and the staff returned to Ottawa

We were reimbursed for the loss or damage to our cabin contents, though some of the items of clothing of one of the, staff, such as a dress suit and a quantity of silk socks, etc, were questioned by the department and disallowed. They were ruled to be clothing not required and unsuitable- for: work on the north shore of Lake Superior .

The department made compensation arrangements for the loss of the two young men.

The "sailor" whose line was insecurely fastened was a Cockney from the heart of London. The crew that year, taken on in Quebec, were a mixed lot, Frenchmen from the St.Lawrence woods and Englishmen from overseas.                               

"La Canadienne" was again wrecked, in 1916, in Black Bay, north shore of Lake Superior, in a gale of wind, and her bottom stove in.

H. D. Parizeau was in charge.

Mr. W. J. Stewart went west to Port Arthur to superintend salvage and repair operations.