Saturday, August 17, 2013

The SS Lemoyne and the 40th Anniversary of the Opening of the Welland Canal

My wife recently found this brochure among the possessions of her late aunt. 

The Dominion Marine Association (DMA) was formed early in the last century as a lobby group for the Canadian Great Lakes shipping companies.   The number of Canadian ships on the Great Lakes more than doubled between 1920 and 1930, and the ship owners felt themselves at a disadvantage relative to both their American competitors and the western Canada farm lobby.  According to the brochure, in 1972 they comprised the following firms:

Many of these companies are now defunct, as is the DMA.

The SS Lemoyne was designed and built in 1926 by the Canada Steamship Lines at their Midland, Ontario shipbuilding yard.  She was launched in June of that year as the Glenmhor, which was quickly corrected to Glenmohr, and renamed Lemoyne in August. At one time, she held the record for carrying in single cargoes more grain and more coal than had ever been previously moved by any other ship.  In 1929, she carried 571,885 bushels of wheat, the product of 40,000 acres, and later the same year she carried 16,538 tons of coal to Fort William, which required 300 railroad cars to fill her hold.  The opening of the Welland Canal gave ships like her access to the lower Great Lakes and she now was able to sail to Kingston, Ontario, giving her an east-west cruising radius of more than one thousand miles.  Her last voyage brought her to Kingston in 1968, where she was converted for storage use.  A year later she was towed to the breaker's yards in Santander, Spain, giving her another record as the largest lake freighter to be scrapped to that point in time.  There is a mural on King Street in Midland dedicated to the memory of this vessel.

In 1931, the Canal permitted the ill-fated S.S. Noronic to first enter Lake Ontario and visit the ports of Toronto, Hamilton and Kingston.   See my earlier post about the burning of the Noronic in 1949.
For more pictures and information on the Great Lakes fleet, visit Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping.  Many pics of the Lemoyne can be found on the "Historical Perspectives" page.

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