CANADIANA ON AN EXCURSION RUN
CANADIANA DOCKED AT CLEVELAND, OHIO
ninety-four year history of the Canadiana
is both interesting and heartbreaking. She
spent her first forty-eight years transporting passengers across Lake Erie. However, the next forty years proved more dismal
including numerous ownership transfers and failed restoration attempts. Many knew what potential remained, yet
reality was cruel and that potential was never capitalized. Ultimately, the headline-making passenger vessel
was reduced to another ship lost in Lake Eries history.
The Canadiana was first built in 1910 by the
Buffalo Dry Dock Co. of Buffalo, New York.
The two-hundred-ten footlong, triple-decker vessel transported up to
2,500 passengers first between Buffalo and Crystal Beach, Ontario, and then
later from Toledo and Bob-Lo Island. She
also embarked on sunset and moonlight cruises.
All of this took place until the 1950s when a series of unfortunate
events put the ship on the market.
Over the next fifty years, ownership of the
vessel transferred nearly a dozen times and each with their ideas of how to use
her. Many owners hoped to return her to
her fomer glory transporting and entertaining passengers; unfortunately, that
never happened. One owner hoped to use
the ship to take passengers between Cleveland and Cedar Point. There was not enough dock space at Cedar
Point to make that a reality. Another hoped
to transform the vessel into a floating night club, and later someone else
wanted to create a restaurant. Again,
the ideas never capitalized.
As if so
many ownership transfers were not enough, the vessel experienced a number of
unfortunate events in her history . On July
31, 1958, she crashed into the Toledo Terminal Railroad Bridge. While awaiting repairs from the collision, ice
rammed the vessel resulting in an eighteen inch hole across the bow and almost
caused the vessel to sink. Just when it
looked like reconstruction was to begin in by the American Ship Building Co., the
businesses ceased operations before the transformation could take place. In March 1963, the vessel washed up on the
Niagara Thruway in Black Rock when warm weather caused the thickest ice in
recent years to break, taking the boat ashore.
In February 1981, she broke away from moorings and sank at Collision
Bend (Cleveland, Ohio) and raised in June 1983.
Five years later,
it seemed the Canadiana would finally
receive the attention it deserved. In
1988, the vessel was towed back to Port Colborne and completely stripped with
hopes to restore it to meet current standards.
The first idea was to return her to Lake Erie transporting passengers,
but plans were diverted to transform the vessel into a museum. In 1994, a grant was awarded for the
restoration efforts; unfortunately, the funding was withdrawn less than a year
later. The Canadianas met its fate in 2004 when she was dismantled and
scrapped. The engine was sent to
Buffalo, other parts, including the pilot house, were salvaged and turned into
by Jessica Maiberger