Saturday, 4 September 2021

Walking Montreal and Rideau Streets, August 2021

What better way to spend my waiting-time at Krown Rust Kontrol than to try to discover some new angles along Montreal and Rideau Streets? It was a warm day, and I ended up hoofing it all the way to Caaraqui Street. Crossing Montreal Street, I stood on th S-shaped entrance road to Village on the River, photographing the former Chown warehouse, now the service building for the Village complex. This is the spot at which the Hanley Spur approached the mainline. Grand Trunk Terrace (top photo) and former Outer Station/Pig & Whistle losing its roof and soffits:
The former Bailey broom factory at Rideau and Cataraqui Streets looks ready to be inhabited by latte-drinking, networking shared-spacers!
The new north wall - siding over brick, large windows that I resisted the temptation to peer in thereby not leaving greasy nose-marks on this otherwise modern-looking repurposing!
The National Grocers building looks on sternly yet approvingly:
An open door formerly used to unload boxcars on the CN spur. Resisting another temptation to rubber-neck in there, I knew that the door looked 'vintage' but the interior was more modern!
Cataraqui Street side of the 'Bailey'. A multiple-unit residential building remains to be built just north on Rideau Street:
That time-honoured view down Cataraqui Street at Rideau Street. The Woolen Mill and National Grocers are the remaining buildings of this former industrial quartet since the Rosen Fuels fire:
Heading north on the Urban K&P Trail (parallel CN and CP tracks, formerly), I noted that the multi-use sign has been grown'over by its tree-host!
Nicely landscaped by the city, the west side of the Trail behind buildings fronting Rideau Street has been blocked off by construction fence (below). Rambling encampments and folks lounging around the Integrated Care Hub were accompanied by random paths into the woods, odd smells, and litter between here and Montreal Street. I met a family of cyclists but few other users in this area.
The road less travelled? The Trail continues toward the Railway/Montreal intersection, while the needle disposal box on the former CN alignment marks an unofficial trail that passes behind houses along Montreal Street past the Village on the River complex:
The former McKenna's grocery store, perhaps no longer recognizable with its metal cladding and oval doorways in stonework. The side elevation gives it away!
1950 view, Queen's University Archives photo:

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Body Shop at 14 James Street

On a recent walk downtown, I discovered this neat building at 14 James Street. I use the term false-front but perhaps square-front because it may lack the lower, peaked roof normally associated with false-fronts. The various light-blue doors and the integration with the adjacent houses really caught my eye. My photo (top) had a truck and dumpster in front that Google Streetview did not:
Several social-media commenters added some additional information on this interesting building:

Vince Dillon
Not sure it could have been a bodyshop years ago
Doug McEathron
Is that at the bottom of James near Rideau street. If so than it was a body shop in the early 70’s. I took my 71 Torino there for a paint job. Good work.

Hal Murphy
In the early 70's it was a body shop owned by Don Snowden....I worked for him for a few weeks. He lived on Bath Road in Amherstview and later it was owned by Terry ??? and it was called Modern Collison....Modern collison is on Duff Street now.

Doug McEathron
Yes that was the name of it and I think it was Don who owned it when I got my car painted.

It was also operated by Dwight Cota at one point. Don't know if he owned it or leased it.
I sure did my first was white painted it red.. and another one many years later like 1994.Dwight Cota .painted it red too and i did alot of handy work on it . tranny and wiper motor replace seats..vintage 912 ..then blew the motor on the 401! near Oshawa ...whoops.

Bill Wilkinson
I had the body shop right after Snowden with Dwight Cota. Had some great times in there.⁠

Mike McCormick
Delivered gas cylinders to Snowdens there, in late 70's. Then met him on his Amherstview dock,once The View had a new beer store. We came over from Island by boats. 

Union Food Trucks were just up the street too. They ran Gut Trucks all over Kingston. Great Western sandwiches!!
Derrick Ethridge
The shop used to be Don Snowden's auto body shop back in the early 1970's. Later Don moved the shop to Elliot Avenue, where a towing yard is now. Don worked with a helper most of the time. He could fit one car in the paint booth and two in the shop.

Aww Martins old place, Cannot spit out his last name at the moment but late 40's early 50's that was Harvey Gardiners body shop for the main garage at Montreal and charles. Yankovick I believe and Red ran it, worked there with Earl and Cliff Bauder before he started his own shop on Woodbine.
Mike Wilkinson
My father Terry had a body shop there in the late 80s. Modern Collision Service. Which is now located on Duff. I remember being in there as a young lad.

Now, of course, 14 James Street looks like an excellent candidate for my Hanley Spur layout structure collection!

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Kingston's Tour Train

It came from Niagara...for years, before Kingston Trolley Tours, there was the Confederation Tour Train. The Niagara Choo-Choo was temporarily lettered ‘Retail Merchants of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce’ and was touring downtown Kingston in November, 1966 (above, on Brock Street). A jeep hauled two single-axle trailers around downtown and across the causeway to Royal Military College:

The original Tour Train in Kingston was a train ‘shape’ cut out of plywood then painted. Passengers’ seats were constructed by local Canadian Penitentiary Service by Collins Bay or Joyceville Penitentiary prisoners. The power train was upgraded, but the weight of those seats eventually wore out the engine. 
Fittingly, the Tour Train was front-and-centre at City Hall during the visit of the Confederation Train, August 22-25, 1967:

(All Queen's University Archives except fourth photo - from Vintage Kingston FB group)


Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Coal Boat 'PatDoris'

Sowards Coal operated the steel tow barge White Star and the PatDoris – a 200-foot steam-powered vessel in use between 1924 and the 1940’s. The PatDoris  brought coal to Kingston from ports on the New York side. The ship had been built in the UK and owned by local businessmen and coal merchants Crawford and Swift. Pat was one of the daughters of the Swift family, and yes; Doris was a daughter of the Crawford family. There were several more boats making the coal run across the Lake Ontario.

From the Toronto Maritime History Society 'Scanner' newsletter: The steam collier PATDORIS, (a) ARDGATH, (b) YORKMINSTER, which was operated onwards frm 1924 in the Lake Ontario coal trade by J. F. Sowards of Kingston. She later belonged to the Maple Leaf Steamship Company Ltd. of Montreal and we have one report to the effect that she was sold for scrap in 1946 although it is not confirmed. PatDoris is shown on the Kingston waterfront with the Richardson No. 1 grain elevator in the background, undated but pre-1941.

Bob Crothers sailed as a teenager during the mid 1930s on the PatDoris, bringing coal several times per week from Oswego, NY. Bob describes the work on coal boats in his own words:

She was a fast boat, she could run 22 miles per hour and it took her two hours to cross the lake from Oswego to Kingston. The crew, except for the Captain and one or two older sailors, were local teenage boys. Most of them lasted only a week. The loading at Oswego was fast. She was a bulk carrier and the coal was dumped from the coal trestles through chutes into the hold. That did not take more than a few hours, and then she sailed back to Kingston. 

We had only a few hours rest between the loading and unloading work. At the coal dock beside the Kingston Water Works, a crane did the bulk of the unloading with a grab-shovel. Two big steel shells that could be opened and closed at the end of the cable. The crane dumped each load in the coal bins on the dock. Besides the bins, there were also mountains of coal all over the place. 

The crane could only do so much until there were a few feet of coal left at the bottom of the hold. The crew had to shovel the coal manually to the middle of the hold so that the grab-shovel could pick up a load. After a while that no longer worked and we had to shovel the coal by hand into the grabber… That was by far the worst! The work was not only physically demanding, but it was dirty, lots of coal dust, and in the summer with high humidity in the hold, it was almost impossible to do. The pay was good, at least in the eyes of us young boys, but most of us did not stay long. For the Captain and older crew it was not too bad, as long as they had enough younger boys willing to do the dirtiest work.

- This account from 'When Coal was King; The Nineteenth Century Kingston Water Works' by Henk Wevers, lightly edited.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Coal Dock at Rockwood Asylum

The Rockwood Asylum complex is notorious and now vacant - more likely to be used as a movie set than anything else. Yet the provincial government continues its upkeep and security patrols, mostly to keep urbex bandidos out, not the spirits within. The circa 1920 aerial view (top photo) clearly shows a dock along the Lake Ontario shoreline. It's just visible at left of this calm-water reflection shot (below). It appears there was a coal-fired boiler associated with that brick smokestack. It's easy to imagine a coal boat unloading its cargo onto the dock.
Some time later, the dock was completely filled-in (below-SkEye Stream photo) to hold more coal. The dock was equipped with bollards and other associated docking equipment: tires, cables and davits for a small boat on the eastern side of the dock. These were all on the site until recently. 
The davits, with custom-cut steel bases and no identifying marks visible, are now down and likely headed for scrap:
The coal dock was originally built in 1878 to supply heating coal to the asylum, which later became known as Kingston Psychiatric Hospital. The concrete capped wharf with steel sheet pile walls became a popular place for swimming once its use as a coal dock ended, but it has been crumbling over the decades. It was closed for safety reasons in March 2011. The dock likely has contaminants due to the historic nature of coal storage in the area.

The site was used as a parking lot until a couple of years ago, when it was fenced and posted. Now a Doornekamp wheeled excavator is parked there, having cleaned away all the junk that littered the site and scraped it clean. 

The dock was a federal property until last year when Doornekamp Construction purchased it with the understanding that the dock would remain a marine asset.  :
Looking south-west, from the nearby Lake Ontario Park waterfront trail that reaches through the Rockwood property towards Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
Currently sharing the site is the footbridge that forded another small dock-like inlet just west of the apartments on the Portsmouth Harbour western edges. The walkway is being upgraded and footbridge will likely be returned there after the work is complete. find a photo of said coal boat disgorging its carboniferous cargo there! A blue tarped item appeared there at the end of August. Turns out the site will be a cruise ship dock as of 2022. Earlier plans included the Marine Museum and Queen Street areas for such a dock. This sign says otherwise; the letters wiill spell out the word Kingston: 

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Irish Burial Site Dig at KGH


Close by our laboratory at KGH was a marker to these remains, now the site of KHSC's largest-ever  construction project. Other markers are sited along Kingston's waterfront. Aerial view, July 1964 (top photo) - before construction of the Kidd and Davies wings, FAPC and extension to Connell wing. Barely recognizable except for the heating plant! (Queen's University Archives, Kingston Whig-Standard fonds).We were told that this project would begin in 2015! I intend to visit the newly completed wing with my therapy dog on the Access Bus - that's how far in the future the completion of this most ambitious project seems to be projected! In this 1989 aerial view, the enlarge Connell Wing and Kidd/Davies wings dominate the scene: 

Archeological dig to relocate remains from Irish burial site at KGH

Historians aim to learn about the typhus epidemic and Great Famine of 1847

Please Share - Media Release August 11, 2021

KINGSTON, ONTARIO - Work is now underway at Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site to uncover a sad chapter in world history. An archeological firm has begun the process of unearthing and relocating the remains of Irish immigrants who contracted and died of typhus while escaping Ireland’s Great Famine in 1847. 

An estimated one million Irish died in what is known as the Great Irish Famine (also known as the Great Irish Hunger and Great Irish starvation) and another two and a half million were forced to leave their homeland between 1847 and 1852. An estimated 1,400 Irish immigrants died shortly after arriving in Kingston and were buried on the grounds of Kingston General Hospital (just to the west of KGH’s original Watkins wing.) 

The work to relocate the individuals buried at KGH is an integral part of KHSC’s KGH site redevelopment project, which will see the demolition of a number of older buildings, to make way for the construction of a new patient tower. The new tower will house new operating rooms, a new emergency department, laboratories, labour and delivery department, neo-natal intensive care unit and two inpatient floors. 

“While our redevelopment project is essential for KHSC to continue to meet the highly-specialized needs of patients from across southeastern Ontario, we recognize the level of care and sensitivity required to relocate a burial site such as this,” says Krista Wells Pearce, KHSC’s vice-president of Planning. “We have been working closely with representatives of the local Irish community as well as with leadership from the Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, to not only bless the site before the work began, but to respect the dignity, faith and culture of those who were buried here nearly 175 years ago.” 

In 1847, during the Great Famine, landlords were made responsible by the British government for the welfare of their Irish tenants. So, many landlords forced tenants off the land and aboard ships destined for North America. Irish citizens weakened by hunger and infected with typhus, were forced to come to Canada on these overcrowded ships. The close quarters and poor ventilation onboard, contributed to the quick spread of the disease. Many died before ever arriving in Canada, giving their vessels the grim nickname “coffin ships.”

“Around 50,000 Irish immigrants came to Kingston and about 1,400 men, women and children died of typhus and were buried at KGH,” says Tony O’Loughlin, Founder & President of Kingston Irish Folk club and the Kingston Irish Famine Commemoration Association. “At the time, KGH was a small, seasonally operated hospital and had fewer than 50 beds. It was totally overwhelmed by the large numbers of critically ill Irish patients arriving that summer.” 

Thomas Kirkpatrick, Kingston’s first mayor, and the local Board of Health set up large ‘fever sheds’ mainly along the waterfront near Emily Street, however, these were insufficient to meet the demand and filled quickly. In an effort to control the spread of the disease, the deceased were buried as quickly as possible. Remains were brought nightly by death carts to the grave site on the grounds of KGH.

“At that time the majority of citizens in Kingston were Irish and many brought the newly arrived sick individuals into their homes leading to further spread of the disease. About 300 Kingstonians also died while trying to help the newly arrived Irish. Those individuals were buried in Kingston’s upper cemetery in what is now McBurney Park. Mrs. Martin (who held the position of first Matron at KGH) and her daughter, as well as Sister Mary Magorian, a member of Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph who served Hotel Dieu Hospital are among those that contracted and died from typhus while helping the Irish,” says O’Loughlin.   

A small number of the remains, along with a large statue to mark the sacred ground, were moved to St. Mary’s cemetery during hospital expansion in 1966. However many individuals remain interred at KGH, including underneath a parking lot and under and around several buildings. Historic plaques were erected on the site, but they include incorrect information stating all of the remains had been moved from KGH grounds in 1966. The confirmation that the burials remain on the site was done by Ground Truth Archaeology in 2020. 

“Working with Infrastructure Ontario, we’ve hired a Canadian archeological firm, ASI, who bring expertise in cultural heritage conservation and experience working on both hospital and Irish famine projects,” says Wells Pearce. “They are treating this work with the respect it deserves, not only in honour of those that are buried here, but also from a greater historical perspective. They have told us that the excavation and respectful study of the remains is a unique opportunity, unprecedented in Canada, to learn more about their lives during and prior to the events of 1847.”

As part of their work, ASI has also consulted with representatives of local Indigenous communities before starting their work. 

The remains of the Irish will be re-interred in local cemeteries in the future. Kingston Health Sciences Centre has also committed to creating a public monument to these individuals once construction of the new patient tower is complete. It is expected that the excavation work will continue through the summer and into late autumn.           

Kingston General Hospital aerial view, July 1964. Before construction of the Kidd and Davies wings, FAPC and extension to Connell wing. Barely recognizable except for the heating plant! (Queen's University Archives, Kingston Whig-Standard fonds). 

The Angel of Mercy Monument was dedicated in 1894 on the grounds of the Kingston General Hospital. It marked the burial site of over 1,400 individuals: approximately 1,000 who were previously quarantined at Grosse Isle, but would pass away in Kingston, many at a local fever shed; another 400 were local Kingston residents who contracted typhus at the time.

The Angel is sculpted out of Carrara marble and holds a trumpet and a Bible that is open to the story of the Resurrection. The monument is engraved with the following passage: "In memory of his afflicted Irish compatriots, nearly 1,400 in number, who, enfeebled by famine in 1847-48, ventured across the ocean in unequipped sailing vessels, in whose fetid holds they inhaled the germs of the pestilential ‘ship-fever’ and upon reaching Kingston, perished here, despite the assiduous attention and compassionate offices of the good citizens of Kingston.  May the Heavenly Father give them eternal rest and happiness in reward of their patient suffering and Christian submission to His Holy will, through the merits of His divine Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Amen’

In 1966, the monument and some of the remains were moved to Kingston’s Upper Cemetery (St. Mary's), approximately two miles away from the original site to make room for an expansion of the General Hospital. There remains a plaque at the rear (morgue) door of the hospital to mark the approximate spot.

Thanks to Marc Shaw for additional information in this post.

Monday, 2 August 2021

The Tugboat 'Rival'

Long before the arrival of 'Theodore the Tugboat Too', a replica tug on its way from Halifax to Hamilton, Kingston harbour was home to actual working tugboats. 

Portsmouth Harbour, in its previous life prior to rejuvenation as the 1976 Olympics sailing venue, also contributed lay-up space. Sincennes-McNaughton (Sin-Mac) was originally a tugboat line based in Montreal and Sorel, QC. When Sin-Mac was part of Mohawk Navigation Ltd., several of its ships wintered here. The Red fleet like Redwood, Redcloud and Redriver were repowered tug-barges built for Red Barge Lines Ltd., later part of Sin-Mac, and wintered at Portsmouth for many years. 
Tugboats like Rival (top photo) and identical sister Felicia (above - OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons photo) were coal-burning steam tugs. Rival was on station at Portsmouth Harbour for 25 years, usually with her master of 17 years, Captain Lewis Orr.

The tug Frontenac, another familiar sight working eastern Lake Ontario for 30 years, was built by the Calvin Co. of Garden Island in 1901. Sunk in 1929 during her first year of ownership by Sin-Mac, she is now a diveable local wreck. Sin-Mac was acquired by McAllister Towing & Salvage in 1959.

Built in 1923, by Sorel Mechanical of Sorel, Quebec as the Rival for Sincennes-McNaughton of Montreal, Quebec. Interestingly, Rival was converted to oil but sank in the Welland Canal in 1931 as a result of an explosion, recovered and converted back to coal! The 85-foot tug was under the service of Lloyd Tankers in the 1930's. Rival was still in service in Montreal in the 1970's.

Lots o' links: