Sunday, 10 February 2019

Modelling Canadian Dredge & Dock

Located on Kingston's Inner Harbour, just past the causeway on the Hanley Spur/west side, Canadian Dredge & Dock was a longtime resident of the area. The dry dock that anchored the site (pun intended) was built in the late 19th century, changing ownership from Davis to CD&D in the 1930's. The site's heyday was a centre of operations during the dredging and construction of the St Lawrence Seaway which opened in 1959. CD&D built many vessels, and remarkably, the site remains in use by fabricator MetalCraft Marine! These two photos, by CD&D employee Stefan Nybom, include one taken from the Imperial Oil tanks (above) and from a dredge (below). Remarkable!
The 1963 insurance map (below) shows a CPR spur serving the Stores building, which is seen just behind the tugboat-on-barge in the above photo.
Initially, I had lots of space for the 'inner harbour' part of my layout, which is centred on a peninsula. So far, the freight shed and unloading ramp, through track to Canadian Locomotive Co., Sowards Coal, S. Anglin and now CD&D are sharing this peninsula. Seeing that spur in Stefan's photo, I definitely wanted to make room for CD&D to receive loads, which I would imagine was the purpose of the spur, though it also reached the yard. Until, of course, I find a photo to prove otherwise! More inspiration...the brigantine St Lawrence II in the dry dock, mid-70's: 
Fun fact - when searching online for a proper CD&D logo for modelling purposes, Google wants to show me many, more references for the dredging scandal and the landmark legal case involving CD&D.
To get started, I wanted a tugboat. Some of the vessels were small enough to be lifted out of the water by crane so could be modelled on dry land. I'm no expert in epoxy water modelling! But modelling a dry dock isn't really water modelling. In fact, I'd have to cut a 'hole' in the benchwork to show a vessel in drydock. Hmmm...
But after seeing HO scale tugboat models starting at $85, I wanted to try something new. So, a $2 block of plasticene from the dollar store was a starting point. Nurse, scalpel! The surgery was a success, with CD&D colours and details applied. This closeup photo is less than flattering, but wait until I get the tug 'on stage' in the scene....
Heavy equipment, work buildings, scratchbuilt tug and barge are now in the scene. I'm still considering the idea of cutting a drydock into the benchwork!
Just to the left of these photos, a single spur now serves three industries: CD&D, Shell Oil and S. Anglin Co.


  1. Stefan Nybom's photos are awesome. Lots of dredge action! I distinctly remember the four ships berthed on the causeway for some time after I moved to Kingston as a kid. Is anything known about them?

  2. I think they were Halco canallers, Drew. Since remaining canallers wintered here, it must have been second nature to keep them here as they slowly outlived their usefulness.

    The Nybom photos are truly awesome because of the detail and scope of each one, but how he took them must have been a story in itself.

    I'm reliving Mark R. talking about Knapp boats, the Inch Arran and all that other *interesting* folklore he absorbed while living alongside the causeway!

    Thanks for your comment,

  3. Interesting; I googled canallers & Kingston and came up with lots of photos, but none from Kingston! Yes, I remember the excitement of seeing Inch Arran as a kid each time my parents drove across the causeway, although then I called it "the battleship". Mark R. was indeed interested in the goings-on in the inner harbour, with an enthusiasm for dredges in general, and Primrose in particular. As usual, I regret not taking photos of that area back then.

    1. Not that I ever expected to be modelling the Hanley Spur, but I have very few photos of that entire part of town. Surprising! I don't remember the 'Inch' at all!
      Thanks for your comment, Drew.

  4. More info, Drew. A Whig photo shows Coniscliffe Hall leaving Kingston in 1973 - one of the Hall canallers that had been at causeway for 3 yrs. Remember the Wittransport that was renamed, eventually going to the Caribbean to haul water? It was Northcliffe Hall, another of the Halco ships. Coniscliffe Hall was going to be a drilling ship, and may have been the last Halco canaller to operate under its own power.
    Hope this helps,

  5. Yes, much ink was spilt over the presence of Cape Transport which became Wittransport II, mainly over how she was an eyesore. I couldn't find her ultimate fate but I imagine it was inauspicious like many of her sister ships (sinking, being cut up for scrap, etc).


I'm happy to hear from you. Got a comment about the Hanley Spur?