C.S.L. Lakers tied up for winter off shipyard, 1948

winter, waterfront, ice bridge, Wolfe Island, Kingston, Ontario

Queen’s University Archives, George Lilley fonds, V25.6-1-9

In honour of the first day of Spring, we thought we’d provide readers with an image of some melting ice! For much of its earlier existence, Kingston was a key commercial shipping centre on the Great Lakes. Prior to the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway to navigation in 1959, the City acted largely as an important transshipment point for goods travelling down bound from the upper Lakes, destined for world markets. Until relatively recently, it was also one of the harbours used by transportation companies to tie up their ships when winter’s icy blasts froze both lake and river until Spring once again released them. This was clearly the case on 8 January 1948, when George Lilley flew along the Kingston waterfront, and captured a number of Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) lakers, including one in dry dock, anchored for the season in front of the Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited site (off to the reader’s right is the Canadian Locomotive Company Limited complex). Also caught in this image, though as little more than a series of dots running from right to left off the port side of the ships, are the trees marking the traditional “ice bridge” to Wolfe Island.