When the Canadian warship HMCS Kingston sailed from Hamilton harbour last night, she was not setting out on a typical military maneuver -- she was on her way to a rendezvous with two of her nineteenth-century forebears.
The Kingston is helping out with an archaeological survey of two British merchant ships that were commandeered and armed by the Americans during the War of 1812. It's believed the two schooners, the Scourge and the Hamilton, were used in the successful American attack on York (now Toronto), before foundering in a storm in August of 1813. Both are supposedly well-preserved in the chilly depths of Lake Ontario.
The mission, which involves officials from both Canada and the United States, is expected to last the week and, if there is time, the Kingston will lower a camera into the hold of one of the ships. What will be found? Nineteenth-century weaponry? Valuable coins? The remains of the crew? Sand?
This is, of course, why we explore these old wrecks. Stay tuned.
To read the Toronto Star story about the survey mission, click here.