Sunday, April 5, 2009

A distinguished career

Another beauty in Toronto's harbour right now is the Canadian Leader. According to, the Leader entered service in 1967, shortly after the Canadian Miner (see below). Back then, her name was the Feux-Follets. She was the flagship of a fleet owned by a Montreal-based company called Papachristidis Shipping Ltd.

In 1972, she was sold to Upper Lakes Shipping of Toronto, which owns her to this day, and renamed the Canadian Leader. Boatnerd descibes the Leader as a "classic Great Lakes bulk steamer." She certainly cuts an interesting profile in Toronto, where she's moored at what was once the terminal for the Spirit of Ontario, the ferry that briefly linked Toronto and Rochester. Unfortunately, the ferry service proved unsustainable. But at least the terminal, which looks like it was just finished yesterday, is being used for something close to its original purpose.

The Leader has certainly had an interesting career on the lakes. She's been involved in at least four scrapes, mostly involving groundings and minor collisions with docks and bridges. The most recent of these incidents appears to be a September 2005 grounding on the St. Lawrence River.

Still, a forty-two-year-old iron boat is bound to get a little scuffed up, and its nothing a little trip to the drydock won't fix.

To read the entry on the Canadian Leader, click here, then search for "Canadian Leader" using the box on the left-hand side.

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