Parry Sound’s shipping history is more than the tragic sinking of the Waubuno or the later catastrophe surrounding the sinking of the Asia. The eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay is the final resting place of many ships.
Although Tobermory on the western coast of Georgian Bay is a Mecca for divers searching the many shipwrecks that rest at the bottom of the bay at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, there is also an abundant opportunity for explorers to dive around wrecks on the Parry Sound region of the Bay.
The wreckage of the Waubuno rests in the water off Wreck Island. Although the Waubuno gets a lot of attention, there are other wrecks that can be explored by divers in this area.
The Northern Belle, a vessel that many historians of the Owen Sound and Bruce Peninsula are very familiar with, lies off Byng Inlet. Further south, the Metamora can be found off the shore at Shawanaga. Some of the other vessels which have found a watery grave in the waters off the shoreline of the Parry Sound area include the steamer Emma, the schooner Jane McLeod, and the Seattle. And, another famous wreck, the Atlantic, can be found in the Killbear Channel
Although the wreckage of many ships resting at the bottom of Georgian is associated by harsh weather and cruel seas, there is another burial ground for ships in this region that is unique.
Only a few hundred metres to the south of the town dock in Parry Sound is “Wreck Bay” or as it is known to some old salts, “Boneyard Bay”. Here is the final resting place of several local vessels including the "Sailor Queen" which was a steamer tug owned and operated as a fishing vessel by John Perks.
What is unique about this watery graveyard is that most, if not all, of the vessels here were scuttled. This means that their owners salvaged what they wanted and then towed the hull and sent it to its final resting place. In the case of the Sailor Queen, the superstructure was salvaged before the hull was sunk.
So the next time you are at the town dock in Parry Sound, walk out to end, and cast your eyes straight forward and there just at the limit of you sight path, beneath the water, rests more important players in the maritime history of the Parry Sound area.
List of Lighthouses on the Great Lakes: If you have names and/or pictures of Great Lakes Lighthouses please submit them along with details of their location.
Hindman Transportation Company was a well-known Great Lakes shipping company for many years. Here you will find pictures of many of the Hindman ships
Owen Sound Harbour – A Photographic History, by Robert A. Cotton is a book that interests my historiographical curiosity.
Commercial Great Lakes Fishing It is probably safe to suggest that the commercial fishing industry was an important part of the early growth of this region.
A Georgian Bay fishing vacation has long been a popular attraction in the Bruce Peninsula region. During fishing derbies, the regional waterways are dotted with fishing boats of all shapes and sizes.
The Georgian Bay Mackinaw, designed by William Watts of Collingwood is an example of a Georgian Bay innovator creating a vessel to service the needs local mariners.
Great Lakes fishing is an asset that is protected and developed, not only for its economic potential but also for those who just enjoy spending a day by the side of a river or in small fishing boats trying to catch “the big one”!
Great Lakes Fishing History is not without its controversy. The impact of the fishing industry was such that it played an important role in the development of communities along the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron shoreline.
Georgian Bay Travel Before the Winter Freeze-Up could be a dangerous time for mariners in the early years in this region.
A Harbinger of Spring on the Great Lakes in pioneer times, was the eagerly awaited news that a lighthouse had been lit and shipping traffic could begin sailing from port to port.
Lumber Hookers Lumber hookers and tugs were an important innovation to improve the transportation of lumber on Georgian Bay.
Mapmakers on Georgian Bay were also explorers. They mapped the Georgina Bay shoreline noting safe harbours, dangerous reefs and other guides for sailors and pioneer settlers looking for a place to call home.
Paddling Georgian Bay & Pondering: traversing parts of this great waterway in a canoe leads one to wonder about the ships of a bygone era battling the rough seas they encountered.
Parry Sound Shipping History: The Parry Sound area has always been connected to the southern regions of the Province of Ontario by a system of good roads. Or has it?
Parry Sound’s shipping history 2 is more than the tragic sinking of the Waubuno or the later catastrophe surrounding the sinking of the Asia.
Sailing Season Closing: A Frantic Time on Peninsula as ships raced from port to port delivering and picking up passengers and produce before the waterways froze.
Ship Captain Andrew Port was not only a dynamic and brave Georgian Bay mariner, he was a personal favourite historical character of mine.
Ships Stuck in Ice: The Oak Glen was icebound in 1996 but this sailing hazard has been impacting vessels on Georgian Bay since the beginning of time.
Lake Huron shipwrecks, the Hibou often occurred in the Georgian Bay region of that Great Lake due to the often violent waters that could strike unsuspecting vessels like the Hibou.
Shipwrecks: The "Asia" wrecked off the eastern coast of Georgian Bay taking all but two of the more than 100 passengers to a watery grave.
Masters, Mates, and Pilots Association created its first Canadian chapter on Georgian Bay, providing maritime safety education, and other seafaring issues to better inform its membership.
Pioneer Travel Aboard the Fly Tells the story of a sailing vessel as the tenuous link between survival and death in a pioneer settlement in the 1840's in Upper Canada.
Sailing Stories: the Captain Who Smelled his way into Port The Captain Who Smelled his Way into Port details how pioneer seamen on Georgian Bay safely sailed the rough waters without the aid of the modern technological tools so readily used by today's mariners.
Sailing Story: The Voyage of the Prince Alfred the incredible voyage of the Prince Alfred, fraught with danger for both vessel and the crew in the winter of 1880.
Sailing stories: Owen Sound Shipbuilding Sailing stories date from the earliest time of settlement in the Bruce Peninsula region. Busy shipyards dotted the Owen Sound bay where shipbuilding took place, sometimes at a feverish pace. They are interesting adventures often providing enlightening views of the nature of the human race.
Shipbuilding As the southern Georgian Bay region became more populated shipping traffic increased to meet the needs of an expanding market place.
The Summer of 1844 was No Picnic for the early settlers in the pioneer area near what would become Owen Sound on Georgian Bay.
The CPR Grain Elevator Fire of 1911 spelled the end of Owen Sound's role as the eastern terminus of the CPR Great Lakes Fleet.
Georgian Bay shipping occurred long before the first Europeans paddled these waters. But the fur and timber trades opened Georgian Bay to shipping in a big way!