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Shipwrecks of Georgian Bay
Curated by: Mindy Gill
April, 2005 to March, 2011
Georgian Bay is known for its strong autumn gales, and the storms that rage across its waters have contributed to the sinking of many vessels there.
There are over one hundred wrecks in the waters of Georgian Bay alone. Looking out over Georgian Bay today, we can only imagine the many steamers and passenger ships that plied its waters and we can not even begin to fathom the ordeal of enduring a nautical disaster.
As you read these stories, think about the people: those who survived and those who succumbed to the waters. Think about the vessels, many of which still lie on the bottom of the bay. Think about the rescuers, the families and the towns that were touched by the loss of these vessels.
Ships featured in this exhibit were:
- Asia - Built in 1873, Simpson, St. Catherines, ON
- Manasoo - Built 1888, W. Hamilton & Co. Glasgow, Scotland, Hull #64,MACASSA
- Hibou - Built 1907, Bertram Engine Works, Toronto, ALICE
- Mary Ward - Built 1864, A. Cantin, Montreal
- Waubuno - Built 1865, M. Simpson, Port Robinson (Thorold) ON
- Maintoulin - Built 1880, J. Simpson, Owen Sound, ON
- J.H. Jones - Built 1888, W. Marlton, Goderich, ON
- City of Owen Sound - Built 1875, J. Simpson, Owen Sound, ON, renamed SATURN
Asia and Ontario docked in Kincardine
The 136 foot Asia was built in St. Catharines by Melancthon Simpson in 1873. She was a wooden passenger and package freight vessel.
On September 14, 1882, Asia was lost during a storm on Georgian Bay, near Byng Inlet. Only 2 passengers survived and 100 or more lives were lost.
She had been carrying a full load of general merchandise, passengers, shanty men, horses, and lumber camp supplies.
One of those who perished was J.H. Tinkiss who had survived the wreck of Manitoulin just 4 months earlier. He was the uncle of Duncan Tinkiss.
To this day, Asia has never been found.
|Lifeboat returning to SS Manitoba from the SS Manosoo|
The 190 foot S.S. Manasoo was originally built as Macassa in 1888 by W. [Lifeboat returning to SS Manitoba from the
SS Manasoo] Hamilton & Co. in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1928, her name was changed to Manasoo and her official number was C93932. She was a steel passenger and package freight vessel.
She was lost during a storm on September 15th, 1928 in mid-Georgian Bay, near the Griffith Island light. Of the 21 on board, 16 lost their lives.
She was carrying cattle and 2 passengers.
Built in 1907 by Bertram Engine Works in Toronto, Ontario as #C122260, as Alice, a quarantine vessel. In 1928 she was renamed Hibou and the 122 foot steel ship went into service for the Dominion Transportation Company Ltd.
On November 21st, 1936 about 4 miles out of Owen Sound near Squaw Point, Hibou was lost due to a storm and shifting cargo. 7 out of the 17 lives on board were lost .
Hibou was carrying flour and general merchandise.
In 1942, she was recovered, rebuilt and sold to Pan American Steamship Corporation. In March of 1953, she foundered off of Tocapila, Chile.
We continue to have for sale in our gift shop the series of 9 booklets that were written by Scott Cameron, a local marine historian. There is a booklet for each of the above ships cronicalling it's history plus one for the Jane Miller, another ship that sank in Georgian Bay. They can be purchased at our gift shop for $2.00 each or $12 for the set of 9.
If you wish to order a set, please contact us at 519-371-3333 or through our contact page.
The 139 foot wooden passenger and package freight vessel was originally built as Simcoe in 1864 by A.
|Mary Ward Plaque|
Cantin in Montreal, Quebec. She was later renamed North and in 1970 she was named Mary Ward. [Mary Ward Plaque]
In November 24th, 1872 Mary Ward was lost during a storm at Nottawasaga Bay, north-east of Collingwood.
She was carrying coal oil and salt. 8 lives of the 27 on bo ard were lost.
In recognition of the incident, Milligan's Reef would later come to be known as the Mary Ward Shoal.
The 135 foot wooden passenger and package freight vessel was built in 1865 by M. Simpson in Port Robinson, Ontario.
Waubuno was lost near Parry Sound, Ontario on November 22nd, 1879 when she disappeared in a storm.
At the time, she was bound for Parry Sound from Collingwood with a load of passengers and freight. All 24 lives on board were lost.
The wreck of Waubuno was located in 1959 by divers.
In the spring, a ship’s hull was found upside down behind Moose Point in a shallow channel between two islands. It was identified as Waubuno, but there was nothing inside.
Although we may never really know what happened, it is believed that the vessel capsized on the reef and the machinery and heavy cargo tore away the upper cabins pinning them and the occupants to the bottom of Haystack Reef.
The 152 foot wooden passenger and package freight vessel, Manitoulin, was built in 1880 by J. Simpson in Owen Sound, Ontario.
In spring of 1883, the rebuilt Manitoulin # C85491 was re-launched as the Atlantic.
On May 18th 1882, Manitoulin caught fire 4 miles out of Manitowaning, Ontario in Georgian Bay. In all, eleven people lost their lives in the disaster. The Manitoulin burned to the waterline and everything aboard was lost including livestock, feed, machinery, and shipments of goods for the local merchants.
One passenger by the name of J.H. Tinkiss survived the fire of Manitoulin, but he would fall victim to the wreck of Asia later that September.
City of Owen Sound
The 172 foot wooden freighter was built in Owen Sound, Ontario by J. Simpson in 1875.
City of Owen Sound in Owen Sound Harbour - from the collection of the Collingwood Museum
On October 24th, 1887 she was wrecked by a storm a half mile east of the Clapperton Island light in the North Channel. Fortunately, no lives were lost.
City of Owen Sound, #C71181 was owned by the Collingwood Transportation Co. Later she was recovered and in 1896 rebuilt as Saturn.
The 107 foot J.H. Jones, also known as John H. Jones, #C90769 was built in Goderich by W. Marlton in 1888. She was a wooden passenger and package freight vessel.
On November 22, 1906 J.H. Jones was lost during a storm on Georgian Bay, just east of Cape Croker. All on board perished in the cold waters of Georgian Bay.
J.H. Jones was carrying passengers, bricks, machinery and oil.