Canadiana was launched at the Buffalo Dry-Dock in May of 1910. This great ship
was the last passenger vessel to be built in
The Canadiana featured stately Victorian architecture,
salons appointed in rich mahogany, bevelled mirrors, brass railings and
lighting fixtures, grand stairways with sweeping banisters and stately newels,
stained and leaded glass windows with gilded plaster
Ceilings featured three-dimensional plaster forms of grape vines and rose clusters, enhancing ovals of mahogany moulding that in turn framed hand-painted scenes and still-lifes. To say that she was elegant is an understatement.
The ship was 215 feet long and 54 feet wide amidships. She weighed in at 974 tons, and was powered by a triple-expansion steam engine producing 1446 horsepower. The Canadiana was not a fast ship, taking about an hour each way for the trip.
There were three passenger decks with an original capacity
of 3500 passengers and it had the largest dance floor of any passenger steamer
ever placed on the
ship was especially popular up until the building of the
Crystal Beach was the most common run for the Canadiana,
usually from Memorial Day weekend until Labour Day. Last summer we had a
display set up for our memorabilia at
Especially on the American side, the Canadiana was affectionately known as the “Crystal Beach Boat” and the mere mention of the ship brings back happy and romantic memories of dancing and sailing under the stars on a tranquil Lake Erie.
After the Canadiana ceased operation in
The “Friends of the Canadiana” formed in 1984. Through
gruelling work and over many obstacles, they brought the Canadiana back some
120 miles from her deathbed in
it was the object of love and affection in
When the decision was finally made to refit the Canadiana
for actual operation, a new flurry of activity ensued, with much public
approval. Fund raising, publicity, work on the ship all went on with purpose.
The Canadiana was readied for rebuilding under modern-day regulations. All the
decorative wood was removed and she was towed to
Here again, the effort faltered. The idea the ship was in another country and seemingly ineligible for some funding sources apparently stymied the group, leading to inaction and nearly dissolution. Unfortunately, funding never was raised and the hull was cut up for scrap during the spring of 2004.
Of course the ideal restoration would have been back to its original condition, but we have recently learned the US Coast Guard would never have approved the amount of wood as used in a 1910 ship.