Saturday 20 April 2013


Driving home along the 401 (a.k.a, the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway) can be very "BORING"!! However even the shortest of pitstops at Brockville's riverfront park, generally makes the change of venue and venture off the beaten path quite worthwhile. Just like last Sunday afternoon when I snapped the 656' bulk carrier FEDERAL RHINE kicking up quite a wake as she quickly passed by McNair Island (above) and then the river park on Blockhouse Island which is an ideal location to get a fairly close up glimpse of Great Lakes freighters or salties from all over the world as they motor by, and more often at a pretty good clip. Such was the case for the upbound FEDERAL RHINE, which was built in 1997 in Shanghai, China. She is owned by Federal Navigation (a.k.a. Fednav) of Montreal, QC but flies the flag of Barbados.
By the way, Blockhouse Island isn't really an island anymore and you can look all you want but you won't find a blockhouse either. The blockhouse was there when the Americans defeated Brockville during the War of 1812 and remained on the island until it was burnt to the ground during the Rebellions of 1837. Say what, Canadians rebelled? Yes, I know it's hard to believe but to make a long story short, the people then of Upper and Lower Canada weren't exacting pleased with the Brits who were great at imposing unnecessary taxes. I could be wrong but I believe it was the Brits who started this trend that remains popular with so many current governments worldwide. I'm sorry, (there, I said it) to say it caused a lot unrest. Whatever, it rallied Canada to become independent of Britain in 1867, (or at least on paper). Meanwhile, sometime after the blockhouse was destroyed by fire, the railway built a causeway to the island and which helped to make Brockville a thriving river port.
Sorry, (there, I said it again) but I believe I have made a short story longer that expected so let's just say where there was once a burned out blockhouse and a scuzzy-looking railway yard, a beautiful park was created. It has a canteen, 'clean' washrooms and it provides a perfect vantage point to view all kinds of boats, or with the aid of the large binoculars situated on the park's observation area, you can get a pretty good view of what our neighbours to south have just thrown on their barbeque across the river. A New York strip, perhaps?

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