Saturday 2 March 2013

Self Unloader FRONTENAC (Revisited)

As in life, flexibility, compromise and excepting change maybe needed to keep from being left behind or made obsolete. When launched in 1967, the FRONTENAC was the last wheelhouse forward straight deck laker built for Canada Steamship Lines primarily to be used to carry iron ore from Quebec to the smelters in Hamilton and grain eastward from Thunder Bay. Just five years later though, she was converted into a self unloader and installed with CSL's first stern mounted unloading system allowing the 730' FRONTENAC to be even more useful when carrying coal, coke, road salt, stone, cement clinker and of course, iron ore and grain products. Since then her hull has gone from clay-coloured red to black and then back to red, but unlike most Great Lakes ships, one thing that has not changed in her 46 years of sailing, is her name. I snapped the versatile FRONTENAC last month in Port Colborne where she's laid up for winter, while my friend Jim from Maryland, caught the FRONTENAC inching her way into the upbound twin Flight Locks in St. Catharines last summer. Incidentally, Jim and his wife Dawn are celebrating their 44th Wedding Anniversary today. Take Care & Best Wishes to You Both!!

Update: Feb. 1, 2020:

This girl could easily stand-in as the "Energizer Bunny 🐰" because this winter in particular she's continued to "take a licking but keep on ticking". While most other lakers were in winter layup  all over the Great Lakes, FRONTENAC continued to haul road salt to Milwaukee on Lake Michigan and even with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker GRIFFON three weeks ago, she made her way to the remote village of Fisher Harbour, tucked away in the Manitoulin's along the north shore of Georgian Bay.
After completing her final load to Milwaukee earlier this week, FRONTENAC is now laid-up for winter at Sarnia. In my last photo of her on September 19, 2013, she and fleetmate, CSL TADOUSSAC were tied off together in ballast at Sarnia for awhile due to a labour dispute at the steel plant at Nanticoke on Lake Erie. Sadly the FRONTENAC with her classic straight-decker looks is one girl I don't often get to photograph even during my visits to Port Colborne and the Welland Canal. My friend Nathan Attard caught her unloading grain at the Port Colborne Terminal on July 1, 2015. If you have a snapshot of her you'd like to share, send it to me at, and I'll add it to this post. And congrats to my American ship-watching friend Jim Moyer and his wife Dawn of Salisbury, Maryland, who celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary this year. Have a nice winter everyone c:-D

Took this photo of the FRONTENAC with the only other CSL stern-mounted straight-decker CSL TADOUSSAC from the BoatNerd HQ in Port Huron on Sept. 19, 2013, she's laidup in that general area now. 

Photo by Nathan Attard - July 1, 2015. Nice pic Nathan. I worked at that elevator during the summer of '71. Hard, hot work and read about it in this post featuring the former classic straight-decker MANITOBA:

1 comment:

  1. I worker on the conversion at the Collingwood shipyards