Tuesday 3 December 2013


Here's an interesting snap from Shaun, a patient of my son-in-law, Rod, (who is a chiropractor here in Kanata), of the CSL self unloader LOUIS R. DESMARAIS entering upbound into Iroquois Lock. After being launched in Collingwood in 1977, the 730'x75' DESMARAIS was quite a versitile ship, able to service a variety of trades from coal to cement clicker to Seaway and Great Lakes ports in the summer months, and also being built with a bulbous bow which would have allowed her to handle forceful wave action with ease when working deep-sea in the winter months or when meeting with larger 'ocean' bulk carriers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence or in the Canso Strait to transferring coal, destined elsewhere across the pond. I'm not certain when Shaun's snap was taken, except it had to be prior to 2000 when LOUIS R. DESMARAIS entered Port Weller Dry Docks for conversion to 'SeawayMax' dimensions. During her stay in dry dock, the forebody of the DESMARAIS was removed and replaced with a new one that was longer and wider, new  state-of-the-art automated self unloading equipment was installed and after all was said and done, she re-entered service in April 2001 with also a new name, CSL LAURENTIEN.

Last February, I snapped the 740'x 78' CSL LAURENTIEN (below) going nowhere sitting high and steadfast in Port Colborne's winter ice. Though sporting a very different look up-forward from Shaun's snap at Iroquois lock (top), the converted LAURENTIAN (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2012/04/while-laid-up-for-winter-of-2005-in.html) gives every appearance of being a hard worker and providing a good return on investment. Meanwhile, regardless of whatever name is painted on her hull, that original LOUIS R. DESMARAIS bridge, accommodations, and engine-room stern section (above&right) is looking pretty good for her age. Nothing wrong with sprucing things up as times change. Could be good for business, the bottom-line and, survival. Know What I Mean, Jelly Bean?
PS: Thanks for the snap, Shaun. Feel free to send more my way, Carl c);-b

PHOTO UPDATE: December 6, 2020

For whatever reason, unfortunately I haven't been able to photograph the big CSL LAURENTIEN that often and in fact the last time was on July 2, 2016 from the elevated observation platform at the Welland Canal's Lock 3 in St. Catharines. In these pics you'll see the LAURENTIEN enter, then be lowered and continue on her downbound transit to Lock 2 and beyond. 

Hey, if you're looking for an upfront in-your-face place to check out boats of all sizes, Lock 3 is truly it.  Regardless of all of the restriction due to  COVID-19, the observation deck and Welland Canal Museum, also located there is open to the public though there are some changes to make your visit safe and enjoyable during this nasty pandemic. Just click on this link for details https://www.stcatharines.ca/en/St-Catharines-Museum.asp 

She appears to be so close you could touch ✋ her, but you can't.

The average lift (or drop) for the seven Welland Canal flight locks that acts as steps for ships to traverse the Niagara Escarpment is 46.5 feet (14.2 meters).

Shadow of me far left in shorts taking pic as CSL LAURENTIEN motors out of the lock 😀

Gone but not forgotten ALGOWOOD approaches the double-leaf bascule Homer Street Bridge in the distance.


  1. Updates all around! I'm told by a lomgtome acquaintance who is Laurentien's occasional skipper (and was a mate on the Desmarais) that she'd due for new engines -- and the wheelhouse has had a few tech updates, of course.

  2. Didn't CSL Laurentien get new engines at BayShip winter of 2014-15. Tied up at BayShip on 29Nov2014, and came out of lay-up on 6Apr2015.