The Perth & District Historical Society Presents:

Boats on the Tay Canal

The first and one of the few large steamboats to ply the original Tay Canal was the Perth-built Enterprise, which made the maiden voyage for it and the canal in the spring of 1834. Unfortunately, the canal's shallow draught, and winding route, did not allow larger boats of the Rideau system to continue up to Perth. The Enterprise did work the Rideau system until its end in 1835, stopping often at the Tay Canal entrance.

Small canal boats, pulling barges, provided Perth's canal access, until the demise of this original Tay Canal in the 1860s. The inauguration of the second, deeper Tay Canal in the late 1880s, brought new steamboat traffic and an exciting era of recreation boating. In the interim, the Rideau Canal system hosted many large steamboats - 'puffers' - such as Rideau Queen, Arrah Wanna, Olive, John Haggart, and, later, the Wanakewan. Some of those, and their smaller row and paddle boat cousins, are displayed in this gallery.

For more information and pictures, you might wish to visit the following sites (and also see the History of the Tay Canal on this site):
Rideau Waterway (book by Robert Legget - snippet view on Google Books)

Copyright Notice: Please contact us for permission to use any of these photos.

Click on any photo to see a larger version

The steamboat Olive, 1875, built at Smiths Falls; beginning as a freighter, it became an excursion boat on the Rideau system. Arrah Wanna in Perth Basin, c. 1907-1910. Steamer Arrah Wanna,1 July 1909, from Perth Courier, 9 June 1982.<br />(see next page for a closeup) Perth Vocal Society aboard the steamer Arrah Wanna, before sailing to the Rideau for a picnic ca 1909; west side Tay Basin Dominion Day Celebrations in the Basin (1867).  The former houses of Cockburn Island in rear. Heritage Canada Collection Boating in the Tay Basin, during the 1905 Old Boys Reunion. The Tay Canal looking towards Beckwith Bridge, believed to be the steamer Aileen; presumably waiting for bridge to swing; tow path at right. William's Landing, off South Street in Perth, near the site of the Last Duel; Tay Canal tow path on far side. Row-boat Jumbo with the Hicks family near steamer John Haggart, Beveridges Lockstation, c. 1900. The Turning Basin in Perth, c. 1890s, with the steamer John Haggart at wharf on right and corner of Ottawa Forwarding Company warehouse on left. The Hicks family boathouse on the Tay Canal, Perth.  Postcard, c.1900-1910.

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