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The Fleets

Beaver Line / Canada Shipping Company

Formed in 1867 as the Canada SS Company, this line sailed from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal. They ordered four 1,000 ton sailing ships, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. They were partly replaced by the second hand ship Lake Saint Clair. In 1872, they chartered steamers on an experimental basis for passenger and cargo use. These vessels included the Redewater, Harold, South Tyne and Atholl. The company started to order their own steamships in 1874.

In 1875 the Canada Shipping Company, Limited, ran a service from Liverpool to Canada, also to Portland, Maine & Baltimore. There were occasional voyages from London. In 1881 a New York service was inaugurated and intermediate calls at Boston began in 1887. Saloon fare was $50 in the 1890s but $60 on the Lake Superior (second). Because of the Beaver on their flag, the company soon became known as the Beaver Line.

The company experienced difficulties in the early 1890s, and in 1894 liquidators, under Canada Shipping Company Limited (D. & C. MacIver, Managers), took control. They suspended sailings until the spring of 1895 when creditors received a payment. A new company, Beaver Line Associated Steamers was floated in November, 1897 and operated a weekly service from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal in the summer and Halifax and Portland in winter, with a call at Moville (Ireland). In December, 1898 Elder Dempster & Co settled Beaver Line's outstanding claims. There were two sailings from Batum in the Black Sea to Halifax in December, 1898 and the company made their last transatlantic sailing on 20th May, 1899. Services resumed later in May, 1899 under the title Beaver Line of Steamers (Elder Dempster & Co).

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.


Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Assaye 1891 1897 chartered from Elder Dempster & Co, 1897 wrecked on Seal Island, Bay of Fundy; no loss of life. 4,809
Carlisle City 1894 1896 chartered from Furness Withy for 2 voyages 3,002
Gallia 1878 1897 purchased from Cunard Line, 1899 sold to Allan Line 4,809
Lake Champlain 1874 screw steamship, auxiliary barque rigged with sails, stranded, salvaged and sold to British owners, 1886 renamed Lismore (1,438 net tons) 2,207
Lake Erie (sail) 1868 iron ship ; re-rigged as a bark 938
Lake Huron (sail) 1869 iron ship - wrecked 821
Lake Huron (2) 1881 1899 transferred to Elder Dempster 4,040
Lake Manitoba 1880 1885 wrecked on Miquelon Island; no loss of life. 3,322
Lake Megantic 1875 1878 wrecked on Anticosti Island; no loss of life. 2,219
Lake Michigan (sail) n/a missing at sea some time in the 1870s 900
Lake Nepigon 1875 1895 sold to British owners, renamed Golden Fleece 2,209
Lake Ontario (sail) 1868 iron ship ; re-rigged as a bark 1,112
Lake Ontario (2) 1887 1899 transferred to Elder Dempster 4,502
Lake Superior (sail) 1868 iron ship 1,274
Lake Superior (2) 1885 1899 transferred to Elder Dempster 4,562
Lake Winnipeg 1879 1898 sold to Turkey, renamed Garb 3,300
Ruapehu 1883 1899 chartered from New Zealand Shipping Co. for 2 voyages. 1900 sold to British India Line, renamed Zayathla. 4,262
Tongariro 1883 1899 chartered from New Zealand Shipping Co. for 8 voyages. 1900 sold to British India Line, renamed Zibenghla. 3,300
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