Unidentified – Little Lake

Peterborough’s mystery ship #

The skeletal remains of a 75-foot-long vessel found at bottom of Little Lake #

(PETERBOROUGH) Dennis Carter-Edwards has a mystery to solve. 

The skeleton of a large vessel has been discovered at the bottom of Little Lake. 

He is dubbing this archeological find “Peterborough’s mystery ship.”

“It’s a pretty substantial artifact,” says Mr. Carter-Edwards, cultural resource specialist for Parks Canada. “At this point, it’s still a mystery ship.”

This ship was discovered after the waters of Little Lake and the Otonabee River to Lakefield were lowered by approximately two-and-a-half meters to complete repair work on the dam at Scott’s Mills, Lock 19 in Peterborough. The work began on Nov. 20 and on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 2) the water was beginning to rise back to its normal level.

Mr. Carter-Edwards says the remains of the ship, approximately 75 feet long, were brought to the attention of Parks Canada staff by someone who was walking along the shoreline near Beavermead Park. 

If he had to make a guess, Mr. Carter-Edwards thinks the vessel is one of two steamers: either the steamer Esturion, the flagship of the Trent Valley Navigation Company, or another steamer called the Water Lily, which also traveled the Trent-Severn Waterway in its early days. 

Mr. Carter-Edwards is deriving his guess from information cited in a book called “Steamboating on the Trent-Severn” written by well-known author and historian Richard Tatley. In this book, Mr. Tatley discusses the life of the Esturion, which frequently traveled between Bobcaygeon and Lindsay. In 1888 the ship hosted future Canadian prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his wife on an informal cruise and that October hosted Governor-General Lord Stanley when it left its usual route and ventured to Lakefield where the captain of the ship, Captain Lane, was presented with a special flag. 

The Esturion was also credited with “rescuing drifting scows or stranded yachts.”

In 1894 the ship was wired for electric lighting and given a “powerful” searchlight.

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