SA Queen Barge, Lake Ontario, Oakville, Ontario
Pictures by Warren Lo © 2007WRECK INFO:
The SA Queen, originally named the "Hiawatha" was built in July 1895 by Bertam Engine Works in Toronto for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. A steel vessel, it was operated by the R.C.Y.C. as a single deck passenger ferry, powered by a coal fired steam engine. The Hiawatha continued to operate as a passenger ferry, shuttling R.C.Y.C. members from the mainland to the club properties located near Centre Island for many years. In 1944 the Hiawatha's steam engine and boiler were replaced by a gasoline powered engine. It also received a new pilothouse in the early 1960s.
The site itself is about 2 kilometers out from Oakville Harbour. Currently, the wreckage is not moored and is located in open water frequented by sail boats. Because of this, care must be taken to dive the site. The wreck itself has been completely stripped as a result of commercial salvage. The barge was "lost" while under tow, however, lies conveniently close to the harbor in relatively shallow water (in close proximity to another wreck, Two Bits) which makes it easy for charter access for divers, minimizing travel distance, hence time saving and fuel efficient.
The deck is bare, save a few of the iron fixtures, and a number of square hatchways. One large hatchway on the starboard side of the deck has a set of metal steps which lead down into the wreck, so penetration is possible. As always, overhead traning is recommended before attempting any sort of penetration. From what can be seen from the entry, there are a number of metal shelves that lie scattered about near the entry of the hold.
Source: Toronto Marine Historical Society
All Photos copyright © Warren Lo, 2007