Georgian Bay holds a rich history in shipping, and during the years when steamships were the mainstay of the Parry Sound Area, ships were the only method of travel and trade available to young communities fortunate to be within reach of Georgian Bay. Some of these great ships met with mysterious and unfortunate ends.
With the advent of Tourism, trains and roadways in the region, smaller steamers began to ferry passengers, awestruck by the areas rugged natural beauty, through Eastern Georgian Bay’s larger inland lakes.
Some of these wrecks still linger on the bottom of lakes Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka Lake, with many more found, or yet to be found, beneath the swells of big water on Georgian Bay.
For those trained to scuba dive these wrecks, gather your friends, strap on your goggles and head out for some under-water exploration of these once grand ships. Georgian Bay Country offers many historic diving adventures, self guided or organized through tour groups.
A side-wheeler that sank on November 22nd, 1879, the Waubuno is located at the southern tip of Bradden Island in Georgian Bay. WAUBUNO: (185 tons gross; length, 135 feet; breadth, 18 feet; depth, 7 feet) This sidewheeler was built at Thorold in 1865 by Simpson, and owned by William Beatty, Jr., of Parry Sound.
The schooner Jane McLeod ran ashore on the night of November 4, 1890, after breaking free from its anchor during a storm. It is located on the south side of the privately owned Jane McLeod Island in Georgian Bay.
The Atlantic, resurrected from the hull of the Manitoulin, caught fire on November 10, 1903. It is located south of Spruce Island in Georgian Bay.
No lives where lost, although in it’s previous incarnation as the Manitoulin, 30 people perished on May 18, 1882 when the ship burned in a previous fire.
Although the majority of the ship was burned or has collapsed, many interesting pieces of the vessel remain; including the 706 ton wooden propeller, the rudder, the boiler, engine and other interesting machinery.
The Ella Ross
A paddle wheeler passenger ship, the Ella Ross burnt at the Parry Soud docks on June 9, 1912.
A side-wheeler with the Muskoka Lake Navigation Company, she used to run between Gravenhurst and Port Cockburn, at the north end of Lake Joseph. This ship caught fire on August 3, 1886, while at Port Cockburn overnight, and sank off of Fraser Island.
This propeller steamship was once part of the Muskoka Lake Navigation Company and ran between Gravenhurst, Rosseau, and Lake Joseph. She caught fire while overnight at Stanley House on August 15, 1918. This ship is at the bottom of the north end of Stanley Bay in Lake Joseph.
On November 11, 1903, the Seattle’s engines failed and she crashed into Green Island, Georgian Bay.