Tug Evans McKeil in bound Rochester with the Metis, April 30, 2008.
(Tom Brewer)

The career of Metis can be divided into four stages. It has sailed as a canaller, lengthened canaller, cement carrier and barge. It continues in the latter service, as needed, in 2015. This was the last canal-sized ship built for C.S.L. The 259 foot long carrier was constructed by Davie Shipbuilding and launched at Lauzon, PQ on June 26, 1956. The ship was commissioned on August 11 and was soon at work hauling grain to the St. Lawrence and Quebec/Labrador ore back to Great Lakes ports.

The vessel was lengthened to 331 feet overall in 1959 and deepened by 5 feet. This increased carrying capacity to 6,180 tons or 225,000 bushels of grain. Metis was also equipped with two five-ton diesel cranes and a five-ton hoist to assist loading and unloading. The freighter was powered by twin Fairbanks Morse diesel engines of 640 horsepower each and was rebuilt as a 3,328 gross ton self-unloading cement carrier in 1966.

Metis went back to work for C.S.L. carrying cargoes for Lake Ontario Cement and usually managed in excess of 80 trips a year. It usually loaded at Picton for Toronto or Rochester and occasionally came up the Welland Canal for Windsor. In 1975 and 1983 this was the first ship of the season into Toronto and received the historic top hat. Metis ended her career as a powered freighter, tying up at Kingston, on August 1, 1983. It was towed to Toronto on October 29, 1989 and, in time, rebuilt as a barge. The pilothouse was removed and a notch cut in the stern to accommodate a pusher tug.

Metis traveled down the Seaway on May 20, 1991, to begin a new career as a barge and has worked on the St. Lawrence and as a stationary storage barge at Green Bay, Windsor and Toronto. It is now owned by Essroc Cement and has seen considerable service carrying cargoes from Picton to Rochester as silting in the harbor has prevented the deeper draft Stephen B. Roman from servicing the port. When not in service, Metis is tied up at Toronto ready and waiting.

Adapted with permission from "The Postwar Ships of Canada Steamship Lines" by Skip Gillham.

Barge Particulars
Length 331' 00" (100.89m)
Beam 43' 09" (13.34m)
Depth 26' 00" (7.92m)
Midsummer Draft 20' 04" (6.2m)
Capacity 5,800 tons


In the Welland Canal, October 1977.
(Werner Lindquist)


Tug Evans McKeil in bound Rochester with the Metis, April 30, 2008.
(Tom Brewer)

Tied up for the winter in Toronto, Dec. 30, 2009.
(George Lee)

Unloading at the Essroc dock in Essexville, Nov. 4, 2010.
(Todd Shorkey)

Another view.
(Todd Shorkey)

A wide view showing the dock.
(Todd Shorkey)

Tied up at the Windsor Essroc dock, Jan. 30, 2011.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Approaching the Essroc Terminal in Rochester, Oct. 25, 2011.
(Tom Brewer)

Stern view clearing Rochester Piers, Oct. 25, 2011.
(Tom Brewer)

Kimberly Anne helps to turn the barge Metis after unloading at Essroc's Rochester Terminal, Oct. 9, 2012.
(Tom Brewer)


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