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Calvin Shipyard, Garden Island ON

Most recent update: February 8, 2012.


A truly remarkable shipyard operated in the 19th century on Garden Island, in the St. Lawrence River, between Wolfe Island and Kingston ON.  Known as the Calvin Shipyard, it was established by and for the Calvin Company, which was a major player in the Canadian timber industry.  The driving forces behind this enterprise were its owner, Dileno Dexter Calvin, and the man who ran the yard for most of its existence, Henry Roney.  Calvin leased 15 of the island's 65 acres in 1836, purchased this property in 1948, then bought the rest of the island in 1852.  The Calvin Company shipped in logs and shipped out finished timber, becoming, in addition, merchants, wharfingers, freight carriers, salvagers, wreckers and shipbuilders.  Calvin died in 1884 and under his son's management the business declined, being gone by 1914.  At its peak, 750 people lived on Garden Island: today the number is a single digit - although many of the cottages built by D. D. Calvin for his employees survive as summer rentals - and the ferry service was cut off in 1976.  See the island from the air on Google here.  Calvin's Shipyard is believed to have built at least 60 ships - he level-loaded the yard by committing to a construction rate of one ship a year - but the records are sparse: if anyone can add to the table below, please send your info to timcolton@aol.com

Hull # O.N. Name Owner Type GT LBP Built Disposition
  115350 Queen Victoria J. Flood Schooner 133 95 1839  
    Prince Edward Calvin Co Ltd Steamer     1840  
    Raftsman Calvin Co Ltd Steamer     1840  
    Hannah Counter Calvin Co Ltd Schooner 136 91 1845 Wrecked 1851
    Glasgow Calvin Co Ltd Barge 116 90 1847  
  113491 Prescott Hooker, Jacques & Co. Steamer 258 138 1849 Scrapped 1870
    London Calvin Co Ltd Brigantine     1852  
    William Ford Calvin Co Ltd Schooner     1853  
  80878 Southampton Calvin Co Ltd Barkentine     1860  
  157177 William Calvin Co Ltd Tug 428 121 1860 Scrapped 1878
  71178  Chieftain Calvin Co Ltd Steamer 485 137 1874 Scrapped 1912
    Garden Island Calvin Co Ltd Bark   169 1877 Later Trio, wrecked in the UK 1907
    Bavaria Calvin Co Ltd Schooner 410   1878 Wrecked off Cape Smith 1898
    Prussia Calvin Co Ltd Schooner     1879  
  83298 D. D. Calvin Calvin Co Ltd Steamer 750 166 1883 Burnt at Garden Island 1910
  88571 Dakota Calvin Co Ltd Barge 535 170 1885 Wrecked 1926
  96919 Augustus Calvin Co Ltd Schooner     1893  
  100661 Jack Calvin Co Ltd Steam Barge 833 178 1895 Later Bothnia 1896, lost in collision in St Clair River 1912
  107735 India Calvin Co Ltd Steam Barge 976 216 1899 Burnt at St Mary's Island 1928
    Frontenac Calvin Co Ltd Steamer 111   1901  
  111765 Burma Calvin Co Ltd Schooner 885 183 1901 Foundered on Lake St. Peter 1929
  112144 Simla Calvin Co Ltd Steamer 1,490 226 1903 Scuttled 1926, raised, rescuttled 1936
  117129 Chieftain III Calvin Co Ltd Tug 355 142 1906 In collision and sank off St Antoine, Chicoutimi 1911
    Plymouth Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    M. L. Breck Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Henry Roney Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Denmark Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Oriental Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Sweden Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Norway Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Valencia Calvin Co Ltd Schooner        
    Wellington Calvin Co Ltd Steamer        
    Hercules Calvin Co Ltd Steamer        
    Hiram Calvin Calvin Co Ltd Steamer        
    John A. McDonald Calvin Co Ltd Steamer        
    Traveller Calvin Co Ltd Steamer        
    Ceylon Calvin Co Ltd Steamer