by Walter Lewis
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Steamboats carrying passengers from Hamilton to Montreal via the rapids of the St. Lawrence were a popular sight in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1855, the Kingston, an iron steamboat built for John Hamilton, appeared in the Great Lakes. When the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) toured British North America in 1860, the Kingston became his floating palace for much of his time between Quebec and Toronto. While many steamboats claimed to be floating palaces, the Kingston truly was one.
In 1855, the Kingston, an iron steamboat built for John Hamilton (1802-82), appeared in the Great Lakes. When the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) came to British North America for the first royal tour in 1860, the Kingston became his floating palace for much of his time between Quebec and Toronto. Many steamboats claimed to be floating palaces. The Kingston was.
The Kingston was wrecked many times and survived spectacular fires in 1872 and 1873. Late in her career, she was converted into a salvage vessel and renamed the Cornwall. In 1930 she was finally taken out and sunk near one of Kingston’s ship graveyards. There she remained until diver Rick Neilson discovered her in 1989. Today, the once palatial Kingston is a popular dive site and tourist attraction.
- Dundurn, August 2008
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