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Port Colborne
Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival
Marine Heritage
Canal Days

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Empire Sandy

Empire Sandy
EMPIRE SANDY is in Port Colborne harbour. She's heading out toward Lake Erie for a cruise. She's believed to be the last Empire ship built during WWII to be still sailing. Build in 1943 by CLELLANDS (SUCCESSORS) LTD. of WILLINGTON-QUAY-ON-TYNE, UK. Photo taken from CCGS GRIFFON
History: Built in England in 1943 as a deep sea tugboat, she was tasked with Royal Navy work and salvaging merchant ships damaged in the Battle of the Atlantic and other naval engagements during the Second World War. She served in the North Atlantic Ocean from Iceland to Sierra Leone, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal during World War II. After the war she was renamed Ashford, and worked clearing the wreckage of war from the English Channel. She was then sold to a Canadian firm, Great Lakes Paper Company, renamed Chris M (after Chris Michels, a senior employee of Great Lakes Paper) and came to the Canadian Great Lakes where she spent fifteen years towing timber rafts for Lake Superior logging companies. In the early 1970s the aged ship was to be sold for scrap, but the steel hull was still in very good condition and she was bought by Nautical Adventures Co. for a possible conversion. They completely rebuilt the Chris M as a three masted schooner in the style of the 1880s. She assumed her original name the Empire Sandy and is believed to be the last Empire ship built during WWII to be still sailing. She began serving the Great Lakes as a cruise ship in 1982, and continues to this day.


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