Toronto’s waterfront is under development. It’s exciting. We even have fancy new beach parasols. More importantly, the Toronto Port Authority is almost finished the new tunnel to Billy Bishop, where 2 million passengers arrived in 2013. There’s a real port out there, however, not just a few tour boats. Visiting the Port Lands is less common, but the actual port of Toronto is a connection to the world of shipping on the Great Lakes. The Metis, a cement barge built in 1956, is a testament to the real world of shipping, and at 58, an impressive feat of longevity.
The Metis, rust and all, is a viable commercial tool, the kind we can forget about in our excitement over new online business models, idea incubators, gentrification. She’s a cement barge, and while I’m not much of a fan of cheap condos, the fact is we have a tax base downtown because we laid some more cement. Until 3d printers become a little more robust, we’ll keep shipping cement, and grain, and iron, by water. Shipping via the Seaway and the Lakes is up, slightly, in 2014, to 29, 586 tonnes. I checked.
Shipping keeners can read more about the history of the Metis at/ thanks to http://tugboathunter.wordpress.com/metis/
Looking to reconnect with the water? Join me next paddling season.