View from the Harbour: The Metis

The cement barge Metis, November 14, 2014 in Toronto. Photo: Robin Hamilton

The cement barge Metis, November 14, 2014 in Toronto. Photo: Robin Hamilton

Toronto’s waterfront is under  development.  It’s exciting. We even have fancy new beach parasols. Beach ParasolsMore 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

Looking to reconnect with the water? Join me next paddling season.

Photo: Robin Hamilton

Photo: Robin Hamilton. Summer 2014. (Objects may seem farther in a 28 mm lens.)

Photo: Robin Hamilton, night, 2013, a lucky shot with a cellphone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s