Further exploits of the Ann Sisson
Re: On the hunt for a shipwreck here in Ottawa, Oct. 6.
Kudos to Andrew King and friends, as well as Mike Kaulbars and (posthumously) two earlier Ottawa heritage advocates, Courtney Bond and Harry Walker, who have kept alive the story of the 19th-century steamship abandoned in Britannia Bay, some of its skeleton still visible today.
In his article about the Ann Sisson, King describes the ship’s 1860 voyage up the Ottawa River carrying the young Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) from Aylmer to Pontiac, and writes: “That was it, really, for the steamship’s moment in the royal spotlight.” In fact, the same steamship would also carry the prince’s younger brother — Prince Arthur, the future Duke of Connaught and Canada’s governor general from 1911 to 1916 — during his royal visit to the Upper Ottawa Valley in October 1869.
Apart from the vessel’s vital service to all people throughout the region in the mid-1800s, the fact that the Ann Sisson transported two of Queen Victoria’s sons on noteworthy nationbuilding trips during its relatively brief time plying the waters of the Ottawa River underscores the significance of the rediscovered hulk lying off the Britannia shore. Randy Boswell, Carleton University, director, Ottawa Historical Society