MP-1979.155.29 | Ice breaker, QC, about 1910

Ice breaker, QC, about 1910
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1910, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
20 x 25 cm
Gift of Mr. John L. Russell
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  boat (1192) , Photograph (77678) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

Ice has always been an obstacle to travel on the St. Lawrence. In addition to ice formation in winter, there is the problem of the spring break-up, which can damage ships and cause ice jams and flooding.

To ensure safe navigation, the government has long used ships to break ice in winter and run numerous maintenance and provisioning duties in summer (to help defray their cost).

In Canada the first icebreakers went into service in the early 20th century, where they plied ice-prone waters from November until May.

  • What

    The Lady Grey was a steel hull icebreaker. It had a 353 horsepower steam engine that turned two propellers.

  • Where

    Although it was destined to serve in the waters of the St. Lawrence for the Canadian government, the Lady Grey was built in the British shipyard Vickers, Sons and Maxim, in Barrow-in-Furness. Its successors, for example, the Ernest Lapointe and the Saurel, were all built in Canada.

  • When

    Built in 1906, the Lady Grey sunk in 1955 after colliding with a ferry, the Cité de Lévis, while helping free it after it became trapped in ice.

  • Who

    The Lady Grey was named in honour of the wife of Sir Albert Henry George Grey, governor general of Canada from 1904 to 1911.