Fort Wellington National Historic Site of Canada

Parks Canada conservation staff work on 200 year old vessel

1812 era British gunboat readied for move

Parks Canada Conservator Flora Davidson secures loose parts of the gunboat wreck at St Lawrence Islands National Park in Mallorytown in preparation for its move to Fort Wellington in Prescott, Ontario.
Parks Canada Conservator Flora Davidson secures loose parts of the gunboat wreck at St Lawrence Islands National Park in Mallorytown in preparation for its move to Fort Wellington in Prescott, Ontario.
© Parks Canada

Mallorytown Landing, Ontario – July 19, 2011 – The past week has been very busy for Parks Canada conservation specialist working in Mallorytown Landing, Ontario. The conservators were working to prepare a rare 54 foot long, 16 foot wide, and approximately 13 tonne 1812 era British gunboat for transport. The boat, raised from the St Lawrence River by the Parks Canada Underwater Archaeology department in 1967, will soon be on the move from an old boathouse at St Lawrence Islands National Park in Mallorytown Landing to a new visitor centre at Fort Wellington National Historic Site in Prescott, Ontario.

Pre-move conservation efforts were to completely stabilize and secure the vessel to prevent damage or loss during its transportation. Most of these stabilisation measures will be temporary as further conservation will occur once the vessel is safely in the new visitor centre. One of the biggest concerns is vibration of the boat during the move that could break some very fragile components or loosen others. Therefore, the pre-move conservation work focused on temporarily securing detached or semidetached structures and planking, but also the consolidation of damaged areas to prevent further deterioration in condition as the boat is moved.

With this preparatory work completed, the structural movers now have access to the gunboat to build a special moving crate around the vessel to further protect it from physical damage that during the move. If all goes well with construction, and the weather cooperates, the gunboat should be taking its slow drive from St Lawrence Islands National Park to Fort Wellington National Historic Site during the first week of August, 2011. The public will be able to see the movers in action, so watch for further notices from Parks Canada announcing the move date.