Naval Marine Archive - The Canadian Collection
Library Catalogue Ships database Research Collections Bibliography About us Donate

Picton harbour

picton harbour
A very early 1840's image of Picton harbour, looking west from Chimney Point.
Click image to enlarge.

Picton Harbour, County of Prince Edward, Ontario, is at the southern end of the Bay of Quinte, specifically the arm known as the Adolphus Reach, continuing in a southerly direction into Picton Bay. The harbour has been dredged to a depth of 12 feet. At the entrance to the harbour is a freight wharf and some distance from this are several wharves with freight sheds, cold store, and coal shed. [1].

The total tonnage entered and cleared at this port for the fiscal year 1911-1912 was 348,748 tons, mostly "local-use" imports and agricultral exports. In 2015, the tonnage had reached 796,700 tons, including winter salt for road safety, and cement products [2]. More recent numbers are apparently not available from Statistics Canada.

picton harbour
Some of the Hepburn fleet in Picton harbour. From left to right, the steamers Water Lily, Varuna and Alexandria.

At the turn of the twentieth century, steamers called at this port to load fruit, unload merchandise and land passengers. The Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company (A.W. Hepburn) owned a line of boats running between Lake Ontario and the St.Lawrence River and connect with Charlotte in the state of New York, across Lake Ontario, and through the Bay of Quinte. Picton harbour was also used by a number of local ships for winter layup. These two images, one a photograph, the other a drawing, show some of the "regulars". While the years are not known with certainty (they date to around 1900), and given the difference in the ships' positions, they were not the same winter season.

Picton Harbour
Picton harbour. From left to right, the steamer Geronia, the steamer Brockville (partly hidden), the Aletha of Kingston, the steamer barge Aberdeen (partly hidden) and the schooner Lyman Davis. The building behind the stern of the Geronia is the Cleveland Seed House, the tall chimney was that of the Electrical Power Plant (near where the present yacht club is situated.
Click image to enlarge.
picton harbour
Picton harbour by O.C. Madden, from left to right, the steamer moored at the Hepburn wharf is the Aletha of Kingston, then the Geronia, with a smaller, unidentfied vessel alongside, and the schooner Lyman Davis.
Click image to enlarge.

The 1935 Canadian Ports Directory reported that the largest vessel berthed was was the SS Calgarian, 250 x 43 x 23.5 feet, and that there were no port charges for vessels. They reported the following docks and wharfs :

aletha and america
Picton harbour, looking south-east towards the Villeneuve Castle in the trees, with the steamers Aletha and the America. A log boom can be seen in the foreground. Photo circa 1910.
The steamer Aletha arriving in Picton harbour from a handcoloured postcard, undated but probably circa 1912. The "Notice" reads: "Passengers will please purchase their tickets at ticket office before going on board the steamer. By Order."
Click image to enlarge.
[ Back ] Footnote 1: from the Port Directory, Department of Marine and Fisheries, 1913 and 1914
[ Back ] Footnote 2: Statistics Canada


Naval Marine ArchiveThe Canadian Collection
205 Main Street, Picton, Ontario, K0K2T0, Canada
Telephone: 1 613 476 1177
E-mail: for comments, queries and suggestions.

Copyright © 2024
Naval Marine Archive
The Canadian Collection

Revised: June 2023