toronto schooner

Condo dig unearths antique ship in Toronto Harbour

Six metres underground near the intersection of Bathurst St. and Lake Shore Blvd. archaeologists have discovered what appears be the remains of a 19th century wooden schooner.

Only the keel and the lower part of the hull remain, but experts with ASI Archaeology believe the heavily decayed assemblage of wood, unearthed on Monday, is indeed a sailing vessel, possibly dating back to the 1830s.

ASI tweeted earlier today that they think the remains might be American.


What we do know is that 150 years ago, the area just south of Fort York Blvd. was on the waterfront. Queen's Wharf, a long docking area used by the military stretched into the lake from near the foot of Bathurst St. A lighthouse at its tip marked what was then the only navigable entrance to the Toronto Harbour. In 1917, infill extended the land south, and Queen's Wharf was buried in place.

So far at least four vessels have been discovered deep in the muck along the old waterfront: at the SkyDome and Air Canada Centre. A wooden barrel was also discovered by ASI.

The city stipulates that any new development on the old waterfront conduct an archaeological dig prior to construction. Soon, developers will build two condo towers on the site, the Forward Condos at Concord CityPlace.

Sadly, it doesn't seem like the schooner is in good enough shape to be removed and preserved.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.


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