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Maid of the Mist III
Chippewa III

Transport Canada List 2002: Built Russel-Hipwell Engine Co., Owen Sound, Ont. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Georgian Bay Cruise Co., Inc., Parry Sound, Ontario. Formerly the The Maid Of The Mist III, from Niagara Falls. Steel excursion vessel [C.193758] built by Russel Bros. at Owen Sound and launched as Maid of the Mist III 1955 - 1956; renamed b] Maid of the Mist 1956 - 1992; operated at Niagara Falls until sold and removed to the Toronto excursion trade as c] Chippewa 1992 - 19--. In commission. 59', 47 g.t. Sold to Parry Sound owners. See clipping file for pics. Canadian List of Shipping 1956: Maid of the Mist III [C.193758] registered at St. Catharines; built at Owen Sound in 1955. 58'9 x 16' x 6'6; 47 g.t.; 22 n.t.; 350 hp. Owned by Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. Ltd., Niagara Falls, Ontario. Transport Canada List 2002: Built by Russel-Hipwell Engine Co., Owen Sound, Ont. Chippewa III: Transport Canada List 2002: Built Russel-Hipwell Engine Co., Owen Sound, Ont. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Georgian Bay Cruise Co., Inc., Parry Sound, Ontario. Formerly the The Maid Of The Mist III, from Niagara Falls.

Owen Sound Sun-Times, Aug. 2nd, 1955.

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MAID SERVICE: This description is courtesy of Howard Donovan, RBL employee who participated in 1955:
Russel Brothers contracted John McArthur Construction of Owen Sound to deliver the four sections of the Maid of the Mist III to the dock in the Niagara Gorge. The four sections were placed on flatbed trailers in the RBL yard, then transported by road to Niagara Falls. Upon arrival in Niagara Falls, the flatbed trailer was backed into a position where a narrow, winding road led into the gorge. The tractor which had been pulling the trailer was then disconnected and turned around so that a front-end winch on the tractor could be attached to the front of the trailer. The cargo was then slowly lowered into the gorge along the narrow, winding road. Manouvering the hairpin bends of the road down to the dock was accomplished by means of a "come-along", which was fastened to a tree or other stationary object and could change the direction of the trailer. Cranes were used to remove boat sections from the flatbed trailer, placing them on timbers for re-assembly. Signs were erected to warn the many spectators witnessing the procedure that "electric welding flash could be harmful to the naked eye".

 

Owen Sound Sun-Times, Aug. 3rd, 1955.

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Historical Collections of the Great Lakes Great Lakes Vessels Online Index
Photo source http://ul.bgsu.edu/cgi-bin/xvsl2.cgi Item 003516

 

"The Maid of the Mist III, built in 1955, replaced the former ships which were gutted by fire just before the opening of the tourist season. This successful craft proved so satisfactory that a second boat (IV) was also fabricated here in Owen Sound and assembled at the Maid of the Mist landing within earshot of Niagara Falls." Owen Sound Sun-Times, Aug. 22nd, 1959.

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RBF notes: Ex Maid of the Mist boat, used as Tourboat
(Parry Sound, ON July 25, 2002)

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SB notes: Chip's captain Greg Aldworth on the right, friend Seann O'Donoughue on left, Justin Marshall of Still Watch on fingers. Prescotont (non-Russel) behind, Still Watch at end of pier. Parry Sound Tugfest 2006.

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http://www.spiritofthesound.ca

The M.V. Chippewa III (ex "Maid of the Mist") is the oldest member of one of the world's best known line of small ships. In the spring of 1955, a terrible fire consumed the fleet of wooden hulled Maids of the Mist. With the 1955 season fast approaching, the owners decided it was time to re-build the fleet in steel.

The well known shipyard of Russel-Hipwell, in the Georgian Bay city of Owen Sound, was contracted to build this new generation of ships. Launched during the 1955 season, this stout little ship, based on a Canadian design for an Arctic research vessel, plied her trade in the boiling waters below the Falls until 1990. She was then retired from that most famous fleet after 35 years of faithful service.

The summer of 1992 found her under new ownership and headed for Lake Ontario waters. Instead of walls of water, towers of glass and steel formed her new backdrop in Toronto's magnificent Harbour. The old name, carefully chiseled into her bow so long ago, was now painted over for ever. She was now the M.V. Chippewa III, and would sail old York Town's Harbour until the spring of 1994. Fate then intervened again and she was prepared for a move to new home. A delivery crew cast off for the Welland Canal, on the south side of Lake Ontario. There, she would be carried up and over the huge escarpment which gives Niagara Falls its 59 m (195') fall. Days later, the weary crew sailed into Parry Sound after a transit of Lakes Erie, Huron and Georgian Bay. Since that time, Chippewa III has introduced thousands of people, from all round the globe to the waters of Parry Sound and the magic of the 30,000 Islands.

Promotional Photo

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Maid nomenclature is confusing. Here's Capt. Aldworth's explanation...

The two old boats burned that spring of 1955. They were MM I & II. When the new boat was launched (the one I presently have) it was named Maid of the Mist III. I don't know if that was because the other 2 boats remained on the registry, meaning that another vessel with that name would have to be III or if it was out of deference to the memory of the 2 that burned. At some time very early on in the process, they reverted to Maid Of the Mist for mine and when the sister ship, built from the same drawings (I believe) was launched; she was Maid of the Mist II.

Some of the plans which we have show "Steel Boat No. 1" as the name of the vessel. Perhaps, because these boats were both motor vessels and steel, they decided it was time to revert back to the start of a numbered sequence. I always understood that the design was based on a small Arctic research ship design for the Gov. In Russel-Hipwell fashion, it would be taken north in pieces and assembled on site. It could have gone as cargo on the old "Labrador" the Royal Canadian Navy icebreaker, (the last time that we, a maritime nation with one ocean coastline on the Arctic Ocean had a naval vessel capable of working in the ice) or perhaps as train cargo up to Moosenee and then sailed north.

The second boat built to the plans went to the Amazon as a missionary ship in the 1990's. The owners of the Maid of the Mist Corp. re-fitted the vessel to do the job. That ship is now lying in Florida at last report. It would have been # II

 

Apr 22, 1985 Source Unknown
Unlucky Day For Maids....The only mishap to interrupt the 94 year history of the Maid of the Mist boats was a fire which destroyed two of the vessels on April 22, 1955...more

 
 Russel - Hipwell News Aug - Sep 1955
The Maids Are Running Again. Two new steel boats replace historic Niagara Falls Maids of the Mist...Russel - Hipwell Engines of Owen Sound started building the Maid of the Mist III in April 1955 (for delivery August 1st), from the plans of another steel vessel previously built...more

A nice large sized good resolution scan of the Maid III at the falls.
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 Niagara Review c. late 80's
All Wet. The Maid of the Mist was launched onto the Niagara river two weeks earlier than expected yesterday because of mild weather conditions. The 101 passenger boat is the first of four that will be launched by today...more

Summer 1990 Niagara Review
Goodbye to the Falls On what could be its last trip to the falls, the Maid of the Mist III passes the cataracts on its way to the Niagara Parks Commission Marina in Fort Erie...more

 
 Niagara Review Aug 20th, 1990
The First Lady of the Falls for sale at Marina. Despite its age, this 46.5 tonne vessel has been kept in very good shape, remaining almost as immaculate as it was when originally launched in 1955...more

 

Paul Capel Collection. PC notes: "Port Stanley, ON, prior to the move to Parry Sound."

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Paul Capel Collection. PC notes: "Port Stanley, ON, prior to the move to Parry Sound."

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Photos from the sale listing on http://www.scrutonmarine.com/pv2162.htm captured April 20, 2017. 1955 65 x 16 x 5.5' Russel Bros. ex. “Maid of the Mist” passenger vessel. Certified for 64 passengers and 4 crew in Minor Waters II/ Sheltered Waters. 46.50 Gross Tons. Hull was originally built to be used as an Arctic Research Vessel, very heavily built. 2 x D333C Caterpillar engines. Built Owen Sound, Ontario. NorPro 9 KW generator. Honda fire pump, one engine driven fire and bilge pump. Autumn 2012 Transport Canada 5 year inspection. New certificate will be good from spring 2013 to 2018. Price: Vessel $299,999 CDN Also offered for sale: Current business in operation since 1994. AGCO/LLBO Liquor license transferable to new owner. Price: Vessel, with business: $329,000 CDN.

 

For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
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