At the Jordan Harbour, just off the QEW, sits La Grande Hermine, or "The Big Weasel", a rusted old ship I have the pleasure of driving by on my bi-weekly trip to and from Toronto. The boat is a well-known landmark throughout the area, and until arsonists set it ablaze it in 2003, was a popular location for a bit of nontraditional urban exploration; the kind term for breaking and entering (if you're in the Toronto area, check out the book Access All Areas, from Infiltration)
Though the boat is very well known to locals and travelers of the QEW, its history is less common knowledge. That being said, this boat has been places in the over 80 years it lived before coming to rest at its undoubtedly very permanent resting place in the Jordan Harbour nearly 20 years ago.
La Grande Hermine was built in 1914 in Quebec, as a replica of the largest of 3 ships Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River from 1535-36 (tragically the boat is a namesake as well. Seriously). The boat was originally used as a ferry on the St. Lawrence, before being turned into a cargo ship and later a floating restaurant, even becoming a haunted pirate ship for Halloween to raise money for a hot-lunch program for students. It came to rest in the Jordan Harbour in 1997, after which the boat's owner passed away before permission could be granted to tow the boat to Niagara Falls to become an offshoot casino facility.
The rusted ship is quite easily accessed from a service road along the highway, and I was really pleased to have the chance to photograph it before stopping at the nearby Prudhommes Antique Market. I'd love to photograph the boat on a stormy day at dawn, but until my schedule and my good sense accept this as a smart idea, these early afternoon photos will have to suffice.
Thanks for reading a bit of local history! I had no idea this hilariously named boat had such a bizarre and lengthy lifespan.