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Mary Weeks-Mifflin and Ray Mifflin

Erin (Ont.), Boston Mills Press, 1988. 84pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-919783-75-9. CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up
Reviewed by Jack Brown.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

This is the story of a canal, a lighthouse, and early navigation into the harbour known as Burlington Bay at the western end of Lake Ontario. The bay promised an excellent harbour, good anchorage, adequate protection, and an easily defensible position but it had limited access.

The success of a forwarding company in transporting goods through a narrow inlet in the isthmus prompted the government to build a canal in 1826. But right from the beginning, gales swept away entrance breakwaters and shifted sand into the channel so that constant repairs and reconstruction were necessary. Winds from the northeast blew many schooners aground.

George Thompson, lighthouse keeper for twenty-nine years, kept a detailed record of vessels using the canal and he was an authority on its history. Lakeside hotels and summer tourists brought increased traffic. Bridges across the canal became hazards. A train fell into the canal in 1891 and it took a month to remove the wreckage. Harbour lights have served the region well, and nine photos show various lighthouses that have stood guard.

Weeks-Mifflin and Mifflin are members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers' Association and have long been interested in the preservation and restoration of lighthouses on the Great Lakes. This history, with its early maps and fifty-six excellent photographs of old ships and canal scenes, does much to further their goal. The subject has been well researched and the text is very readable. There is a good bibliography but no index.

Jack Brown, Kingston C.V.I., Kingston, Ont.
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