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The "Victoria" Boat Disaster 1881

Victoria Boat Disaster

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted June, 2005

Plaque Location

The County of Middlesex
The City of London
On the south shore of the Thames River
beside a walkway accessible from Greenside Avenue


Coordinates: N 42 58.582 W 81 16.812

Map

Plaque Text

On May 24, 1881, one of Canada's worst marine disasters occurred on the Thames River near this site. The "Victoria", a small, double-decked stern-wheeler commanded by Captain Donald Rankin, was conducting holiday excursion trips between London and Springbank Park. On a return trip to London the boat was dangerously overcrowded with more than 600 passengers. Oblivious of the danger, the crowd repeatedly shifted from side to side, resulting in flooding and a precarious rocking motion of the boat. It finally heeled over and the boiler crashed through the bulwarks, bringing the upper-deck and large awning down upon the struggling crowd. The "Victoria" sank immediately and at least 182 people, the majority from London, lost their lives.

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