In my blog entry yesterday I briefly mentioned the S.S. Magdalen which preceded the Hochelaga on the Charlottetown-Pictou route. Now, thanks to Brenda Wheeler’s fine website on the history of Liscomb Nova Scotia I have found a photo of the vessel.
In 1922 the steamer was owned by the Georgetown Steamship Company of Pictou, N.S. She had been built in Shelburne in 1906 at Joseph McGill’s yard which was to launched the S.S. Harland two years later. There appear to be similarities in the design. The 134 ton Magdalen was 98.5 feet long with a beam of 21.5 feet and drew almost 9 feet. Her two-cylinder engine provided 28 horsepower to the single screw and she was capable of 10 knots. Passenger accommodation was rated at forty persons and she was rated to carry 80 tons of freight.
The Magdalen was definitely a step down from the S.S. Northumberland. The Dominion Inspector of Subsidized Steamships considered her to be “more suitable” than the S.S. Constance which had been on the route the previous year. On the other hand the Charlottetown Board of Trade said that the Magdalen was “not considered as suitable or satisfactory a boat as the S.S. Constance” but that neither boat was good for the run. The next year they asked for “a much better class of steamer.” In explaining the shortcomings of the vessel M.P. J.E. Sinclair told the House of Commons that part of the problem had been the change of the kind of traveller using the Pictou to Charlottetown service and that the inability to carry automobiles was a serious deficiency.
By 1930 the Magdalen was being operated by R.W. Hendry’s Magdalen Company, probably on one of the subsidized Nova Scotia coastal services. It was recorded as “sunk” in the 1935 Lloyd’s Register.
The S.S. Constance (which was owned by Bruce Stewart and Company) continued to sail from Charlottetown but not as part of the subsidized service. She was noted in several excursion advertisements and in 1924 was hauling coal barges from Pictou to Charlottetown, an activity probably taken over by the S.S. Amla (formerly the D.G.S. Brant) after 1929.