Some time ago I wrote a posting about the earliest winter steamers that served Prince Edward Island in the years immediately following Confederation. That post, “The little engines that couldn’t ” started me on an extensive research project on the steamer Northern Light which operated from 1876 until 1888. The results of the research were turned into a paper on the history of the vessel and her designer, E.W. Sewell, which was accepted for publication by the Canadian Nautical Research Society (CNRS) and has now been published in their peer-reviewed journal The Northern Mariner vol. 29 #4. The article, with the title “‘A Marine Nondescript’ Canada’s First Icebreaker” also appears in the on-line edition of the Northern Mariner and can be viewed here. The article is presented in PDF format and so you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader or some other program capable of reading PDF files. The article is quite large and so may take time to download.
An additional posting concerning the Northern Light, which contains an ode to the vessel can be found here.
In the course of the research on the Northern Light article I undertook a search for images of the ship. Although I was unable to find a photograph, the interest in the unusual ship led to a large number of engravings being published in journals and books of the period and one stamp from Canada Post. I was not able to include all of them in The Northern Mariner article and have included them here to supplement the story told in the article. Click on any image to enlarge and start slide show.