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Abandoned ship now a local landmark

December 2018


Drivers traveling along the Queen Elizabeth Way know very well the abandoned ship that sits in a small cove in Jordan Station. Officially named “La Grande Hermine” (The Big Weasel), the ship is a replica of the largest of the three ships that French Explorer Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River.


La Grande Hermine has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Niagara region, but it had a more modest beginning in 1914, when it was built in Quebec as a ferry on the St. Lawrence River. It later became a cargo ship and then found a new life as a floating restaurant.

In 1991, the ship was converted into a replica ship and was even turned into a haunted pirate ship for a Halloween charity fundraiser one year to raise money for a student hot lunch program.

The ship was eventually left to rust in a cove at Jordan Harbour in 1997 while its owner sought to relocate it to Niagara Falls for possible use as a floating casino. This never came to be and the owner has since passed away.

Two decades later, the half-sunk ship is a burnt-out, rusting ruin; a victim of time, the elements and an arson fire in 2003.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/abandoned-ship-now-a-local-landmark/

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