MetalCraft Marine's Site History
In 1673 the Governor of New France, the Comte de Frontenac, and 400 men constructed a fortified trading post named Fort Frontenac. In 1675 Rene Robert Cavelier sieur de la Salle and a number of men including shipwrights strengthened and rebuilt the Fort. The Fort changed hands between the English and French a number of times, and was a key French outpost until it was completly destroyed by the British in 1758.
“For over 300 years our site has been used to build boats, and we're very proud to be able to continue this tradition.”
Fort Frontenac is on a point of land facing Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to the south, and Kingston's Inner Harbour on the Great Cataraqui River to the North, and it's remains can still be seen in downtown Kingston. Our site is about two and a half blocks Northwest of the Fort, and the Inner Harbour literally ends in our drydock.
To aid in the exploration of Lake Ontario, La Salle's shipwrights had built at least one small boat by 1676, and in 1678 there were at least three boats built on our site. That same year, parts of the 'Griffin' were made here, and together with some parts shipped in, everything was loaded up into the little boats, and they set off to complete the building of the 'Griffin' on Lake Erie after they portaged Niagara Falls.
In 1783 the arrival of the Loyalists made Kingston prosper and soon Kingston became an important shipping center. The area underwent a fair bit of transformation as a good deal of shoreline reclamation had been done by the 1840's and there was increasing industrial and commercial activity. Various marine related activities continued on our site and by the middle of the 19th century the site was variously known as Anglin's Shipyard and Davis Shipyard, (the bay we're on is still known as Anglin's Bay).
Boat building and refitting has continued at 347 and 349 Wellington Street ever since, and around 1900 the drydock was built between them to facilitate the ever-increasing shipping industry. By 1908 the part of the bay to the south of us was reclaimed in order to install multiple rail lines and commercial buildings which have since been removed, (it's now the OHIP parking lot), and to the southeast land was reclaimed for Anglin's Coal Yard. In the 1980's the coal yard was covered over and is now a residential development called Frontenac Village.
In the 1930's Canada Dredge and Dock took over our site. During the Second World War they helped build ships for the Navy and continued boat building and repair until the 1980's. The 70 ton fixed crane was removed from a ship after it had been used in the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Photographs of Canada Dredge and Dock taken by Stefan Nybom (sometime around 1972 - 1973).
In the mid 1980's Kingston Marina started up at 349 Wellington amid the boatbuilding and remains there to this day. In 1989 MetalCraft Marine moved its entire operation to 347 Wellington Street and continues the boat building and refitting tradition. In 1996, we purchased 347 Wellington Street and the Drydock. We lease 349 Wellington Street and Kingston Marina as well.
The unique site we have is the only waterfront industrial zoned site left in Kingston, when as little as 30 years ago virtually the whole downtown waterfront was zoned and used for industrial purposes. We are proud to be the sole representative left of what was a great era in Kingston's maritime history. Our drydock still gets used a good deal as we have the only one between Montreal and Whitby that is still functioning. Canada Dredge and Dock's 70 ton crane is still in use and can been seen from the La Salle Causeway as you enter Kingston from the east. If you were to visit our site you would see other historical pieces of equipment, some of which are still in use today.
For over 300 years our site has been used to build boats, and we're very proud to be able to continue this tradition.