Long live the steamboat!
Did you see all that smoke and hear that noise? These new steamboats sure are beautiful. Mr. Molson was the first person to have one. It’s called the Accommodation and it made its maiden voyage in 1809. Me? I’m Jeremy. I’m only 10 years, but I dream of becoming a captain one day. It’s a big job that involves carefully planning trips. The advantage with these boats is that travel time can be calculated with some precision, which is certainly not the case with a sailboat.
My grandfather told me that in the days of New France, it took 4 to 6 days to make the trip between Québec City and Montréal. In the Mercury newspaper, they say that steamboats can make the trip between Québec City and Montréal in just 66 hours. That’s less than three days! It costs around $9 to make the trip and food is included.
The steamer is propelled by a wheel system. At the end of each double-spoke wheel is a square board that enters the water and acts like a paddle as the wheel turns. The wheels are powered by steam which is generated inside the boat by burning wood or coal. A mast is attached to the bridge so that a sail can also be used when the wind is favourable to make the boat go even faster. My favourite steamboat is the Swiftsure.
It carries military troops on the St. Lawrence. Most steamboats transport goods and travel deep into the territory because they can navigate in shallow water. Unfortunately, they cannot navigate the St. Lawrence in the winter because of the ice. They say that these ships will soon be able to cross the Atlantic Ocean.