19th Century Schooner Uncovered At Toronto's Historic Waterfront

In preparation for construction work, a routine archaeological dig at the site of Toronto’s former waterfront has resulted in the discovery of a 200-year-old schooner. It’s one of the oldest ships ever found in the city.

The remains of the schooner, which may date back to the 1830s, were found at a Concord Adex construction site. It was discovered by ASI, an archaeological and cultural heritage firm. Excavations began this past March in an effort to uncover the remains of the Queens Wharf and other buried items.


The ship was found about a half-kilometer away from the current shoreline; infill from rapidly expanding urban development has pushed the shoreline to where it is today.

The only things left intact are the keel, the lowermost portions of the stern and bow, and a limited section of the bottom of the hull on the port side.

“Based on what we have seen so far, this seems to be a vestige of one of the earliest vessels found in Toronto,” noted senior archaeologist David Robertson in a press release. “We plan to undertake an extensive study to find out everything we can about the vessel. At this time, however, we’re not confident it will be possible to preserve the remains.”


Other similar discoveries in Toronto include a mid-19th century vessel found at the current site of the Rogers Center, and a turn-of-the century commodore discovered during the construction of the Air Canada Center.

Photos: Jennifer Yeaman


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