Chris Haslip of Explorer Diving in Kingston recently visited Morton village to dive The Morton Village Wreck. This is a shallow shore dive in the Rideau system and is located about 20 mins north of Kingston. This wreck is thought to be a river boat, possibly a barge or steamboat that once sailed the Rideau Canal waterway system. The Rideau Canal, also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s capital city, to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River at Kingston. It stretches for 202 kilometres (125 miles). The name Rideau comes from the curtain-like appearance of the Rideau River’s twin waterfalls where they meet the Ottawa River.
Wreckage in Morton Village
Lined or moored: none.
Location: on the Rideau River system, just behind the village of Morton. Because of its shallow depth and proximity to shore, it typically attracts a large number of sunfish and rock bass. The wreck has left a small superstructure and some pumps visible. The hull is approximately 120 feet long, which is surprising, given the depth and proximity to shore. Little is known about this wreck. The area is easily accessible by taking Highway 15 north and turning left onto Stewart Street for about 500 meters until you reach the Dam. There is parking, but it is limited to about 4 or 5 vehicles. More research is needed to determine the wreck’s true identity and history.
About Morton Village
In 1851, George Morton purchased the water rights and adjacent land at what was then known as “Whitefish Falls.” In 1857, he registered a model village plan, and by 1861, he had built saw, grist, and plaster mills powered by Whitefish Falls. A garrison fort guarded travellers, traders, and families against a feared United States attack. While steamboats brought produce and travellers up Whitefish (Morton) Creek from Delta and Lyndhurst, a warehouse beside Morton Bay transshipped Morton’s wealth down the Rideau. Mr. Morton’s model community even included a model farm and a cheddar cheese factory. Morton distilleries were founded by the same John Morton. The Rock Dunder Hiking Trail, Rock Dunder Nature Reserve, and Rock Dunder Lookout are also nearby.
It is easy to imagine that this Morton wreck was a left-over ship from that time or possibly a ship that caught fire and sank in the area.