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Side Launching the Lakers (Posted On: Tuesday, January 03, 2006)

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1985 saw the launching of the MV Patterson, which was one of the last ships launched in Collingwood. On September 12, 1986 the Collingwood Shipyard closed marking an end of an era for the town, and the area as a whole. The Collingwood Mural committee wanted to commemorate the importance of the ship building to the area with two murals. The first is "Side Launch" by artist John Hood.

John Hood is the same artist that painted "Busy Wagons". John along with his sister Alexandra Hood, have painted a 26 x 34 foot mural on the east side of the Mountain View Hotel, at the corner of First and Hurontario Street.

This larger than life mural depicts the unique way of launching the large working lake vessels by sliding the ship sideways into the basin at the end of Hurontario Street. There were only a few places in North America that launched sideways. People would come from all over Canada, the United States and even from other countries to witness this amazing event.

Launch day was an exciting day in town as both young and old would come out to see the amazing spectacle. A few lucky people might even have been able to ride the boat in. But the majority of spectators lined the spit heading out to the terminal building to see the 736 foot giant lake freighters slide into the basin and watch the giant wave clean off the dock area. It is something that cannot be fully described. If you are interested, the Collingwood Museum has a wonderful movie showing a launch from both perspectives of observer and as worker hammering the wedges into the frame to make the boat begin its slide sideways into the basin.

"Side Launch’s" location puts the mural as close as possible to the actual launch basin, and acts as a reminder to local residents and visitors as they arrive along First Street of the towns great ship building heritage.

By Margot Nicolson-Trott,
owner Georgian Frame Gallery

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