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John Henry

Great White Fleet:  Celebrating Canada Steamship Lines Passenger Ships 

About the book:  For decades Canada Steamship Lines proclaimed itself as the world's largest transportation company operating on inland waters. Its passenger and freight vessels could be found on the Great Lakes as far west as Duluth, Minnesota, and as far east as the Lower St. Lawrence River.

The passenger steamers were known collectively as the Great White Fleet. These ships – from day-excursion vessels to well-appointed cruise ships – had rich histories. The sheer scope of these passenger services were a wonder to behold. No fewer than 51 steamers comprised the passenger fleet at the company's inception in 1913, and its network of routes was awesome.
This is the story of the beloved steamers of the Great White Fleet from 1913–65, when the passenger vessels stopped running. Nearly half a century after the last passenger boats sailed, this book will provide a window into a wonderful lost way of life.

About the author:  John Henry is a journalist and author based in New York City who has reported on business for the Associated Press,Newsday and The (New York) Daily News. He now freelances and his articles on travel and transportation have appeared in major newspapers in the United States and Canada. He also has been published in the quarterly journals of the Steamship Historical Society of America and Great Lakes Historical Society.

His most recent work is Great White Fleet: Celebrating Canada Steamship Lines Passenger Ships, published by Dundurn in May 2013. This handsome and lavishly illustrated hardcover book tells the story of the vast fleet of passenger ships once operated on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River by Canada Steamship Lines of Montreal. There was nothing like it in scale or scope on North America’s inland waters. The last of the company’s splendid passenger ships sailed in 1965 but this book offers a window into a wonderful lost way of life.

John Henry, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., is an alumnus of Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., and holds master’s degrees from Columbia University’s business and journalism schools. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Sally, memorabilia from Canada Steamship Lines always close at hand.

Contact the author at:

Photo Credits:  

"Kingston" bow shot, courtesy Jas Bascom Collection.

"Prince Lachine", courtesy Library and Archives Canada.


Great White Fleet: Celebrating Canada Steamship Lines Passenger Ships is available at the following bookstores
Montreal, Paragraphe bookstore.
Toronto, Nautical Mind bookstore.
Kingston, ON, Marine Museum of the Great Lakes and Novel Idea bookstores.
Buffalo, N.Y., The Lower Lakes Marine Historical Society Museum.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, The Old Niagara Bookshop, Niagara Historical Society.
St. Catherines, Ont., Welland Canals Centre, Lock 3.

Great Britain, Mainmast Books and Ships in Focus.
Order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble