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Old Jul 27, 2005, 1:58 PM   #1
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A few years ago I heard the City of Hamilton had purchased the famous WWII destroyer battleship 'Haida' and was planning to move it from Toronto to Hamilton as a tourist attraction - stopping in St. Catharines for a badly-needed overhaul and restoration.

So on a very cold, windy and rainy evening...I drove over to Lock #1 of the Welland Canal with the camera and waited in the frigid darkness for the arrival of the Haida as she was being towed across Lake Ontario by tugboats from Toronto.

The ship had been late departing Toronto due to further dredging that was needed to free her from the land-locked berth she'd been at.

The temperature had plummeted, and a light drizzle had started when the ship first appeared at the entrance of the Welland Canal.

All the ingredients for crappy pics were there. Cold temperatures, low light, slow-moving huge ship in the darkness...and of course, the rain.

I fired off as many pics as possible as the great ship was towed in to the lock, using various combinations of flash, high shutter speeds, high ISO settings, etc.

I instinctively knew I wasn't getting the good shots I wanted, and cursed both the weather and nighttime conditions. But the night held a very memorable moment.

As the battleship was raised slowly in Lock #1 to the next level of the canal, a crowd of 100-or-so people had also gathered to watch the Haida's arrival. As the lock doors opened and the destroyer was slowly towed in to the canal, someone in the crowd shouted, "Thanks for bringing her home safely!" and everyone burst in to a spontaneous round of applause in the pouring rain and freezing night air.

My mental snapshot of that moment turned out more vivid than any pic the camera captured that night.

S.K.
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Old Jul 27, 2005, 3:01 PM   #2
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The Haida as she nears the lower doors of Lock #1 of the Welland Canal.

In the distance (on left) people alongside the canal threw their car headlights on and helped illuminate the ship as she was towed in to the lock.

S.K.
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Old Jul 27, 2005, 3:03 PM   #3
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The Haida passes by my position on her way into Lock #1.
Check out the porta-potty on the ship's deck.

The white streaks in the shot was caused by falling rain/snow.

S.K.
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Old Jul 27, 2005, 3:05 PM   #4
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And finally The Haida makes her way out of Lock #1 on the upper level to a great round of applause by onlookers along the shore.

She was moving slowly as I took this final shot and the lighting was almost non-existent (it was a very dark night, also).

S.K.
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Old Jul 28, 2005, 10:05 AM   #5
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I was fortunate to be among the very first people on Opening Day to go onboard the Haida after she'd been towed to Hamilton once the overhaul had been completed.

Here's the Haida restored to her former glory:
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Old Jul 28, 2005, 10:05 AM   #6
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From dockside:
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Old Aug 16, 2005, 6:48 AM   #7
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And, the Port-a-John is GONE
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