100-Year-Old Shipwreck Found In Lake Ontario

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Queen of the Lakes schooner; image: shipwreckworld.comIn 1906, a ship carrying 480 tons of coal sank in Lake Ontario. The ship was a schooner, with three huge masts, and it was called Queen of the Lakes.

The ship ran into bad weather near Lake Ontario’s southern shore, and started to leak. It sank quickly. The six crew members abandoned the ship and rowed safely to shore.

Some people, whose hobby is looking for sunken ships, located the ship in 2009 using a sonar machine. The Queen of the Lakes was in water that was too deep for divers to reach her.

The searchers had previously found about 200 other shipwrecks, including the British warship HMS Ontario, in 2008. The Ontario was the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes.

Queen of the Lakes
The schooner had been built in 1853 and was originally called the Robert Taylor; it was renamed Queen of the Lakes around 1864. (The schooner is one of three ships also named Queen of the Lakes.)

Recently, the team sent a remote-controlled vehicle down into the deep water to take pictures of the schooner. It is very well preserved because the waters it is in are cold, have very little oxygen in them and don’t move much because there is very little current. The ship’s masts are standing upright. The rigging and sails have rotted away and the large pole (or “spar”) that originally jutted from the bow is gone. But the anchors, cables and winch are clearly visible in the photos.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What do you think the pictures of the schooner could be used for? Can you think of any ways that these pictures could be used in your classroom? What could they teach you and your classmates?

Reading Prompt
There are many technical words in the article that are connected to boats. Some of these words include: mast, schooner, rigging, sail, spar, bow, anchor, winch.  What strategies (e.g. sounding out words, using a dictionary, using the Internet, asking a friend or adult etc.) did you use to figure out these unfamiliar words? Which strategy was the most effective and why?

Primary, Junior and Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: Inanimate objects that have gendered pronouns
Rarely, inanimate objects (things that are not living) are described as being either “he” or “she.” Traditionally, boats are referred to as female. Can you find the reference in the article that describes the schooner as female?

There are many different theories as to why boats are referred to as being female.  What is your opinion?  Why do you think boats are called “she/her”?