The Champlain

The Champlain was built in 1904 from the wreck of the Queen which had served on the river for only part of a year. She was 135 feet long with a 266-ton capacity. She was screw propelled and spent most of her career on the Belleisle route. She was an excellent market boat, having worked up a good trade in both freight and passengers. Her end came at Glenwood on April 25, 1922, where she was destroyed by fire, even though strenuous efforts were made to save her. For years, her remains were to be seen just below the wharf there.

Market boats were usually in Saint John before mid-afternoon. Farmers and butchers would travel to the city with their country produce and meat. At the Saint John terminus they were met by various wholesalers and retailers whose goal it was to purchase at the lowest price. As the quality of the produce offered for sale varied considerably, and packaging was not standardized, there was a good deal of bargaining and, at times, plain haggling resulted.

Many farmers were strictly honest and made sure that berries or potatoes in the box, or crate, were of uniform size throughout. Others were not above wrapping a piece of ice in the cow hides they had for sale, a clever device since they would weigh more at the time, yet the incriminating evidence would have melted before the hides were open.

In the early season, a "sellers" market existed, but later, as produce became more plentiful, the buyers had things pretty much their own way. One farmer, incensed at the low price offered him, carried his produce to the side of the steamer and dumped it overboard, remarking: "I am sure now at least of getting my crate returned".