Northern Prairie Ships: Nelson River

Laid down at Winnipeg in 1882, the Nelson River measured 146.4 feet stem to stern, 24.5 feet in beam, 7.2 feet in draught, and displaced both 219 gross and net tons. It was commissioned by the Northwest Navigation Company, with its design and construction work possibly supervised by shipwright Peter Girard who oversaw the Spray that was launched nearby for the company earlier that month. On 30 August 1882, the wood hull barge entered the Red River for the first time near the foot of Owen Street [now McDermot Avenue]. She saw use on and around Lake Winnipeg and the Red River and was owned by the Northwest Navigation Company up to at least 1905. Unknown as to when, the vessel’s demise was reportedly that of a wreck. The ships Registry was closed in February 1908.


“City and provincial [A new barge ...],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 29 August 1882, page 8.

“Signals [Yesterday the Marquette ...],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 7 September 1882, page 6.

Ship Registrations 1787-1966, Nelson River, Library and Archives Canada.

Nelson River, The Nauticapedia Project.

We thank John MacFarlane (Nauticapedia) for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 12 February 2022