Victoria Boat Disaster 1881, The

On May 24, 1881, one of Canada's worst marine disasters occurred on the Thames River near this site. The "Victoria", a small, double-decked stern-wheeler commanded by Captain Donald Rankin, was conducting holiday excursion trips between London and Springbank Park. On a return trip to London, the boat was dangerously overcrowded with more than 600 passengers. Oblivious of the danger, the crowd repeatedly shifted from side to side, resulting in flooding and a precarious rocking motion of the boat. It finally heeled over and the boiler crashed through the bulwarks, bringing the upper deck and large awning down upon the struggling crowd. The "Victoria" sank immediately and at least 182 people, the majority from London, lost their lives.


Near the site of the disaster, Riverside Park, London

Region: Southwestern Ontario

County/District: County of Middlesex

Municipality: City of London