The Isaacs Gallery Ltd., Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Between the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, before adequate roads were built and when trains could only take you so far, steam ships were the main source of transportation for vacationers who wished to visit the Great Lakes. The Germanic was a steamship that during the course of her lifetime served many purposes: freighter, logging boat and ferry.
In 1908 the ship was re-built and sold into Canadian registry, where a year later, while loading lumber at a saw mill, she caught fire and was cut from the dock to save the mill, floating across the bay where she eventually burned to the waterline.
Angus Trudeau (1908-1984) chronicled life around Manitoulin Island. He had first-hand exposure to such ships as a deckhand on ferry boats and as a logger. Working from fond memories, most of the ships he painted were done after they had sunk or been de-commissioned. Yet rather than recording these works formally and as a strictly archival exercise, his fond nostalgia for such vessels takes license animating his subject. Here, unburdened by its sad ending, Trudeau elects to depict the Germanic (here rechristened by Trudeau Cermanic) in its happier incarnation - with a sartorial display of cheerful holidayers on board, cruising the sparkling waters of Lake Huron. This work was executed in 1980.