The Accommodation

John Molson’s Accommodation

In 1809 John Molson of Montreal, with the help of a ship builder by name of David Bruce, and an engineer named John Jackson, launched the first steamboat on the St. Lawrence River. The Accommodation carried a sail to profit from any favourable winds along the route.

The Accommodation was the third steamboat in the world, the first steamboat built entirely in North America. Its engine was built at Les Forges de St Maurice in the area of Three Rivers.

October 31, 1809 the Accommodation, 75 feet (23 metres) long and powered by a 6 horse engine, left the port at Montreal amidst a great cheering crowd headed for Quebec City. There is some controversy over the length of the boat and the day of departure. An alternate length of 85 feet (approx. 26 metres) and day of departure as being August 19 has been given. passengers were on board for the historic trip.

The Governor General of Lower Canada as well as prominent politician Louis Joseph Papineau were among the distinguished guests on board for this maiden trip.

The Accommodation reached the half way point, Three Rivers, in 24 hours. The entire trip of 180 miles (290k) trip took 66 hours, 30 of which the boat was at anchor to pick up wood to fuel the engine.

The return trip took considerably longer as the boat fought the strong river current.