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Local author releases comprehensive history of Kingston harbour

Last Updated on March 31, 2022 by YGK News Staff

Local author and blogger Eric Gagnon has released a new book that provides a comprehensive overview of the train and ship industries of Kingston’s Harbour. The book, entitled Smoke on the Waterfront is 75-pages long and professionally published by Allan Graphics in Kingston, Ontario. The book features several previously unreleased photos from Kingston’s harbour.  

“One hundred photographs, most previously-unpublished, have been selected to illustrate Kingston’s vital waterfront transportation links and commercial enterprises, many of which are only traced on today’s downtown scene. Historians and hobbyists alike will treasure the trove of fascinating facts, plus a plethora of photos and maps curated in this book,” Gagnon said on his website.

Gagnon first began his journey with a modelled electric train kit, taking after Kingston’s waterfront. He meticulously researched Kingston’s railway system and replicated the traditional railway on his model train kit. Gagnon named the scaled train model “Hanley Spur.” He extensively researched photos from the Queen’s Archives in order to obtain photos never before published. 

“Little did I know at the time that my research efforts would lead to this day. As I learned more about the waterfront trackage, complemented by photographs and documents in the Queen’s University Archives, I continued modelling the prototype, while also deciding mid-summer to create my seventh book,” Gagnon said. 

“When my Dad and my siblings posed so placidly on CPR 1095 in August of Canada’s Centennial year, a vacation trip to Kingston was something novel,” Gagnon says.

Gagnon intends to continue research once COVID-19 conditions improve and when Queen’s Archives becomes more accessible. 

The book can be purchased on his blog  Smoke on the Waterfront. A portion of proceeds will be given to the Queen’s Archives in order to support the preservation of archival material. A fireside preview by Eric Gagnon can also be viewed here:

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