Photo Du JourPostcardsWindsor

Windsor Waterfront – 1930

This photo was taken at the foot of Caron Ave. looking toward the Detroit skyline.

The most interesting thing about this card to me is the ship in the foreground. It is the Vedas, the bootlegging ship owned by Harry Low.

From the Walkerville Times:

When prohibition came into full force in the United States and Ontario, Low saw a chance to make some easy money. He borrowed $300 from a friend and set up a bootlegging business selling liquor to poolroom enthusiasts. But the poolroom was quickly abandoned when profits from the $300 spurred him on to engage in the lucrative whisky export business. Low threw his energies into shipping liquor from a Windsor export dock on the Detroit River by speedboat, ostensibly headed for Cuba and West Indian ports – but, in fact, headed to Michigan destinations and Yankee blind pigs. Soon Low’s operation connected to a network from Windsor docks to Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago and points beyond.

Low quickly outgrew the limited cargo holds of the speedboats. He invested his profits in two large cargo ships – the Geronimo and the Vedas.

Aware of these activities, the United States border patrol agents seized the Geronimo. They moored it to a Michigan dock, but a storm set the vessel free and the Geronimo drifted back to the Canadian side where it soon resumed its rum running. Sometimes you also had to be lucky!

The World War I minesweeper, the Vedas, was refurbished and put into service hauling liquor from Montreal to Windsor, and also boldly crossing Lake Erie to the States for deliveries. But most often, the Vedas would transport its shipments from Quebec and rest offshore just outside the territorial limits of the United States. During the night, swift cruisers would steal out, load up the contraband and ferry it to shore.

The mast visible in the photo stood in Assumption Park along the waterfront until very recently when rotten wood at the base proved to be no match for a wicked windstorm, and the mast came crashing down.

From the city’s “monuments” page:

This 114 foot pole was originally the AFT Mast from the Merchant Ship Vedas (1925-1937), formerly HMS Shearwater and HMCS Shearwater (1901-1925). The Mast, made of one single fir tree, was originally erected in Mic Mac Park in 1937, and then relocated to Assumption Park. The Aft Mast was donated to Windsor’s Department of Parks and Recreation by Joseph Kovinsky in memory of his late wife Anne.

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