Great White Fleet


A richly illustrated story from the glory days of passenger travel on the Great Lakes.

For decades Canada Steamship Lines proclaimed itself as the world’s largest transportation company operating on inland waters. Its passenger and freight vessels could be found on the Great Lakes as far west as Duluth, Minnesota, and as far east as the Lower St. Lawrence River.

The passenger steamers were known collectively as the Great White Fleet. These ships – from day-excursion vessels to well-appointed cruise ships – had rich histories. The sheer scope of these passenger services were a wonder to behold. No fewer than 51 steamers comprised the passenger fleet at the company’s inception in 1913, and its network of routes was awesome.

This is the story of the beloved steamers of the Great White Fleet from 1913–65, when the passenger vessels stopped running. Nearly half a century after the last passenger boats sailed, this book will provide a window into a wonderful lost way of life.


Porthole into our passenger ship past

(June, 2013)

The book is a fitting and highly recommended addition to the Great White Fleet that once graced North America’s inland waterways.

Powerships Magazine

"The measure of a good book is often the degree to which it informs and entertains. Great White Fleet — well written and magnificently illustrated — does both exceedingly well for this fascinating subject. Bravo Zulu, Mr. Henry!

Maritime Engineering Journal

About the Authors

John Henry

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
John Henry photo

John Henry

John Henry has been a journalist in New York for more than four decades. He covered business for the Associated Press, Newsday and the New York Daily News and has written numerous articles as a freelance for publications in Canada and the United States. He has also been published in the quarterly journals of the Steamship Historical Society of America and the Great Lakes Historical Society. He lives in New York City.