The Toronto Star‘s Edward Keenan describes how Captain John’s is being taken apart, being recycled.
On a sunny August afternoon, the mouth of the Welland Canal in Port Colborne at the shore of Lake Erie offers a picturesque lesson into the marine history of Ontario. In the waters where shipping traffic once travelled non-stop every day, a few children skinny dip off the steps of the pier; the impressive bulk and height of one of the canal’s few remaining lift bridges overlooks the fading footprint of the three earlier canals that flowed here and the stone abutments of retired bridges and locks; along West Street there are historical markers outlining the ongoing industrial history of the town straddling the now shuttered pilot’s cabin.
And from there, on the Promenade overlook, a familiar site becomes visible across the water: a red star on a white field, above the stylized seriffed letters “John’s Seafo.” Looking closer, there’s a familiar blue plank surrounded by light bulbs, with inoperable neon tubing spelling out “SEAFOOD.” It’s the old ship, alright, what’s left of it, the MS Jadran, which was anchored in the Toronto harbour at the foot of Yonge St. for 40 years, serving as Captain John’s restaurant. Before that it had spent two decades as a passenger ship in the Adriatic. Now it sits in pieces here, the recognizable upper half in pieces emerging from the earth and bush along the canal.
For a visitor from Toronto, it is a startling sight, like the sudden appearance of the beached tip of Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes — the ruin of a familiar landmark in an unfamiliar place. What was for a couple generations an iconic fixture of Toronto’s waterfront has become, for the summer, a part of the view for Port Colborne’s residents and visitors.
More, including photos, at the site.