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House flags of Canadian Shipping Companies (page 3)

Last modified: 2005-12-17 by phil nelson
Keywords: canada | canada: shipping companies | canada: maritime house flags | maritime house flags: canada |
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Imperial Oil

[Imperial Oil] iamge by Jarig Bakker

From The National Maritime Museum:

The house flag of Imperial Oil Ltd, Toronto. A rectangular flag divided diagonally in blue and white, with the letters 'I. O. LTD.' in white and blue. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and two Inglefield clips is attached.

Brown (1951) has thinner letters, and small capitals TD
Jarig Bakker, 17 August 2004

See also:

Job Brothers & Co., Ltd.

[Job Brothers] contributed by Jan Mertens, 26 October 2005

The Maritime History Archive (Univ. of Newfoundland) offers a number of interesting virtual exhibits. One of these concerns the Job Brothers shipping company of Saint John’s.

Straight away we see a letterhead showing an unusual double house flag (image is clickable): a ‘Blue Peter’-like flag i.e. a blue-bordered white rectangle, above a longer, and narrow, red pennant.

Interestingly, some accompanying photos show a racing boat also called ‘Blue Peter’ whereas a ship of the same name would be a pioneer in freezing and canning at sea.

The above site is my only source of information so I’ll note a few highlights. What’s in the Archive is listed on this page

Having its origin in Bulley, Job and Co. of Teignmouth, Devon (GB), and active in various maritime undertakings (shipping, trading, outfitting) under that name since 1789, this firm moved to Liverpool in 1809 and maintained the Newfoundland side of the business i.e. fishing during the spring. Divided in 1839 into one company retaining the name and another one, Job Brothers, at Liverpool. (Over the years to come, temporary names would reflect the influx of new partners.)

Sealing vessels plus oil and fertilizer manufacturing represented a wider business scope during the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. Additional interests were mining, timber, and canning.

An incorporation in 1909 led to the adoption of the name 'Job Brothers & Co. Ltd'; from 1927 to 1943, the famous Hudson’s Bay Co. possessed a majority of shares, a role taken over two years later by Northatlantic Fisheries. which also controlled various industrial subsidiaries. Finally, in 1967, Job Brothers’ remaining activities ceased. (Sometime during its existence there was a link with Blue Peter Steamships Ltd.)

A note on the Liverpool establishment: see the on-line 1912 Lloyds Flags & Funnels, No. 1260 ‘Job Bros., Liverpool’.
Jan Mertens, 26 October 2005

Kerr Steamships/Kerr Norton Marine

[Kerr] image by Jorge Candeias

Lock Tours

[Lock Tours] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 22 October 2005

This company organises boat tours, dinner cruises, etc. on and around the Soo Locks, situated between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

This part of the world yields many a fine flag - as I've found out to my delight - and the house flag in question is no exception. It is white with a red St George cross, a blue-bordered white rectangle situated in the centre. I cannot use the term 'voided rectangle' as in that case, the cross's centre would be visible, or even take up all the space!

Website of the firm, situated in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (right on the CA-US border) is at

Therea are several flag pictures in the photo gallery.
Jan Mertens, 22 October 2005

Lower Lakes Towing, Ltd.

Close up of logo
[Lower Lakes Towing] contributed by Jan Mertens, 7 September 2005
Source: Boatnerd

Caption: "Dont give up the ship (Lower Lakes Towing)", showing the blue flag with the famous quote (by Commodore Perry (U.S.) and a shy house flag.

Here it's a modern rendition, of course. See the photo from the huge Boatnerd site which shows the house flag more clearly: i.e. an Indian's head (apparently in natural colours) on a white disk inside a black steering wheel, on a red flag.

Logo and some information at the head of this pdf file (beginning of 2005):

Lower Lakes Towing is a hands-on, customer-oriented company on the Great Lakes specializing in the movement of dry bulk commodities by way of self-unloading, fresh water vessels. As one of the only growing companies on the Great lakes we have expanded from a small tug and barge operator to a fleet of four self-unloading bulk carriers within the space of 10 years.

Company seat: Port Dover, Ontario (CA). However the firm also has a US subsidiary, Lower Lakes Transportation, operating three ships according to which also shows the logo quite clearly.
Jan Mertens, 7 September 2005

McKeil Marine Ltd

This firm based in Hamilton, Ontario is above all known as a tug and barge operator on the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence Seaway but is active in other maritime sectors as well. From the "Our Company" section (subsection "Background") of the company website:

McKeil Marine Limited is a family-owned company that has been involved in various sectors of the marine industry since 1956. Having begun as Evans McKeil Work Boats Limited, the company has grown and diversified its activities in the fields of marine transportation, towing, ship docking, icebreaking, salvage services, chartering, and marine construction.

With a fleet in excess of 45 vessels and 60 barges, McKeil Marine specializes in the transportation of dry and liquid bulk, oversized project cargoes, heavy equipment, and general cargo on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, the eastern seaboard and in the Canadian Arctic. The acquisition of larger, ocean-going tugs and barges has also enabled us to expand into the international trade market.

More background in this electronic National Post article:

The company's beginnings were modest. Evans McKeil, from Pugwash, N.S., worked for an Ontario dredging company during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s, when dredges were working 24 hours a day wherever there was marine construction work. Mr. McKeil decided to build a boat to run crews to and from the dredges. The company's first shuttle boat, the Micmac, was built by Evans McKeil and his father, a former wood mill owner, in Ancaster, Ont. Soon after, a fire destroyed the wooden boat, but the young entrepreneur built another and gradually began to acquire others, in its first steps toward building the marine service company that now employs 200 people.

The firm’s logo, a running horse, appears nowadays on various parts of the ships’ superstructure and of course on funnels - there used to be a simple set of initials "MK".

A blue flag with white running horse is, or was, not the only McKeil house flag it seems.

Indeed, the one I've encountered is much more like the firm's logo.
Jan Mertens, 10 November 2005