Posted by: cruise2 | 28 October, 2011

Captain Ratch Wallace

ratch Toronto Fireboat William Lyon Mackenzie – there for Captain Ratch Wallace, his friends and family.


Yesterday evening Fiona Smith, our daughter, and I were present aboard Wayward Princess ex Cayuga II for a celebration of the life of Captain Ratch Wallace.


The operators of the vessel said that while there might be better ships for a get together Wayward Princess was the appropriate ship as Ratch had captained her both as Cayuga II and Wayward Princess.


I do not know how the crew of the vessel felt but there were 22 Master Mariners who attended the ceremony.  As you can see the Mackenzie just happened to appear to test her equipment.  Captain Wallace was a long-time mariner around the Harbour.

Diana and I first met Ratch aboard the excursion steamer Caledonia in the early seventies.

You may know or have met Captain Wallace aboard RMS Segwun, Canadian Empress or Victorian Empress.  You may also have watched him as a performer on Canadian television –personally I remember him from the programme Seeing Things.  He was a very talented man in many areas.


Captain Wallace died of a heart attack while commanding Canadian Empress within the last two weeks.  His officers and crew drove from Kingston for the event.


“A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon, and someone says, "she is gone".

Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large as when I saw her…
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone says "she is gone", there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout, "there she comes!"…”


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  1. I was one of the co-creators and producers of “Seeing Things” and enjoyed working with Ratch over the course of the series – five seasons. He was always full of energy and enthusiasm for life and it was great fun to hear about his experiences in the maritime trade every time he took a break to appear in another episode. Murray McLauchlan wrote a song about his – probably unique – combination of jobs during that time – it’s called “Moonlighting”.

    I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to know and work with Ratch, my condolences to his family.

    David Barlow

  2. As a former Ferry Boat Captain in Toronto, I had several times worked with Ratch. When I retired , I worked on the Canadian Empress for a couple of seasons and only recently returned to Ontario. I just learned of his passing. It was always a pleasure to meet and work with Ratch and I am truly sorry to hear this news. My condolences to his family.

    Arch Bradbury

    • It’s been a few years now, David. To absent friends.

      • Hear, hear. Still think of Ratch often.

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