S.S. Sicamous - Penticton, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 30.110 W 119° 36.649
11U E 310974 N 5486520
Quick Description: On the beach along Lakeshore Drive West in Penticton, the S. S. Sicamous made her last commercial run down Okanagan Lake nearly 80 years ago, in 1937.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 8/15/2020 2:02:30 PM
Waymark Code: WM12ZNB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
Built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1914, the S. S. Sicamous joined the fleet of Okanagan sternwheelers on May 19th 1914, running up and down the lake for only two decades before being retired. One of the largest boats on the lake, she was elegantly fitted as a luxury passenger liner and cargo ship.

Of the dozens and dozens of sternwheelers which sailed the lakes and rivers of British Columbia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the S. S. Sicamous is the largest of the group which has survived to this day. Making her last trip to Penticton in 1951 she became a museum in that year and a restaurant in 1965. In 1988 she was again refitted as a museum, wedding venue and historic site, which she remains today.

Armed with a complete lack of evidence to the contrary, we assume the large anchor at the entrance to the boat to have been the ship's anchor.

Okanagan Lake once served as the main means of transportation for Native and European settlers trading and purchasing goods in the string of communities that settled along its shores. During the 1800’s steamboats carried passengers and cargo between Okanagan communities, with the most notable vessels being the S.S. Sicamous, S.S. Aberdeen, and S.S. Okanagan, all owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Although these vessels’ main purpose was cargo transportation, they also provided first-class passenger service, equipped with smoking rooms, ladies’ saloons, and formal dining rooms.

The Aberdeen made regular voyages from Okanagan Landing to Penticton, taking a day to travel each way. The fastest vessel was the S.S. Okanagan, with a top speed of 25 km per hour and a capacity of around 200 passengers.

The S.S. Sicamous was a magnificent boat, also known as “The Queen of the Okanagan”, carrying an impressive 500 passengers and 900 tons of cargo. In 1949 Penticton bought the S.S. Sicamous from CPR for one dollar and turned it into a museum, where it can be viewed to this day.
From Kelowna Map
S.S. Sicamous
S.S. Sicamous is a large steel-hulled sternwheeler, built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1914, and now permanently beached at the south end of Okanagan Lake in Penticton. It is a prominent feature at the northwest entry to the city on Highway 97.

S.S. Sicamous is one of the better known heritage features of the Okanagan. A municipally designated vessel, it is valued as a symbol of an era. The heritage value of this historic paddle wheeler lies in its pivotal role in the history of transportation, commerce, and the development of tourism in the Okanagan. Built in segments by the Western Drydock and Shipbuilding Company in Port Arthur , Ontario, shipped west by rail and launched at Okanagan Landing on May 19, 1914, S.S. Sicamous cost $180,000, more than any previous sternwheeler in the Canadian Pacific Railway's (CPR) service, and thus epitomizes the CPR's investment in the west.

This sternwheeler evokes the optimism of the pre-WWI era, as is evidenced in her lavishly fitted interior, including a 65 foot (19.8m) long dining room, staterooms, brass fittings, skylights, mirrors, and electric lights. The sternwheeler is also valued for its evocation of a period when boats were places of business and social activity. S.S. Sicamous was connected with public ceremonies accompanying the departure and return of troops from the Okanagan to Europe during World War I. It was also used for moonlight cruises with a dance band. This vessel plied the waters of Okanagan Lake until 1936 and is reflective of an age when the community gathered to celebrate important events.

S.S. Sicamous is valued for its evocation of an era when lake transportation connected the communities of the Okanagan to each other and to the outside world, representing the peak of social and economic development before World War I. It is also valued as a highly visible landmark at the entry to the city and a focal point for the tourist industry. It was used as a museum from 1951 to 1965, and subsequently as a restaurant until 1988 when it was restored and began its life in its current role as an historic site.

- the substantial size of the ship, 200 feet 5 inches (61.1 m.) long
- 227.5 feet (69.3 m.) including the paddlewheel, 39.1 feet (11.9 m.) wide, and displacing 1786.25 tons (1620.45 metric tons).
- the steel hull, which is unique among surviving sternwheelers of Western Canada and the Yukon Territory
- the use of a central kingpost and adjacent hogposts rigged to the bow and stern to allow for a flat bottom without an external keel
- the shallow draft, which was important at small landings on the lake
- the remaining cargo and saloon decks
- the large dining room and staterooms
- original interior brass and wood fittings, inlcuding skylights, mirrors and electric light fixtures
- original boiler
- the historical association with transportation of people and freight to communities on Okanagan Lake and to mining towns in the South Okanagan
- community support for the restoration and maintenance of the vessel since 1951
- association with other historic vessels, including the retired tug S. S. Naramata, located in an adjacent dry berth
- association with volunteer groups who helped restore it, including the Gyro Club, the Penticton Museum, and the S.S. Sicamous Restoration Society
- association with the Western Drydock and Shipbuilding Company of Port Arthur, Ontario
From Historic Places Canada
Photo goes Here Photo goes Here
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Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

1075 Lakeshore Drive West
Penticton, BC
V2A 1B7

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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