Over the Waves: Margaret Olwill

Built and owned by James P. Smith (J.P & L.A. Smith) of Chicago, the Margaret Olwill was a steam freighter during an era when almost all goods and services were delivered by ship to the communities along the water’s edge. A reliable vessel, her wood and steel hull kept her sturdy against the weather of the Great Lakes. 

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Over the Waves: Steamship Clallam

Everyone is a little superstitious. Whether you need to knock on wood when something negative is said, throw salt over your shoulder when it spills, or carry a lucky rabbits foot (or some sort of item like that), everyone has something they do to give themselves reassurance. This is even more evident when you are around sailors and fishermen - everyone has something they believe will keep fate on their side. From a proper christening when she's launched (or renamed), to objects, rituals and routines, many skippers and their crews have ways of doing things to make sure they stay on the right side of the water.

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Over the Waves: Mount Royal

British Columbia has a long list of shipwrecks. Many of them are more recent, including decommissioned Navy ships as artificial reefs (such as the HMCS Annapolis this year), and the sinking of the ferry M/V Queen of the North in 2006. Quite a few of them, however, stem from the turn of the century, when the expansion of the Canadian west was in full swing, and steamships were the way to get people and cargo to communities along the rushing rivers. One such ship was owned by the Hudson Bay Company, and met a quick and unfortunate demise on the Skeena River in 1907. This week, we're looking at the story of the sternwheeler Mount Royal.

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Over the Waves: SS Princess

I've covered shipwrecks in places you wouldn't necessarily expect in this blog before, such as Saskatchewan and Nunavut. I've also already covered one shipwreck from Manitoba, the M/V Ithaka, a modern wreck that is close enough to touch (when the tide is out). This week, we're returning to Manitoba, and to the shores of Lake Winnipeg, where in 1906 one of the most elegant steamships to sail in this area was lost in a storm. We're looking at the story of the SS Princess.

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Over the Waves: SS Clyde

Happy (?) Monday, everyone! When I started this blog, I initially kicked around the idea of each week of "Over the Waves" corresponding with the date that the ship sank/went out of service. Turns out, this is a lot more difficult than it sounds, so I went a different route. However, this week, I have managed to pull it off, and it was too good an opportunity to pass up, so here we go!

I've covered some of the Alphabet Fleet before. Ships such as the SS Kyle and SS Ethie that were members of the Reid Newfoundland Company's fleet of coastal steamships at the turn of the century. This week I'm covering another one, which while not as well known as say, the Kyle, or even the Ethie, this ship was considered crucial to the ports she visited along Notre Dame Bay. Called the "harbinger of spring", her visits to small coastal ports would be met with crowds of locals down at the wharf. This week, we're looking at the career of the SS Clyde.

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Over the Waves: SS Kyle

Hello everyone! I know I'm a couple of days late but this week has just been crazy! I'm happy finally be able to sit down and tell you about a well known Newfoundland ship. The first time I came across this wreck was a few years ago, when I was an intern living in St. John's for the summer. I was on a day-trip out to the community museum in Carbonear, and it was one of my first trips out of the city. It was also very early in the morning, and I was making a desperate effort not to doze off in the front seat of the car (which was being driven by my supervisor). As we drove along the highway, me clutching my coffee, I happened to look down into an inlet and caught glimpse of a ship done up in a traditional early-1900s paint job. With her yellow and black smokestack, black hull, and red keel, I had to do a double take to make sure she wasn't actually operational. I immediately woke up and asked my supervisor what ship I was looking at.

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