The Commodore II: British Columbia Goldrush Centennial Replica

by John MacFarlane 2017

Commodore II

HMCS Cedarwood (Photo from the Crowsnest Magazine.)

In 1958 the Province of British Columbia hosted a year–long celebration to mark the Centennial of the Fraser River Goldrush. At the time this was a very big deal – tied to building pride in the history of the Province and to promote tourism.

Commodore II

The S.S. Commodore II (Photo from the Crowsnest Magazine.)

One of the best attended events in Victoria was the reinactment of the arrival of the S.S. Commodore from San Francisco.

Commodore II

The S.S. Commodore II (Photo from the Crowsnest Magazine.)

The original Commodore was a steam sidewheeler

E.A. MacFayden

Lieutenant Edward A. MacFayden RCN served as the "Mate" In 1956 he was appointed as the Curator of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia while it was still operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. He joined the navy in 1927 and retired in 1960. (Photo from the Crowsnest Magazine.)

The crew of the vessel wore approximations of uniforms and costumes – more "Hollywood" than historically accurate.

Hal Lawrence

Lieutenant–Commander Hal Lawrence served as "Master" of the vessel. He is seen here with Rear–Admiral Herbert Rayner RCN. (Photo from the Crowsnest Magazine.)

R.C.A.S.C. General Schminlin

R.C.A.S.C. General Schmidlin (RCN Official photo CN–3979.)

HMCS Cedarwood

HMCS Cedarwood (Photo courtesy of MMBC.)

In 1941 she was built as the J.E. Kinney at Lunenburg NS by Smith & Rhuland Ltd. 153.2’ x 30.6’ x 12.2’ wooden hull 388gt 256rt and powered by a 550hp engine built by Fairbanks Morse Co., Chicago IL USA. In 1944 she was renamed as the R.C.A.S.C. General Schmidlin and in 1947 as H.M.C.S. Cedarwood and lastly as Cedarwood.

HMCS Cedarwood

HMCS Cedarwood (Photo courtesy of MMBC.)

In 1941–1942 she was owned by J.E. Kinney Ltd., Yarmouth NS. In 1943–1945 she was as a transport vessel owned by the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. In 1945 she was owned by the Minister of National Defence, Ottawa ON. In 1948–1956 she was a Canadian Naval Survey Vessel. In 1956–1960 she was owned by M.R. Cliff Tugboat Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1963–1965 she was owned by Donald A. Bervin (MO), Burnaby BC. In 1965 she was transferred to Port of Nassau, Bahamas.

HMCS Cedarwood

HMCS Cedarwood (RCN Official photo E–16708.)

In 1941 as a civilian vessel she made one run to the Caribbean but was chased back to Halifax by U–boats, her engines burned out. Her Registry was closed in 1947. She was acquired and rebuilt and went into service re–supplying army bases in the Maritimes and Newfoundland. She was transferred to the RCN as a Canadian Naval Survey and Oceanographic Research Vessel for the Pacific Naval Laboratory. She was used on scientific and Arctic supply missions.

HMCS Cedarwood

Cedarwood (RCN Official photo E–44729)

Paid off in 1958 she was fitted with false paddle–wheels and re–fitted to resemble the steamer Commodore as part of the 1958 British Columbia Gold Rush Centennial. She was re–registered in 1961 as the Cedarwood.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Commodore II: British Columbia Goldrush Centennial Replica. 2017.

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