The Power–boat Verna

by John MacFarlane 2018


the The Verna as she is displayed on the street. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

In 2018 I visited Kaslo BC (home of the preserved sternwheeler the S.S. Moyie). Across the street I found something on display that presented as much interest as the big ship. It was an old power–boat called the Verna. It is displayed outside (no protection from the weather) across the street from the main attraction.

There is a small paper notice stapled to a board that gives some tantalizingly sparse information about the vessel. Its says "A.T. Garland, a Pioneer merchant, opened a drygoods store in kaslo in 1894. His store was located at 402 Front Street and the original sign from the store is currently in the museum located at 400 Front Street in downtown Kaslo. His boat, this fan–tailed motor, was for many years the main rescue boat in this area due to its speed and stability. It was rescued from the weeds in 1983 by Jimmy Jennings, a young historian, who dreamt of restoring it. When he asked Verna Bowker, the daughter of A.T. Garland, what the name was, she replied "Why the Verna of course! I was his only daughter." Verna Bowker was born in 1905. Whith her passing in 2001, Verna was believed to have been the oldest Kaslo resident, where she spent her entire life!"


Close up view of the Verna's engine (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

What appears to be the original engine is still installed in the hull. The vessel is still in surprisingly good condition considering the years of exposure to the elements. Nautical heritage of the freshwater interior is rare and often neglected or overlooked. This is, for the moment, a celebration of the smaller craft that once were common on the interior lakes.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John (2018) The Power–boat Verna. 2018.

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