The Canadian Princess ex–C.S.S. Wm. J. Stewart

by John M. MacFarlane 2016

Canadian Princess

For more than 40 years this vessel, named for the celebrated Canadian Dominion Hydrographer, William J. Stewart, operated on the British Columbia coast collecting data needed to create new marine charts. She was built in Collingwood, Ontario in 1932 and was sailed to the west coast for service as a Dominion Government Ship (D.G.S.) and later as a Canadian Survey Ship (C.S.S.). With her white hull she was one of the most distinctive and recognizable ships on the Pacific coast.

In 1944 she struck Ripple Rock as she was passing through Seymour Narrows near Campbell River. After striking the rock, she was beached to avoid sinking. In 1979 she was purchased by the Oak Bay Marine Group of Victoria, renamed as the Canadian Princess and refurbished as a hotel ship. She was then towed to Ucluelet harbour where she operated as a floating hotel and salmon fishing resort.

In 1932–1979 she was owned by Canadian Government Department of Marine, Ottawa ON. In 1933 she was assigned to hydrographic survey in BC. She is reported to have been in service with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. After her retirement she was sold and she was renamed as the Canadian Princess and towed to Ucluelet BC where she was permanently moored as a hotel ship. In 2004–2016 she was owned by Oak Bay Marina Ltd., Victoria BC. In 2016 she was purchased by Jordan Rowand (Mountain Premier Demo & Contracting Ltd.) and moored to an Amix Steel–owned barge that is moored immediately up–stream of the two barges used by Schnitzer Steel at their 12021 Musqueam Drive plant. In 2017 she is being broken up for scrap.

William James Stewart (1863–1925) joined the Georgian Bay Survey (later to become the Canadian Hydrographic Service) on March 22, 1884. He took over as Canada’s First Chief Hydrographic Surveyor in 1893 and continued to survey in Georgian Bay and the North Channel until 1894. In 1891, he surveyed Burrard Inlet in British Columbia. In 1895–1897, he with his ship Bayfield was in Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and Lake Huron. In 1898, he was back at Parry Sound. During 1901, he took part in the first year of the Lake Winnipeg survey, but for the next two years, he was in Lake Superior surveying with a new Bayfield. He obtained his Master’s Certificate, Inland Waters in 1897, though he never commanded his own survey ship. He was a member of the International Waterways Commission in 1909. In 1912–1913, he was appointed by the Dominion Government to determine the effect of the Chicago drainage scheme on the level of the lower St. Lawrence River. In 1891 he surveyed Burrard Inlet and installed the first Pacific tide gauges – on the CPR wharf. He was the Dominion Hydrographer 1904–1926.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2016) The Canadian Princess ex–C.S.S. William J. Stewart. 2016.

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