The 110-year old SS Keewantin from doom to complete restoration in 2017
Please Note: Firefox, iPhones, iPads & some other Search Engines may not be suitable
Use Internet Explorer & Old Google for this Web Page to load perfectly!
Click the logo above to reach the ssMaritime FrontPage for News Updates
With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
Please Note: All ssmaritime and my other related ssmaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues to write article on classic liners and cruise ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure!
The SS Keewantin Story
& Ship & New Dock Dedication July 8, 2017
Let me commence with a brief introduction to
the SS Keewantin story, although Page One has the complete details of her
construction as well as her sister ship and their operational days, also the
Keewantin being rescued to become a maritime Museum. Later she was obtained by
a group led by Eric Conroy for her to return to her homeport at Port McNicoll,
Canadian Pacific Steamship Company operating
their famed CP Railway’s Great Lakes Steamship Service ordered a new
lakes liner to be built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Govan
However for Keewantin’s journey to her
homeport was a rather a dramatic one, for a drastic undertaking had to take
place first. On October 5, whilst she was at the Davie Ship Yards at
The passenger liner, come car ferry SS
Keewantin served the company and the region well! However, in the last twenty
years of her working life, like many passenger ships of that era on the Great
Lakes, she operated under very stringent regulations imposed for wooden cabin
steamships, especially following the terrible SS Noronic disaster in
Doomed by her and her sister ship, the SS
Assiniboia wooden cabins and upper superstructure, these overnight cruisers
lasted through the decline of the passenger trade on the lakes in the post-war
years. As passengers opted for faster modes of travel, the
SS Assiniboia which was launched first operated as a passenger ship until 1965, then sailed with freight only until sold early in 1968
But the future for the Keewantin was indeed
very bleak, as it was thought that she may even be broken up, but she was saved
when she was purchased by
Maritime Historian, Author, and Lecturer.
Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960.
SS Keewantin - Captain Eric Conroy
This is a rather
long story. As
In the day the land
had been the site for freight sheds, train lines and a commercial railway
The old rail station
was used for several uses thus it survived. In June 2012 we brought
Keewatin back, and with minor runs with a bull dozer made the land usable as a
transfer site and a parking area for tourists wanting to visit the
This year, 2017 is
the 150th.anniversary of
Here we see the old Dock area being prepared to become a dock for the ship, a green park and car park
Once we had cleared the rubble from one end of the property we had to move the ship about 350 feet along the dock to where the sail boat is in the picture above. We did this with an earth moving machine and about two dozen mariners we conscripted for the job. It took a full day, and a very cold one at that!
Looking towards the water with a sailboat in view
Three view of the ship being pulled 350-feet forward up the dock
Then the diggers took out all of the materials on the other end of the property. Once we did that it was another cold Saturday to move the ship back along the dock which would let the steel facing for the dock start to be installed. The sheets are 30 feet long fit together. They are welded onto a track that was installed on top old the old concrete dock.
The next phase is to pour large field stones
into the water so they build up against the bottom of the steel plates. These
field stones are followed by river rock, or small stones that encourage spawn
areas for several species of
The final part
of the dock face installation are known as
“Tie-Backs,” these are steel metal sheets folded like
accordions through which rods run that are welded to the dock face then
threaded through the accordion and bolted from the land side of the sheet.
These are 40 feet long and are placed 18 feet from each other. They extend out
into the park the length of the dock buried about 6 feet down. They put tension
into the steel face against the rocks in the water.
The final part of the dock face installation are known as “Tie-Backs,” these are steel metal sheets folded like accordions through which rods run that are welded to the dock face then threaded through the accordion and bolted from the land side of the sheet. These are 40 feet long and are placed 18 feet from each other. They extend out into the park the length of the dock buried about 6 feet down. They put tension into the steel face against the rocks in the water.
Once that had
been done, we had to move the ship again, all the way to the end of the
property by the neighbours house, and work on the other side and fill the area
with sand and a gravel. Once again we used our mighty mariners and some earth
movers to do the job. And the work continued.
Once that had been done, we had to move the ship again, all the way to the end of the property by the neighbours house, and work on the other side and fill the area with sand and a gravel. Once again we used our mighty mariners and some earth movers to do the job. And the work continued.
The next major
move wais to bring the
The next major
move wais to bring the
Then on March
22, 2017 we had an amazing 2,000 people attend, and we raised $22,251.00 for a
great cause and together on a beautiful sunny day, we put the SS Keewantin into
her correct location. It was simply magic! We have applied to the
Guinness World of Records.
Then on March 22, 2017 we had an amazing 2,000 people attend, and we raised $22,251.00 for a great cause and together on a beautiful sunny day, we put the SS Keewantin into her correct location. It was simply magic! We have applied to the Guinness World of Records.
View the video of the
View the video of the
In order to complete this vast work mentioned,
we spent CAD$980,000.00 on this project, thus we able to keep eight local
trades employed at top wages for eight months. In addition, we
purchased all our materials locally except for the steel, but this came from
Here we see the classic 105-year old SS Keewantin in place after her relocation, looking simply beautiful!
The official unveiling of the Dock and Gardens of: “The Confederation Gateway to the West Docks.” Today visitors arrived at 10.45 AM and when the ceremony commenced, “O Canada” was performed admirably by Jake Hamilton. There after a number of speeches were made by Dep. Comm. Roy V. Berlinquette, who read a letter from the Hon. Navdeep Bains. The Mayor of the Township of Tay Scot Warnock presented a framed poster of the “Mighty” Keewantin, followed by a speech by our major sponsor, the COE of Skyline, Mr. Blake Lyon, which lead to the official unveiling by two members of the 60 Midland Legion Pipe Band, who then as a group performed as they came down the Gangplank onto the dock and into the gardens, having been officially opened, and all could enjoy its facilities!
Above & below: Scenes of the Unveiling Ceremony
The Township of Tay had almost become a ghost town, and having created an amazing new tourist attraction with the historic SS Keewatin returned, we have given the community an incredible new Park to enjoy as well as a Maritime Museum, which will bring visitors from around the Country, the USA and from around the world!
In other news we have all of her ten life boats restored and installed, and have just launched a TV commercial that is going viral on the internet.
Also view “The
This is a wonderful film of the historic Keewantin in black & white & colour
Captain Eric Conroy.
Visit: Website for further details
Or email Eric Conroy at: email@example.com
Please Note: ssMaritime is not related to the above foundation, but fully supports it
Return to Page One
SS Keewantin’s complete history, return to Port McNicholl and statistics.
May the great centenarian, the S.S. Keewatin live on at Port McNicoll for another 100 years!
“Blue Water Liners sailing to
the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
But thankfully some are Saved and Continue to live on for future Generations!
ENTER OUR ssMaritime
Where you will discover over 700 Classic Passenger & Passenger-Cargo Liners!
Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story