Steamships have a long and important history to the lives of Vancouver Island residents.
In this photo from the Alberni Valley Museum’s vast collection, a group of people unload boxes, baskets and full sacks from a canoe or a rowboat on a beach near the Albernis, circa 1920. The S.S. Princess Maquinna, a Canadian Pacific Railway coastal steamer, is seen in the distance.
The SS Princess Maquinna linked the Clayoquot Sound region to Victoria via the west coast of Vancouver Island. The ship was named for the daughter of Mowachat/Muchalat Chief Maquinna and it also had a couple of interesting nicknames: ‘The Good Ship Maquinna,’ and ‘Old Faithful.’
There were 12 steamships from the CPR working British Columbia’s coastal waters in the early 1900s, according to Part of Our Past—Coastal Steamships & the SS Princess Maquinna from the Tofino Museum. In 2018 the museum hosted a travelling exhibit called SS Princess Sophia: the Unknown Story of the Largest Maritime Disaster along the Pacific Northwest Coast. Part of the exhibit included information on the Princess Maquinna.
The Princess Maquinna was relatively new when this photo was taken: it was built in 1913 and worked the coast until approximately 1953, when it was replaced by the Veta C. The Princess Maquinna was disassembled for salvage in 1962.
The Tofino Museum in 2018 hosted an exhibition about the sinking of the SS Sophia steam ship. There is a written history on the SS Sophia as well as other ships like the SS Princess Maquinna on their website at www.tofinomuseum.com.
The Alberni Valley’s Maritime Heritage Museum on Harbour Road also has many interesting artifacts and exhibits on maritime history from the local coast.
This photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/