The SS Moyie with barge, at Crawford Bay.
Image courtesy of Touchstones Nelson Archives
Construction of the SS Moyie in 1898 connected the thriving city of Nelson BC with southern Alberta via sternwheeler service to Kootenay Landing. From there the BC Southern Rail Line carried passengers on to the Crows Nest Pass and into Alberta. The SS Moyie and her sister ship the SS Minto (built at Nakusp for service on the Arrow Lakes), were originally destined for the Stikine River to transport people to the Klondike gold rush. When that fever died out, the steel hulls and machinery that had been fabricated in Toronto, Ontario by the Bertram Engine Works were sent to the West Kootenay. A team of riveters assembled the SS Moyie and the carpenters, painters, metalworkers and boilermakers at the Nelson CPR Shipyard completed the task. The SS Moyie, named for a settlement along the newly established Crows Nest route, was launched on October 22, 1898. Its first trip was from Nelson to Kootenay Landing to celebrate the opening of the new rail line that connected the West Kootenay region with Southern Alberta.
At its peak condition, the SS Moyie would carry 400 passengers. The four-tabled dining room seated 24. The 13 staterooms had a total of three double lower berths, 12 single lower and 14 single upper berths. In 1920, the ship was altered to carry six vehicles on its freight deck.
The SS Moyie's regular run from Nelson to Kootenay Landing met the trains on both ends until the new SS Kuskanook replaced it on the run in 1906. It was moved to the northern part of Kootenay Lake, dealing with passengers, freight and barges there, with the occasional excursion and relief shift for the SS Kuskanook. From 1913, when the SS Kuskanook was placed on the Nelson - Kaslo run, the SS Moyie was moved to the Crawford Bay to Nelson run and also ran barges from Procter to Lardeau until 1930. With the completion of the BC Southern Rail Line from Procter to Kootenay Landing, the “Crow Boat” run was withdrawn. This meant a repurposing of the remaining sternwheelers in service for the CPR. The SS Nasookin became an automobile ferry for the BC Government and the SS Kuskanook was retired. The SS Moyie was moved to the Procter - Lardeau run, with jobbing and excursions to break up the routine. It was kept in service longer than the younger, faster SS Kuskanook due to its steel hull requiring less maintenance than the wooden hulls. In 1957, after 59 years of continuous service, the SS Moyie was retired. It is now a National Historic Site, preserved in Kaslo by the Kootenay Lake Historical Society.
Media Clip Description: The Outlet Hotel in Procter was a popular spot for Sunday picnics. This film clip by the Reverend George R.B. Kinney in the late 1920's shows a group arriving by sternwheeler at the Hotel for a day of festivities.
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