My first memory of seeing the S.S. Keewatin was in the late 1960’s in Douglas, Michigan. I was fascinated. Having never set eyes on a passenger ship up close, I marveled at her size and imagined what it would have been like to sail the Great Lakes on such a ship.
Five years older than the RMS Titanic and built in Scotland, she sailed the Great Lakes for over sixty years as a luxury passenger ship for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Today she is the only remaining Edwardian Era Steamer in the world, as all her sister ships have either been scrapped or sunk.
She was saved from the scrap yard by R.J. Peterson, who towed her into Douglas, Michigan and used her as a maritime museum. In 2007 he was approached by a group interested in returning her to Port Mc Nicoll, Ontario. They wanted to restore her and display her in her home port. Peterson agreed and said, “It’s a treasure that needs to be preserved. Here it’s a local attraction, but in Canada it has historic connections.”
The ship left for Ontario on June 4th and made a stopover in Mackinaw City, where we visited her today. If you look at her website, http://sskeewatin.com, you’ll see how excited the folks are in Port Mc Nicoll. They’re even throwing a big party on June 23rd, when she is pulled into port.