SS Moyie

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SS Moyie was ordered by the Canadian Pacific railway. It was one of a number of paddle steamers that carried passengers and freight from Kaslo along the length of Kootenay Lake to the rail head at Nelson. She was in service from 1898 to 1957, when she was the last operating boat of this type.

The boat was sold by CPR to the town for $1 and the Kootenay Lake Historical Society was formed to raise the finance to restore the boat and run it as a museum.

She is berthed on Front Street in Kaslo and accessed through Kaslo Visitor Information Centre which is in the old station building. It is open from mid May to mid October and there is a self guided tour which takes about 45 minutes. Only the freight deck is accessible for wheelchairs.

It has been beautifully restored and an eye opener as to the standards of luxury provided for travellers with dining room, cabins and lounges.

On the freight deck, the stoke hole of the boiler and and the generators and pumps working the great paddle can be seen. These are freshly painted and look bright and colourful. The crews quarters are here and are spartan when compared with the luxury upstairs. There is a galley and mail office.

The boat carried all sorts of freight from motor cars to barrels and boxes of fruit.

Above is the Saloon deck with the gentlemen’s smoking room at the front with varnished wood and picture windows. There were storage racks for luggage and tables to play cards. This is a very masculine place with little decoration.

In the middle of the ship was the large dining room with varnished floorboards and carpet runners. There were no dining cars on the trains so passengers had to eat on the boat. There was a small alcove with piano and the state cabins are off this room. The small clerestory windows have beautiful sepia and white images of scenery. Below is a highly decorative frieze with gold leaf motifs. There was a pantry and small bar.

The ladies’ saloon was at the rear of the ship and was the height of luxury with fitted carpets, curtains, padded seats around the walls and tables and basket chairs. There was even a central radiator to provide some warmth.

This was fascinating visit and well worth while. Kaslo itself is a pretty little town with some nice heritage buildings.

The website for SS Moyie:

Our pictures begin here.

We visited as part of a five week trip to Canada. There is an overall report of the trip here. /

I have written a series of detailed reports for some of the places visited for Silver Travel.

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