Named for the celebrated Canadian Dominion Hydrographer, William J. Stewart, operated on the British Columbia coast collecting data needed to create new marine charts. Her size was close to the maximum allowable to pass through the canals and locks along the St. Lawrence River.
After commissioning, she travelled by way of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, and the Panama Canal to arrive at Victoria, British Columbia in July 1932.
She was designed for oil fired boilers which were changed to coal to satisfy local coal mining interests on the BC coast but the boilers were converted to oil firing in 1958 after the coal mines closed.
The Canadian Princess in Ucluelet harbour
On June 11, 1944 the Stewart hit Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows, and was run aground three miles away in Plumper Bay to avoid sinking. She was given a 40 degree list by the tide and lay imbedded on her side in the mud necessitating that she be put on an even keel before any attempt could be made to re-float her. Damage included a major rip in the bottom of the ship and extensive damage to the ship’s interior due to the beaching. The re-floating operation took almost a month and was one of the most difficult undertaken by marine salvagers.
The Stewart was towed to Victoria for repairs, and was ready for the 1945 field season. Her last hydrographic surveying mission was at Ucluelet in Barkley Sound in 1975, but the survey was terminated due to lack of funds. Stewart arrived back in Victoria on September 20, 1975, and was mothballed while awaiting disposal.
In 1979 she was purchased by the Oak Bay Marine Group of Victoria, renamed as the Canadian Princess and refurbished as a hotel ship. She was then towed to Ucluelet harbour where she now operates as a floating hotel and salmon fishing resort.
- Canadian Princess – ex William J. Stewart
- Built: 1932, Collingwood Shipyards, Ontario
- Length: 228 ft
- Breadth: 36 ft
- Draft: 11.5 ft
- Tonnage: 1295
- Propulsion: Triple-expansion steam, 1200 IHP, twin screw
- Speed: 12 knots
- Range: 3,600 miles
- Crew: 55
- Officers: 7
- Hydrographers: 10
and now you know…