Ships which were important to Nanaimo
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Nanaimo Historical Society
Audio recording and transcript of Parker Williams' September 2007 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about ships that were important to the city of Nanaimo. Because the society is interested in expanding their commemorative plaque series at the waterfront about influential vessels in Nanaimo’s harbour, Williams, who is both an NHS member and a former marine engineer, has researched vessels that could be candidates for future plaques. He introduces the following vessels to the group for consideration: the Spanish schooners Sutil and Mexicana, which in 1792 explored local waters, including the Nanaimo harbour; the Hudson's Bay Company steamers, Beaver and Otter, which had long, interesting histories on the coast, and also the HBC schooner Cadboro, which carried the first load of coal out of Nanaimo in 1852; the Alpha, which was the first vessel built in Nanaimo; the Quadra, a government patrol vessel; City of Nanaimo, Joan, and the Robert Dunsmuir, three passenger ships owned by Robert Dunsmuir and operated in conjunction with the schedule of the E&N Railway; Princess Elaine, the CPR passenger vessel which travelled between Nanaimo and Vancouver; Atrevida, which was the first regular passenger ferry to Gabriola Island; Maude, Cariboo Fly, and Isabel, which were all small mail and passenger vessels making stops in Nanaimo; the Kahloke, which was a passenger ferry operated by Black Ball Ferries; the H.M.S. Virago, a warship of the British Royal Navy, which spent time in the Pacific maintaining law and order; the Egeria, which surveyed the east coast of Vancouver Island; the Carolina, the schooner in which the infamous Captain Jemmy Jones made a record setting coal run from Nanaimo to Victoria; the SS Oscar, which exploded in the Nanaimo harbour in 1913; the tugboats Nanaimo Chief, which was known for winning tug races in Seattle, Estelle, which was built by Andrew Haslam and sank off Cape Mudge with all hands lost, and Rainbow, which towed barges of miners over to Protection Island to work; and the naval vessel H.M.S Sparrowhawk, which was stationed in Esquimalt from 1866-1872, and was sent to Nanaimo in 1870 because of labour unrest.