Canadian Pacific Railway Lake and River Service

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Steamboats Sicamous, Kaleden, York, and Aberdeen at Okanagan Landing, British Columbia, 1916.

The Canadian Pacific River Lake and River Service, also known as the British Columbia Lake and River Service, was a division of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) which began operating passenger and cargo shipping routes along British Columbia's inland waters during the late 19th century.

CPR overview[edit]

In 1884, CPR began purchasing sailing ships as part of a railway supply service on the Great Lakes. Over time, CPR became a railroad company with widely organized water transportation auxiliaries including the Canadian Pacific Railway Upper Lake Service, the Trans-Pacific service, the British Columbia Coast Steamships, the British Columbia Lake and River Service, the Trans-Atlantic service, and the Ferry service.[1]

In the 20th century, the company evolved into a transcontinental railroad which operated two transoceanic services which connected Canada with Europe and with Asia. The range of CPR services were aspects of an integrated plan.

British Columbia Lake and River Service[edit]

CPR's expansion in the West included expanding routes.[2] More ships were added to the inland waters fleet. For example, in 1901 CPR built three sternwheelers for use on the Yukon River — the Tyrrell, the Duschesnay, and the Dawson.[3] The investment in more ships was accompanied by increased numbers of CPR workers. Expansion required additional CPR station and terminal structures to be built.[4]

Inland fleet[edit]

Active Service Vessel Name Launch Date Maiden Voyage Other Names Notes Loss Date
Canadian Pacific Railway (1884–1915)
1893 Aberdeen[5] 1893 1893 Lake Okanagan 1919
1911 Bonnington[6] 1911 1911 service on Arrow Lakes BC 1931
Dawson[3] . . . Yukon River[3] .
Duschesnay[3] . . . Yukon River[3] .
Kaleden . . . Lake Okanagan .
Kootenay . . . . .
Kuskanook . . . . .
Lytton . . . service on Arrow Lakes BC
Minto . . . . .
Moyie . . . .
Naramata . . . At Penticton, near the Sicamous. Restored .
1907 Okanagan[7] 1907 1907 1938
1914 Sicamous[8] 1914 1914 Lake Okanagan; museum ship at Penticton, BC 1949
Tyrell[3] . . . Yukon River[3] .
York . . . Lake Okanagan .

21st century[edit]

Despite many changes, including corporate mergers and restructuring, some elements of the lake service continue to operate.

See also[edit]

Steamboat York being assembled from prefabricated parts, at Okanagan Landing, BC, in 1901


  1. ^ Smith, Joseph Russell. (1908). The Ocean Carrier: a History and Analysis of the Service and a Discussion of the Rates of Ocean Transportation, p. 186., p. 186, at Google Books
  2. ^ American Association of Passenger Traffic Officers et al. (1907). The Official railway Guide: North American Freight service edition,p. 573., p. 573, at Google Books
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Morley, Alan. (1961). Vancouver; from Milltown to Metropolis, p. 118.
  4. ^ Morley, p. 135.
  5. ^ Miramar Ship Index, Aberdeen, ID #1100675.
  6. ^ Miramar, Bonnington, ID #1130555.
  7. ^ Miramar, Okanagan, ID #1122378.
  8. ^ Miramar, Sicamous, ID #1134276.


  • Morley, Alan. (1961). Vancouver; from Milltown to Metropolis. Vancouver: Mitchell. OCLC 70456349
  • Musk, George. (1981). Canadian Pacific: The Story of the Famous Shipping Line. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada. ISBN 978-0-03-920291-0; OCLC 7540915