MV Pentowna

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MV Pentowna
Namesake: Penticton and Kelowna
Owner: Canadian National Railway
Route: Kelowna to Penticton
Builder: Prince Rupert Dry Dock
Laid down: 13 May 1926
Launched: 20 June 1926
Maiden voyage: 1926
Out of service: 1973
Refit: 1937
Homeport: Kelowna
Identification:IMO number5274280
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class and type: Motor vessel
Tonnage: 350 GT, 300 NT
Length: 127 ft (39 m)
Beam: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Depth: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Capacity: 130 passengers
Crew: 30

MV Pentowna was a motor ship that transported passengers, and later freight, on Okanagan Lake from 1926 to 1973.[1] It was the first boat to be owned and operated by Canadian National Railway (CNR) on Okanagan Lake and the first diesel-powered boat on the lake.[2] Pentowna served the communities between Kelowna and Penticton with two daily round trips, aiding the development of the Okanagan Valley with its modern technology and speed.


In September 1925, CNR completed its branch line from Kamloops to Kelowna. It built a transfer slip at Kelowna and started boat service on Okanagan Lake with the twin-screw Pentowna. Pentowna was prefabricated at the Prince Rupert Dry Dock yards, and then broken apart and shipped to Kelowna.[1] There, 65 experienced shipbuilders from Dumbarton, Scotland reassembled the boat under the supervision of CNR officials and its future skipper, Captain Roe. Pentowna was of modern design, with a steel hull and twin diesel engines. The absence of boilers and heat greatly improved the handling of perishable fruits, and officials ensured that speed, accommodation, and the buffet service were up to the highest standards in Canada.[3] Pentowna was the first diesel-powered ship on the lake, with the finest and most up-to-date engines possible made by Gardner and Company in Manchester, England. The keel was laid on 13 May 1926. The ship was 127 feet (39 m) long with a beam of 22 feet (6.7 m), moulded depth of 9 feet (2.7 m), and rated for gross and net tonnage at 350 GT and 300 NT. It had accommodation for a crew of 30 and 130 passengers. Pentowna could carry 125 tons of freight at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[2]


Captain Roe originally had 27 names in mind for the new boat, but travelled to Vancouver and found that all 27 were already in the marine registry. Some of these included Kelowna and Orchard City. Finally, the vice president of CNR suggested the name Pentowna, a portmanteau of Penticton and Kelowna, the boat's two terminal stations.[3]


Pentowna was launched on 20 June 1926, and served the communities between Kelowna and Penticton.[4] It made two round trips from Kelowna to Penticton every day, except for Sunday. It left Kelowna at 6am, stopped at Westbank, Peachland, Greata, Summerland, and Naramata, and arrived in Penticton at 9am. It would be back in Kelowna by 1pm and leave again at 2:15, arriving in Penticton at 5:15 and returning to Kelowna by 9pm.[5] It played an important role as CNR's first boat on Okanagan Lake, and improved passenger service to the railway with its modern technology.

Conversion into tug[edit]

Despite its modern conveniences, one problem on Pentowna was vibration. One account even says that it was so bad that ketchup from uncapped bottles would shoot up from the table in the small dining room.[4] Because of these deficiencies and because new highways and modes of transportation meant fewer passengers, Pentowna was converted into a cargo tug in 1937.[1] The job was given to North Vancouver Shipyards Ltd., who installed a new steel deck and towing machinery and stripped off Pentowna's upper structures.[6] The galley was moved to the top deck and the life boats were raised. After a two-month layover, Pentowna went back into service as a freight ship.[7]


CNR ceased operations on Okanagan Lake in 1973. Canadian National Tug no. 6, CNR's other remaining ship, was sold and Pentowna was docked on the Peachland waterfront.[8][clarification needed] In the 1980s, private owners tried to refit the boat for tourism but dropped the project.[1] Pentowna was bought by Dennis Dumaresq, owner of the Michaelbrook Ranch Golf Course in Kelowna, in 1994. However, he decided to scrap it nine years later because he didn't have the funds to refurbish it as planned. Andy Schwab tried to buy the boat and save it for CAD$20,000, but was unable to amass the sum.[9] Pentowna was scrapped in November 2005.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Turner, Robert D. Sternwheelers and Steam Tugs. Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1984.
  2. ^ a b "Pentowna is successfully launched". Kelowna Courier. 24 June 1926.
  3. ^ a b "C.N.R. Boat to be named 'Pentowna'". Kelowna Courier. 20 May 1926.
  4. ^ a b Cox, Doug. S.S. Sicamous: Queen of Okanagan Lake. Penticton: Skookum Publications. 1995.
  5. ^ "Pentowna to enter service on July 26". Kelowna Courier. 15 July 1926.
  6. ^ "Pentowna being given drastic overhaul here". Kelowna Courier. 4 November 1937.
  7. ^ "M.S. 'Pentowna' is back on schedule". Kelowna Courier 23 December 1937.
  8. ^ Turner, Robert D. The Sicamous and the Naramata. Victoria: Sono Nis Press. 1947.
  9. ^ "Tugging for attention". Kelowna Courier. 30 October 2005.