S.S. Sicamous celebrates 110th birthday in Penticton

Sicamous turns 110

Hundreds of people of all ages celebrated the iconic S.S Sicamous steam ship’s 110th birthday on Sunday, May 19.

There was a steady flow of people touring the restored stern wheeler that sits on the shores of Okanagan Lake in Penticton. Many even climbed to the top where the captain’s massive steering wheel is located.

“It’s so great to see this many people come out,” said Katie Pereira, general manager of the S.S. Sicamous Marine Heritage Society. “We couldn’t be happier with the amount of visitors and the weather was just perfect.”

Sunday’s celebrations included a family regatta party in the park, free entry into the Sicamous including a red carpet entrance and photo booth, live music in the dining deck and tastings of Cannery Brewery’s Lakeboat Lager and wine from Lakeboat Winery.

Each of the four decks of the ship were packed with people touring the luxury vessel restored to its heydays of when it ran daily trips up and down the lake from 1914 to 1937. Its maiden voyage was May 19, 1914.

In the park there were old fashioned games like croquet, ring toss and corn hole hosted by Penticton Rotary, the Kinsmen and other local non-profits.

“Our theme was bringing back the party games of that era. It was fun to see so many kids enjoy them,” said Pereira.

There was free cotton candy, popcorn and face painting for the kids. Hoodoo Adventures brought a war canoe and regular canoes for people to try out and even race each other.

There were also tours of the S.S. Naramata tug boat which also celebrated its 110th birthday. The tug boat was used to transport fruit from the numerous packing houses along Okanagan Lake to the railway. The tug boat ran until 1967.

Husband and wife Carl and Betty were visiting Penticton from New Brunswick and couldn’t believe their luck that they got to be part of the celebrations.

“It’s great that we happened to be visiting on her birthday,” said Carl while touring the engine room. The couple had a previous visit to the Sicamous last year and loved it so much they decided to come again.

Lots of locals said they had never been inside the Sicamous until today.

“I’ve lived in Penticton my whole life and had never been on the ship until now. It’s awesome. I love heritage. It feels like being in Downton Abbey,” said Ava, after touring the ship.

Volunteer Stewart Scott said he had lived in Penticton 35 years before he ventured on board. But when he did, he was hooked and has been volunteering ever since.

Scott was manning the entrance and giving visitors some history of the ship on Sunday.

“We’ve had over 200 people come through in an hour. It’s been such a good response,” he said. “I think this day will generate some return visitors and hopefully they will bring their friends and family.”

The S.S. Sicamous museum is now open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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