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The Steam Ship S.S. Keewatin (1907)


Montreal Register (1907)

Name: KeewatinType: Steam ship ("Schooner")
Official Number: 125985Port of Registry: Montreal #33 of 1907
Where Built: Govan, ScotlandBuild Year: 1907 (launched 1907-06-07)
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Govan, Scotland, yard number 453
Owner: Canadian Pacific RailwayInsurance value: £78,500
Tons Net: 2470.22Tons Gross: 3856.01
Length: 336.50 feetBreadth: 43.80 feet
Depth of Hold: 27 feetMasts: 3
Decks: 2
Final Disposition: Certificate cancelled and Registry closed 19 May 1967 (sold foreign)

Keewatin, Valentine and Sons, 1911 Click for enlargement.

See also the entry for the S.S. Keewatin in our ships Database.

See also the entry for the Canadian Pacific Railway fleet list, Great Lakes service only


  1. Engine 4 cylinder, reciprocating, direct acting, quadruple expansion, 23½, 34, 48½ & 70 in. bore, 3' 9" stroke, 298.68 nhp, 3000 IHP, for service speed 14 knots. 4 steel Scotch boilers at 220 psi. all by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Govan, Scotland, 1907.
  2. Signal letters: VGMC
  3. Certificate cancelled and Registry closed this 19th Day of May 1967. Vessel sold to foreigners (USA subjects). Advice received from registered owners.

Montreal register, 1907-1967 Click for enlargement.


  1. The Keewatin made her maiden voyage from Glasgow (the John Brown Yard?) to Montreal (1907-09-14 to 1907-09-23) in cargo (steel pipes), no passengers. Between October 5 and 15, she was cut in half by the Davie Shipyard (Lauzon/Lévis QC) (planned removal of rivets) for towing through the St Lawrence, Lake Ontario and Welland Canal (locks insufficient for her length) to the Buffalo Drydocks, for replacement of the rivets manufactured by Fairfield Shipbuilding and carried as cargo. This operation was completed by 19 December 1907.
  2. Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. of Govan, Scotland, were by far the biggest shipbuilders contracted by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, building twenty-one ships, for a total of 243,237 gross registered tons.
  3. The Keewatin's original hull colour was black. She was repainted white in 1919 and has remained so ever since.
  4. The Keewatin, more often in her early days, has been described as a "schooner." This is a somewhat romantic misinterpretation of the fact that she was built with three masts. These mast were not designed to carry sail, were not rigged to do so, and never did carry sail – they were mostly for aesthetic reasons, but could probably have been rapidly rigged, in harbour, to assist with cargo handling; other uses would have included flying signals, and eventually radio antennae.
  5. At some time around 1950, the Keewatin had her original three wooden masts replaced with two steel masts. Zimmmerman "Ninety five years young", suggests that she lost her mizzen, but that in 1955, her mainmast was moved aft of her funnel to the original position of the mizzen.
  6. The Keewatin was in passenger service until 1965, when rising operational costs and more stringent safety regulations put an end to CPR passenger services on the Great Lakes. The Keewatin continued carrying cargo until 1966.

Newspaper and other transcriptions

  1. The Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Govan, launched on Saturday the screw steamer Keewatin for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company's service on the Great Lakes of North America.... the naming ceremony being performed by Miss Piers, daughter of Mr. Piers, manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company's steamship lines.   Glasgow Herald, 8 July 1907.
  2. On October 5th [1907] the Keewatin arrived at Levis Dry Dock, Quebec, to be cut in two ... a procedure not unfamiliar at the time.   Telescope, Vol XLIV, number 3, May/June 1996, Howard J. Peterson.
  3. Keewatin, built by Fairfields, Glasgow in 1907 for Canadian Pacific's Great Lakes route, is the centrepiece of a major property and community regeneration scheme beside Port McNicoll Ontario. (Promotional flyer, Skyline International) ... a US-Canada co-operative effort saw her return to Port McNicoll in 2012 as the lynchpin in a major regeneration project for the town. She was back in that Great Lakes port 45 years after she had left it and 100 years since she began work there.   Sea Breezes, December 2014, 086/828, p.16.
  4. SS Keewatin towed in to Hamilton Harbour ... A historic Great Lakes passenger ship that was once the link between Canadian Pacific Rail lines was towed through the Burlington Canal into Hamilton Harbour Saturday, delighting onlookers. ... to Heddle Marine in the harbour where it will undergo a $2-million retrofit. ... Following the retrofit, the ship will be moved to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. The attraction is set reopen in 2024.   The Hamilton Spectator, April 30, 2023.

References and source notes

(2-4) Various register entries
(5-10) NMA archival records
(11- ) Newspaper and other source transcriptions



Ship documentation

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