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Iconic steamliner S.S. Keewatin passes through Sarnia

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Tara Jeffrey

A ‘last-of-its-kind’ iconic steamliner made its way down the St. Clair River, Wednesday, as residents, ship enthusiasts and photographers lined the waterfront to catch a glimpse of history.

The century-old S.S. Keewatin passed under the Blue Water Bridge just before noon, on its way to be permanently relocated from Port McNicoll to the Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston, Ont.

The S.S. Keewatin, along with tugs Molly M1 and the Manitoulin, approach the Blue Water Bridge, Wednesday. (Jeff Evans photo)
The S.S. Keewatin passes Stag Island, Wednesday afternoon. (Ray Croteau photo)

Pulled by the Molly M1 — one of three tugs to assist along the route — the 300-foot Keewatin is the world’s last Edwardian (Titanic-era) passenger steamship.

A pilot exchange was expected to take place in Port Huron, while the tug Manitou will assist from Port Huron to the lore Detroit River, while the Vigilant 1 was expected to be the tail tug for the Welland Canal.

According to, the tow is bound for the Heddle Marine shipyard at Hamilton, ON. After drydocking, the Keewatin will be towed to her hew home in the transportation collection of the Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes.


Facts about the Keewatin:

  • The Keewatin is an Edwardian-era (Titanic-era) steamliner formerly owned by CP Rail and built in 1907 by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd. of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • CP Rail steamships such as ‘The Kee’ ferried tourists, settlers, and cargo throughout the Great Lakes until their retirement in the 1960s. This ship is the last of its kind, with its sister ship having been scrapped in 1970 following a fire.
  • The ship appeared on CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries, episode 701, and was featured on a 2020 Royal Canadian Mint coin. Its history has been documented in two books.

(Source: Marine Museum of the Great Lakes)

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