The MV Phoebe Ann

New life wanted for MV Phoebe Ann

Paddlewheeler valuable part of Sicamous' history.

Is life on the water over for the Phoebe Ann?

The paddle wheeler MV Phoebe Ann was built in Vancouver in 1971, and named after former mayor Gordon Mackie’s grandmother.

Current owners Peter Steiner and Ellen Visser of the Narrows Village resort are hoping to find someone who will continue to honour the vessels historical significance in the Shuswap.

In a recent email, Visser explained that the boat was cut in half for shipment to Sicamous in three truck-trailer loads and welded back together underneath the bridge in Sicamous.

She pushed a barge that carried cars and became the ferry from Sicamous to Seymour Arm as well as the mail carrier.

Five years later, in 1976, the stern wheeler was disabled and was converted to two Olympic drive propellers.

When the road was extended to Seymour Arm, the Phoebe Ann continued doing tours on the lake and delivering freight, capable of holding up to 100 tonnes.

Steiner purchased the vessel 1998 and moved it to Old Town Bay in Sicamous with the idea that she would serve a planned resort that would accommodate tourist amenities such as accommodation, restaurants, and more.

“She’s a piece of history and what I would like is for her is to keep on being historical,” says Steiner, describing the Phoebe Ann as being in excellent shape. “The problem with the Shuswap is we’ve lost the development; we don’t have hotels, motels or campgrounds, it’s all condos.”

Steiner says it’s difficult for travellers to get a lake experience now, other than what they see from the highway.

Steiner would like someone to take over the vessel and give her a new life providing the lake experience. He believes tourists of today are not interested in long trips from Sicamous to Seymour Arm but suggests a Blind Bay to Scotch Creek route would appeal to people.

“There’s not many people left that want to do an all-day trip,” he said, pointing out the Phoebe Ann is fully licensed, has a bar, galley and can serve meals.

Gordon Mackie, the former owner/operator says his pioneering family arrived in Solsqua in August 1912.

“I was just getting too old,” he laughs about selling the vessel in 1993 to a fellow who used to work for him. “And then I worked for him.”

Mackie enjoyed operating the Phoebe Ann on her run to Seymour Arm, a voyage that took between three-and-a-half to five hours, depending on the number of stops along the way.

“We’d leave here at 8 a.m. and usually get there at 12:30 or 1 p.m.,” he says, noting travellers were given an hour or so to get some lunch or go for a swim. “It was a long day, a good 10-hour day when we ran the ferry and we always had a pretty good crowd on it.”

Mackie says he believes shorter trips, perhaps to the Narrows and back, or Sicamous to Salmon Arm might appeal to people.

But he cautions, the boat has been sitting idle for a long time and could require quite an expensive overhaul before going into service again.

“Whatever is to happen with it, people will have to research carefully,” he says. “Have a good business plan and really research it out.”

Anyone who is interested in taking over the Phoebe Ann or wants more information, can get in touch with Steiner by email at narrows@telus.net.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Automated phone scam targets Shuswap residents

Scammers may be spoofing a local number and claiming they are with the CRA

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

Homeowners arrive in North Shuswap to find thieves busy breaking in

Chase RCMP request assistance from public in tracking down suspects

RCMP called in North Shuswap about vehicle with U.S. licence plates

Police summoned on July 4 regarding car parked with California plates

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Most Read