The SS Moyie is truly one of a kind. The oldest intact passenger sternwheeler ship in the world built in 1898, the Moyie ended its service on Kootenay Lake in 1959. Unlike most sternwheelers that plied inland waters in BC and the Yukon that were either scrapped or burnt at the end of their working lives, the SS Moyie has survived and thrived in Kaslo – lovingly preserved by the community and now a busy, vibrant museum during the spring and summer.
Protecting one of Canada’s rarest heritage assets is an ongoing job. Like any ship, particularly a wooden one, fire is the greatest risk to the Moyie, and it is fire protection that is at the heart of a current project to preserve the 120-year-old vessel, with the Trust providing $113,000.
“Heritage assets like the SS Moyie are precious resources in the Basin; that’s why protecting these assets is one of our strategic priorities,” said Wayne Lundeberg, Columbia Basin Trust. “We are very happy to support the ongoing efforts of the Village of Kaslo and the Kootenay Lake Historical Society to preserve and celebrate this irreplaceable asset now and into the future.”
The current fire suppression is made up of a system of water pipes pressurized by compressed air. During winter, while the ship is unheated, condensation occurs creating internal corrosion. Over the last 25 years, these pipes have begun to rust and break-down. The project currently underway will see the installation of a new system of pipes that will be pressurized with nitrogen gas, mitigating against condensation. The project will also allow the extension of the piping system to cover an increased area in the ship.
“The Kootenay Lake Historical Society has obtained generous grant support from Parks Canada and Columbia Basin Trust, as well as smaller donations from individuals,” said Bill Yeo, lead for the Kootenay Lake Historical Society’s curatorial committee. “Together we can give this historic treasure a more secure future.”
The SS Moyie is the property of the Village of Kaslo and protected and managed by the Kootenay Lake Historical Society.
“Kaslo is rich in heritage resources and an integral part of that history is the SS Moyie which is one of our two National Historic Sites,” said Kaslo Mayor Suzan Hewat. “The Historical Society volunteers have done an incredible job of maintaining and restoring her to her former glory. The most recent challenge of updating an aging fire suppression system did not deter them. It is thanks to hard work, donations from the public and a generous grant from the Trust that this important safety component is being replaced.”
The fire suppression project is slated for completion in March; the SS Moyie will open for the 2018 season on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13. Learn more about the SS Moyie at klhs.bc.ca.
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.orgor call 1.800.505.8998.