S.S. Keewatin will soon join the Kingston waterfront at Great Lakes Museum

S.S. Keewatin is on track to be at the Marine Museum dry dock in October 2023. Photo via Make it Matter Media.

Update (Friday, Oct. 20, 2023):

The Great Lakes Museum has provided an update on the arrival time of the S.S. Keewatin.

Originally scheduled to land in Kingston on Monday, Oct. 23, the Titanic-era steamliner will now reach the Limestone City on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at 1 p.m.

“Since the Keewatin was donated to the Great Lakes Museum earlier this year, the Museum has stressed the importance of proper stewardship of this historic artifact. Unfortunately, they must delay the arrival again due to new weather-related concerns raised by their tow captain – specifically the winds expected on Lake Ontario this weekend,” the updated media release read. 

“The Keewatin is now expected to depart Hamilton first thing Monday morning, arriving in Kingston on Tuesday, October 24, at 1 p.m. Weather and other factors could still potentially cause further delays and they encourage you to sign up to their Keewatin mailing list.”

The Museum noted that it is closing the Museum parking lot on Oct. 24 to allow more room for spectators. Visit https://marmuseum.ca/ss-keewatin for more information and updates.

Original article:

The Great Lakes Museum has announced the S.S. Keewatin, the oldest remaining Edwardian-era (Titanic-era) steamliner in the world, will move from the shipyard where it is currently being refurbished to its new home in Kingston on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.

According to a release from the Great Lakes Museum (formerly the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston), all travel plans and itineraries are weather-dependent, and times and plans will be updated as necessary.

The current forecast arrival time of the Keewatin in Kingston is 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, and guests and onlookers are being invited to visit the Museum to help welcome the Keewatin at this time. According to the release, it will take several hours from the arrival time until the ship is fully secured in the dry dock.

“The arrival of S.S. Keewatin in Kingston will mark the start of the next chapter of her life, one in which we hope she will make many new friends and admirers,” said Chris West, Board Chair for the Great Lakes Museum. “We encourage anyone with an interest in ships like the Titanic, in Canadian history, and in maritime heritage to visit us in Kingston starting next spring to enjoy the Keewatin and all our Museum has to offer.”

The Great Lakes Museum shared that the Keewatin (pronounced: Kee-way-tin) was formerly owned by CP Rail and built in Scotland in 1907. CP Rail steamships such as ‘The Kee’ ferried tourists, settlers, and cargo throughout the Great Lakes from the early 20th century until their retirement in the 1960s. Of the approximately 3,800 similar ships built in the UK between 1900 and 1920, the Keewatin is one of only three to survive, the museum stated.

“We are pleased to steward the Keewatin through the next phase of its life here in Kingston and ensure she is adequately preserved for current and future generations,” West continued. “We are extremely thankful to our many supportive members, donors, volunteers, staff, and board members for their help in preserving this important artifact.”

The ship was donated to the Museum earlier this year and has been undergoing restoration work at Heddle Shipyards in Hamilton since May. According to the release, this work will continue upon the ship’s arrival in Kingston up to and beyond its spring 2024 opening to tourists.

The Great Lakes Museum was founded in 1975 and exists to share the stories of North America’s Great Lakes – the ships, the people, and the environment. It is located at the historic Kingston Dry Dock National Historic Site at 55 Ontario Street, and is a feature of the downtown Kingston waterfront.

“Kingston is honoured to become the new home city of the S.S. Keewatin,” shared Megan Knott, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Kingston. “This exciting new addition to our waterfront will be a strong draw for boating and history enthusiasts. S.S. Keewatin joins great company adding to the plethora of activities on the shores of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence, dozens of museums, National Historic Sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other attractions that bring in more than 1.7 million visitors each year.” 

According to the Museum, the Kee is set to depart Hamilton on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, arrive in Toronto at 10 a.m. the same day, and continue on to arrive in Kingston at 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23.

Those wishing to see the Keewatin upon its grand opening in the spring should sign up for the Museum’s S.S. Keewatin mailing list, the Museum said. More details about the Keewatin are available at sskeewatin.ca.

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