PRINCESS MARGUERITE (II)
Built by Fairfield Co, Glasgow, Scotland.
Length: 373' Beam: 56' Draft: 15'8" Tonnage: 5911
Two large new steamships were constructed by the Fairfield Company, Glasgow at the cost of about $4,000,000 each for the B.C. Coast Service of the
Canadian Pacific. The sister ships were of 5911 tons with dimensions of 373.10 x 56.1 x 15.8 and were powered by twin-screw steam turbo-electric drive.
Steam was provided by four oil-fired water tube boilers working at 320 pounds pressure. Designed for day service, including the Seattle-Victoria-Vancouver
international triangle run during the summer months, they were fitted to accommodate 2,000 day passengers and were equipped with only very limited
stateroom facilities. The space thus gained made possible extremely spacious and comfortable public rooms.
The first of these handsome two funnel liners, Princess Marguerite (named for the older CPR steamer torpedoed during the late war) arrived at Esquimalt on
April 16 1949 after a 9,500 mile voyage from Scotland. The 23-knot vessel entered the international passenger trader later that month. Upon her arrival, the
new Princess liner, commanded by Captain George A Thomson, was boarded off William Head quarantine station by a delegation of British Columbia civic
leaders, CPR officials, newspaper men and photographers. The party went edown the Strait of Juan de Fuca aboard the tug Island Navigator as guests of HB
Elworthy, president of Island Tug & Barge Co. Captain Oliver J Williams, manager of the railway companyâ€™s BC Coast service, returned on the
Marguerite, having accepted her for the company at Glasgow.
The second steamer, Princess Patricia, arrived early in June, also entering the triangle run following dry-docking and minor voyage repairs at Esquimalt,
Captain Thomson who also brought this vessel out, complied with orders to make the voyage â€œwith all speed consistent with safetyâ€� and the Patricia
averaged better than 18 knots for the entire passage. The two new Princesses maintained a three hour and 50 minute schedule between Seattle and
Victoria. Gordon Newell, The HW McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, page 560.
At the close of the 1974 season in September Canadian Pacific Steamships announced that summer sailings of the handsome turbine steamship Princess
Marguerite would not be resumed in 1975. The company cited accrued losses of about $300,000 over the past three years and the highly inflated cost of
bunker fuel as reasons for laying up the vessel which had been on the run since 1949. Immediate and eventually successful efforts were launched to have
the vessel purchased by the provincial government for continued service on her traditional route. Gordon Newell, "Maritime Events of 1974," H. W.
McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest 1966 to 1975., p.164.
Still another Pacific Northwest maritime tradition was restored in 1975 when the handsome steamship Princess Marguerite, retired from service the previous
fall by Canadian Pacific Steamships, was purchased by the British Columbia provincial government. The vessel, her Victoria terminal and 8.7 acres of Victoria
inner harbour property were acquired for $2.47 million. An additional $500,000 was expended on extensive renovations to the Marguerite at Burrard Dry
Dock. She emerged as trim and pleasing to the eye as at any time in her 26-year career, her hull painted a sparkling white down to the lower rubbing stroke;
then black to the waterline, the black and white being separated by a bronze band. Her upperworks are bronze and her two black-capped funnels distinctively
but tastefully done in red, white and blue. Even more striking is her new interior. Her second car deck was converted to a handsomely appointed lounge that
can comfortably accommodate 200 passengers. The dining salon was completely refurbished, with soft indirect lighting complementing the white linen-
covered tables and deep maroon colored chairs. Other niceties include a specially-designed washroom to accommodate passengers confined to wheelchairs
and a well-equipped babies' room where mothers can go to change their youngsters. To the delight of ship lovers, tourists and Victoria merchants, Princess
Marguerite returned to Seattle-Victoria summer run for her 26th season in early June of 1975, making her inaugural voyage under government ownership
carrying premier Dave Barrett of British Columbia, Governor Dan Evans of Washington and 1,000 other passengers. It was reported at the end of the season
that she had made an operating profit of about $100,000, compared to the accrued loss of $272,000 reported by Canadian Pacific over the past three years,
although the question of profit or loss appears to depend on whose bookeeping figures one accepts as accurate. Ibid, p.177-8.
1979: Officially retired.
1981: Refurbished, returned to service.
1988: Operations turned over to B.C. Stena Line
1989: Withdrawn from service for final time after
disastrous year under Stena Line.
1992: Converted to gambling ship in Singapore.
1997: scrapped at Alang, India after many
failed ventures to return her to service.