Media Release: RMS Segwun turns 130 May 14, 2017
May 10, 2017
North America’s oldest operating steam mail ship was launched with the name Nipissing (II)
[Gravenhurst, ON] In 1887, in a Glasgow shipyard, a steamship destined for Gravenhurst, ON was constructed flat-pack style. When parts arrived in Muskoka she was put together in a boatyard on the Bay. She first sailed May 14, 1887, under the name Nipissing (II) as a side-wheel steamer, the newest member of the fleet that had been sailing since 1866. Nipissing II retired from service in 1914, but ten years later was refurbished. The changes in her superstructure were so significant that on her first post-refurbishment sailing, July 9, 1925, she steamed under the name Segwun for the first time.
”As Canadians celebrate Canada 150, Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre will be marking their flagship’s 130th anniversary,” said John Miller, president of Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre. He continued, “Special themed sailings will be offered, in addition to the traditional 1 hour and 2 hour cruises that visitors to Muskoka have come to expect.”
Most cruises sail from the Steamship Dock at Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst. However in the true tradition of Muskoka steamships, Segwun will, from time to time, embark or disembark passengers at resorts and communities other than Gravenhurst.
The 130th anniversary season begins June 17, 2017 with a blast of Segwun’s steam driven horn, as iconic a sound on the lakes as loons calling. Individual tickets are on sale by phone – 1.866.687.6667. Reservations for groups and private charters are possible.
A direct line from A. P. Cockburn to Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre
Steamboating on the Muskoka Lakes began as a commercial venture in 1866, when A. P. Cockburn, the grandfather of Muskoka tourism, built a store in Gravenhurst, started a stagecoach service and launched the first steamboat on Lake Muskoka. By 1881, he operated a fleet of six steamboats, incorporating his business as the Muskoka and Nipissing Navigation Company Limited. When he died in 1905, the fleet had increased to ten and the name of company had become the Muskoka Lakes Navigation and Hotel Company Limited. In 1973, a non-profit corporation was created to oversee the restoration of Segwun, which was at that time a floating museum. The Muskoka Steamship & Historical Society was incorporated, May 4, 1973. In 2017, the Society operates RMS Segwun, Wenonah II and its interactive heritage museum under the name Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre.
The Muskoka Steamships & Historical Society (MSHS) a membership-based, not-for-profit registered charity is a leader in preserving, promoting and celebrating the culture and heritage of Canada’s Muskoka District. Founded in 1973, the MSHS owns Royal Mail Ship Segwun, Wenonah II, and Wanda III, and operates the Muskoka Discovery Centre.
End of Media Release