SS Sicamous is a large five decked sternwheeler commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and built by the Western Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company for Okanagan Lake service between the fruit communities of Penticton, and other towns of Kelowna and Vernon, British Columbia. Launched in 1914, Sicamous ran for many years connecting rail lines and areas.
Built in 1914 and retired in 1936, Sicamous dedicated twenty-two years of service to the CPR, the people of the Okanagan and those simply travelling through. Although always a first-class steamship complete with luxurious staterooms and cabins, Sicamous was renovated in 1935 and became primarily a cargo vessel, reducing her total number of berths from 80 to 20. This change was in hopes of serving the people of the valley better while increasing her profits. Operation: Construction of Sicamous began September 1913 and continued throughout winter, finishing in the spring of 1914. The hull, engine and boiler were fabricated beforehand in Port Arthur, Ontario (Thunder Bay) and shipped to the construction site at Okanagan Landing. It took seventeen railcars to ship the prefabricated materials out West. Up to 150 men were hired to build both Sicamous and Naramata. The cost to build Sicamous alone was estimated to be $180,000 not including the additional $14,000 spent on fine furnishings.
Sicamous was launched May 19, 1914 at 2:15 in the afternoon, and had its first excursion June 12 of 1914. The first to pilot the ship was Captain George Estabrooks, followed by Captain Otto Estabrooks in 1915, Captain William Kirby in 1916, Captain George Robertson from 1917 to 1921 and lastly Captain Joseph Weeks from 1922 to 1935. To be captain of such a ship was considered to be one of the most prestigious careers in the Okanagan Valley and each captain was held in very high regard.
The vessel operated until 1937 and is currently beached as a part of a heritage shipyard operated by the S.S. Sicamous Restoration Society in Penticton. The vessel today is operated both as a museum and events and banquet facility.