Princess Mary Whistle & Bell
Object ID: 1997.26.1 & 2002.114.1
She was a good ship, very nice to handle and one which made a success of every run she was placed on. - Captain R. S. Doney (Powell River News, March 26, 1952)
Built by Bow, McLachlan & Company, of Paisley, Scotland in 1910 the Princess Mary was a steel twin-screw 14-knot steamer, 210 feet in length and 1700 tons. Commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway steamship services, the Princess Mary was fitted with comfortable day accommodations, 59 first class cabins equipped with 118 berths and 30 additional berths in the second class. Initially intended to run from Victoria to Nanaimo to Comox, replacing the City of Nanaimo, the Princess Mary went on to sail the waters of the Georgia Strait for 40 years. in 1913 the B.C. Marine Railway in Esquimalt, was awarded the contract to lengthen the Princess Mary's hull 40 feet, allowing for the addition of 24 new first-class staterooms and a large social hall, and increase the carrying capacity by 250 tons.
In 1931 the Princess Mary was chosen to replace the Princess Royal to provide services to Powell River and the Gulf islands, providing tri-weekly sailings to Comox, Powell River, Texada, Hornby and Denman islands. In 1952 the Princess Mary was withdrawn from service and was sold to the Union Steamship company as a barge. Her superstructure was scrapped with the exception of her cafeteria and dining room, which were used as a restaurant in Victoria, the popular Princess Mary. The Princess Mary's remaining hull was renamed Bulk Carrier No.2.
In March of 1952 two of the relics off the Princess Mary were presented to the District of Powell River serving as mementoes of the popular ship. On Monday March 24, 1952 the bell of the Princess Mary was presented to the school board of District No. 47 as a gift to the Westview School (J.P. Dallos). The Princess Elaine left Blubber Bay at noon and anchored off the West wharf. The presentation was made by her captain, Capt. S. Doney, who also serves as the last master of the Princess Mary. The presentation was made before an assembly of students and was presented to J.P. Dallos chairman of the School Board who in turn presented it to Westview school principal James Devlin. George C. Pitts chief engineer, and Arthur W. Morgan, purser of the Princess Elaine, were also in attendance at the event.
Later that day the Princess Elaine docked at the Powell River Company wharf and Captain George Thompson, chief steward Norman Hunter and chief engineer George C. Pitts , presented resident manager of the Mill, Russel M. Cooper, with the whistle of the Princess Mary in a ceremony aboard the Elaine. It was the intent of the PRCo to install the whistle on the steam plant as the new work whistle.
Both items eventually found their way to the Powell River Historical Museum & Archives where they have been on permanent display in the museum building.