The MV Lady Rose rusts as she sits moored to Jamie’s Whaling Station’s dock in Tofino May 2015. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO The MV Lady Rose rusts as she sits moored to Jamie’s Whaling Station’s dock in Tofino May 2015. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

The iconic MV Lady Rose passenger vessel has been sold again

Sechelt group buys former Union Steamship vessel from Tofino owner

The iconic MV Lady Rose, a former Union Steamship Company cargo and passenger vessel that gained popularity plying the waters of the Alberni Inlet, has been sold again.

An ownership group from Sechelt has purchased the ship and will move it from its present mooring in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast, across Georgia Strait to the Sechelt Inlet.

“It has been purchased,” said Dick Clayton of Sechelt. “(The Lady Rose) is the last floating Union Steamship vessel. We didn’t want the last one to disappear.”

Originally christened “Lady Sylvia,” the MV Lady Rose was built in Scotland and first launched in 1937 by the Union Steamship Company of British Columbia. She was the first single-propeller diesel vessel ever to traverse the Atlantic under her own power. The vessel spent 70 years ferrying passengers and supplies from Port Alberni to Bamfield and Ucluelet, but had her route taken over by the MV Frances Barkley in 2007.

The Clayton family has a long history with Union Steamship Company, having run a general store on the Sunshine Coast for the company since the end of the First World War, then starting their own Clayton’s Grocery store.

“My father worked with them,” Clayton said of Union Steamship Co., which had holdings in Sechelt and Bowen Island. The company was founded in 1889 and offered passenger and cargo service all up and down the B.C. coast, supplying logging and fishing camps and sawmills.

READ: Lady Rose — what a fine lady she was

Jamie Bray of Tofino, who owns Jamie’s Whaling Station, purchased the MV Lady Rose in 2010 after previous owner Mike Surrell took her out of service. Bray spent a year making the Lady Rose seaworthy so he could move her to the west coast, where he wanted to convert the ship into a floating restaurant.

The MV Lady Rose left Port Alberni for the final time on March 27, 2011, taking four and a half hours to make the trip to Ucluelet, then to her most recent resting place in Tofino.

For the past eight years the Lady Rose has been moored at a wharf in Tofino; Bray never did turn her into a restaurant.

Bray said via e-mail that he was contacted by a group involved in a Lady Rose restoration and display project in Sechelt.

“I liked what they had to say, so we came up with a deal for them to take the Rose and fix her up.

“I am happy to see her go to this worthwhile project and wish them lots of luck.”

Surrell, who still owns Lady Rose Marine Services operating out of Alberni Inlet, said he is happy to hear someone wants to restore the Lady Rose.

“I hope it works out well for them. I’m really glad something’s happening with it.”

READ: Alberni man wants to resurrect iconic MV Lady Rose

Clayton declined to give details on the sale or how much the new ownership group paid for the vessel.

There are no firm plans for the Lady Rose’s future, although she will be moved from Tofino to Sechelt sometime in the future. “We’re not sure when,” he said. “It’s partly to do with a weather window. It will have to be towed over.”

He said there is some interest in moving the Lady Rose to Bowen Island, where a marina named the Union Steamship Company Marina is located. The next step is to form a society to look after the vessel and its restoration.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do with it. Nothing’s been decided. It’s just been secured so it didn’t disappear.”

Clayton told a Sunshine Coast newspaper that the vessel could either be a land-borne display or perhaps restored to run as a historical vessel for limited water runs.

The ship is not in any condition to run under its own steam right now, said Clayton, who has not seen the ship personally (although others in the membership group have, he added).

“It’s rusty. It needs paint. It needs TLC, there’s no question of that.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

MISSING: Victoria police search for high-risk missing woman last seen June 24

Amanda Williams is a 34-year-old Indigenous woman with short black hair and brown eyes

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read