The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)

The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo) The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)

Penticton’s historic paddlewheeler likely won’t open for a second year

The SS Sicamous Society is getting lots of restoration work done during the closure

The historic SS Sicamous won’t open for a second season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Even though we’d love to get things open again we have several hurdles to overcome,” said the SS Sicamous Society.

The numbers allowed indoors don’t make opening feasible, the society said.

Also, the sanitizers used to disinfect services are extremely harmful to the artifacts.

The Society has been approved for some student grants that cover a portion of their wages. However, until the restrictions are lifted they couldn’t cover the portion of wages they would need to come up with.

The non-profit society, made up of volunteers, counts on visitors’ entrance fees and weddings for revenue, but none of that has been able to happen because of COVID.

The society is using the time they are closed to get some much-needed restoration and maintenance work completed.

Volunteers at the S.S. Sicamous took the opportunity to work on the restoration of areas that are normally well-traveled by the public.

A dedicated team of volunteers with the support of local businesses like Neil Campbell from Wildfire Consulting, made it possible to start replacing some of the rotting deck posts on the S.S. Sicamous.

Campbell showed up with his portable sawmill and was able to re-mill some timbers they had in storage to a more usable size.

The posts replicate to old original deck posts on the ship.

Neil Campbell recently volunteered his time to build new posts that replicate the original ones built for the Sicamous. (Submitted)

Neil Campbell recently volunteered his time to build new posts that replicate the original ones built for the Sicamous. (Submitted)

The Sicamous is the largest surviving sternwheeler now permanently located on the beach of Okanagan Lake in Penticton.

There were once sternwheelers and tugs all over the lakes and rivers of B.C. This part of our history is quickly being lost, as the ships are lost to decay, torn apart for scrap, or lost to fire. Without restoration, these physical reminders of the past would not survive, and would not be preserved for future generations if not for the volunteers.

A tour of inside the ship is a step back in time with living quarters restored and recreated, access to the wheelhouse where the large steering wheel is intact and all the top decks.

At the front entrance of the ship is the KVR Model Railway Club’s immense scale model of the Kettle Valley Railway tjat visitors can operate. The model railway covers much of the cargo deck on the SS Sicamous.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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