S.S. Keewatin

Join the Crew

If you are interested in contributing your abilities, and live within a commute, at least during our open season (from Thursday of the Victoria Day long weekend to Thanksgiving Day) we look forward to speaking with you.

We welcome volunteers at every level of involvement, from greeting visitors, taking admission, operating the store, assisting with the staging of artifacts, cleaning and polishing, and helping to manage programs on the park, to guiding visitors on tours. We also have an active “EVENTS” committee which promotes the Keewatin both on the park and at trade and travel shows and large events, and also plans and executes special dinners and gatherings for fund raising purposes.

In addition, we welcome volunteers who can contribute labour and skills to the repair, restoration and maintenance of the ship. Wood, metal, fabric, mechanical, electrical… everything is at least 50 years old, and much of it is more than a century. We’ve been at it 3 years now, and still have a long way to go… and we’ll never be done. Plus, a major project this year will be a digital inventory of the ship, from bow to stern every artifact and fixture will be identified, classified, and photographed… an activity requiring care and focus.

Our mandate includes not only the care of S.S. Keewatin, funded by her operation as an attraction, but also the creation of a Great Lakes Historical site. Naturally, our initial focus includes the Keewatin, her twin the Assiniboia, and their three older sister CP ships, plus CP operations at their home port, including greenhouses, grain elevators, and boat trains, and the story of Port McNicoll itself. Eventually we will include the destination port (Fort William: now Thunder Bay) and the predecessor port (Owen Sound). And we will particularly focus on the contribution these ships made transporting immigrants West to cement Confederation, and ultimately Great Lakes shipping in general. we’d welcome speaking with people who have an interest or expertise in creating this facility.

All year projects include photo digitizing and archiving and the development of an online photo library. We are currently considering how best to capture the stories of those who sailed these ships: this will likely involve audio recording and transcription. Meanwhile, we are working on re-engineering our website and expanding our online store. These are skills and labour-intensive, rather than creative, activities: we’d welcome speaking with people with a digital media skill set.

We realize that a visit to S.S. Keewatin creates a special bond, and we are working on ways to extend the opportunity for involvement to those outside the local community as well. We are developing an online “club” where we can keep supporters up-to-date with what is happening on the ship, provide for special interest focus groups including, for example, Edwardian-era lifestyle, steam power, and Clyde-built ships, and offering reduced admission anytime and special “Supporters of Keewatin” event days.

Please tell us what interests you.