The QPR has been the focus of some attention on this here forum over the recent past. This probably has a lot to do with her impending retirement, and forum trips, etc.
The photo shown below was taken by my father on the 13th of October 1976. The woman is my mother. The ferry is, well, obvious. The location - some where in the Inside Passage south of Prince Rupert. This could be in Wright Sound. My parents had been in Manitoba, visiting relatives. They had taken the CN passenger train west from Manitoba to Prince Rupert, and were finishing up their trip with a south bound journey on the QPR.
Note the pastel blue trim on the life boat...
Last Edit: Nov 11, 2008 21:11:23 GMT -8 by WettCoast
Post by Starsteward on Nov 12, 2008 8:48:21 GMT -8
Just windering if there are any members or if any of our forum members know of any crew from either a or B watch, Queen of Prince Rupert who were around in the years 1965 through 1971 ? Due to the impending retirement of my beloved 2nd home, I am preparing to put together a full-length video docu-history of the Queen of Prince Rupert. I have a considerable amount of 'memorabilia' from my years on the 'Rupert' as well as many great photos, but I would like to hear from anyone who has some material they may be willing to share. I didi the last sailing on the 'Rupert' when she was 'retired' prior to becomming the Victoria Princess. ( a terrible plan in retrospect) and am planning to do the final round trip on the 'Rupert' in late March 2009. This project has very special significance to me and hopefully the finished product will be valuable as a memorial to 'The Last Queen to Rupert and Beyond'
According to BCF QPRs' last trip to PH is the 31 Mar. Does anyone know what is planned after that? Shortly after her arrival on the 1st Apr the Northern Adventure leaves for PR so there will be some jockeying. I plan to sail southbound on the QPR and northbound the next day on the NorAd.
Post by Starsteward on Feb 21, 2009 15:27:04 GMT -8
Hey there WCK, you're right! that would be Capt. Parkinson, or 'Parky' to those that dared call him that, lol I do believe however that this shot on the QPR was prior to 1970, my guess is more like 1968. In 1970, The Skippers were Gerald Ruddick, and Arnie (gunboat passage) Ryles. Capt. Parkinson missed the CPR ships as the QPR did not afford the good skipper the 'opportunities' to socialize with the ladyfolk onboard, and that's as far as I'm going with that old sea tale. I do plan to get a photographic tribute thread started here soon for the Queen of Prince Rupert in advance of my doing the last round trip on her at the end of March. I look forward on many ways to this final trip, on the other hand, I'm kind of dreading it too. It will be I know, like going back to the old neighbourhood, thinking you are going to see things the way they were when you left them, but you know in your heart and reality, they will be very very sadly different. More later, must go catch the QPR's replacement transiting the Gatun Locks.
Here's a question: does anyone know what will happen to QPR after her last scheduled sailing this year? Is she going to be retired right away, or is she going into reserve status as a backup vessel for the northern fleet (ie. Norad, Norex, 'Wack)?
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2009 13:39:54 GMT -8 by Kahloke
My understanding is that she is to be retired immediately following her last run at the end of March. Her current insurance & TC certificates expire at or around the same time. I was also told by a crew member last fall that she had already been sold. We all know that 'info' provided by crew members often turns out to be incorrect.
Keeping her around say at least till September for contingency purposes would have some merit, as would keeping one of the V's. I don't expect either to happen.
Published: March 23, 2009 1:00 PM Updated: March 23, 2009 1:08 PM
She is one of very few passenger ships left that sailed British Columbia’s big West Coast in the days when it was still populated somewhat widely.
For a decade-and-a-half she served as the flagship of our great BC Ferries fleet.
She has been involved in more search and rescues than any other single ship of the fleet, and has even been upon the rocks a few times herself, given her multiple destinations amid the worst of weather that it so often encounters.
With her unique silhouette it would be hard for those who know her to confuse her with any other ship. And now, after 43 or so years, the day is soon coming that she will be finally “paid off” as the sailors say.
Yes, that stately old ship, the veritable Queen of Prince Rupert, the pride of old WAC Bennett’s “Navy” is being replaced on the route that it first pioneered back in 1966!
Another sleek German ship with perhaps twice the speed, but half the character, is coming to relieve the stalwart ship that carried hundreds of thousands of British Columbians home and away for more than four decades.
Sometime in May, I am told, this will all take place and thus there is still opportunity for those of you who haven’t gone, to ride the fine old ship through its postcard settings.
A meal in her galley, a visit to the little gift shop and, most importantly, a walk upon her deck as she slips through the inside pass or up dark Cousin’s Inlet is still possible.
Such memorable things as steaming into Bella Bella or Ocean Falls with their lights beaming through the night in the coal black coastal towns will forever be in my memory.
The sound of the ferry’s wash and the welcoming sounds at the dock by the “rain people” who relied upon it for transport, goods, and a reprieve from isolation made it a special messenger indeed.
Even when it was partially eclipsed by its bigger sister – the tragically sunk Queen of the North – it still held a special place in the minds of mid-coast residents... something only a stately ship can do.
On my last trip upon her a few years back, along with my son who is now stationed in Afghanistan, we thoroughly enjoyed the “milk run” she was servicing.
A sparse group of passengers were able, at a very reasonable price, to see this big rainbow country with stops in Ocean Falls, Shearwater, Bella Bella and Klemtu.
All this, with good food, passenger entertainment and a number of wildlife sightings including the standard porpoise and dolphin parade aside, and abaft of the big ship.
Indeed, as I write this, I wonder if good ol’ #1 son doesn’t like to recall the cool moist air and squalls we encountered on that journey when he sits around suffering in the 50-degree Celsius weather that he tells me he encounters at his desert fort.
But, foremost, it’s the history that fascinates me when I consider the long career of the Queen of Prince Rupert. From her launch wherein the Speaker of the Legislature’s wife was unable to smash the customary bottle of Champagne upon her bow due to a small boy running by and releasing the trip wire that sent her awash prematurely, the QPR has lived an unusual life.
On her first trip up coast, from her former terminal at Kelsey Bay, she was greeted by the entire Prince Rupert armada including the city’s massive commercial fishing fleet!
Pictures of the ship being accompanied into port by seemingly everything afloat on the north coast are still proudly displayed.
The northern Vancouver Island region was witness to the first grounding of the QPR in the summer of 1967 upon Haddington Reef near Alert Bay.
While the ship was not in danger of sinking, the passengers were removed for their comfort and housed in the friendly community of Alert Bay who made such a hospitable time of it, that for months afterwards there were more letters of thanks received by BC Ferries from the passengers FOR the grounding than there were complaints!
Years later, a grounding in Gunboat Passage, on the way to Ocean Falls caused concern, but not serious injuries.
There was even a time when our good ship suffered the indignity of being repainted and dubbed the Victoria Princess for a season’s service on the defunct Seattle to Vancouver run in a bid to replace the now-gone Princess Marguerite.
For a time the two Northern Queens used to do every second run all the way down to Tswassen Terminal, which enabled folk the option of riding through the beauty of the southern coastal waters as well.
In 1979, the Bear Cove Terminal at Port Hardy replaced the Kelsey Bay Terminal at Sayward. Both Northern Queens sailed from here with the QPR being the smaller back-up ship. A few years back the Queen of Chilliwack also began to cruise to its Bella Coola destination from here as well.
But thus it is that this most stalwart ship will stop its long seafaring service this spring with probably little or no ceremony as is customary with a ship’s retirement.
A call by me to the BC Ferries media enquiry line revealed nothing planned to mark her service. Probably a little crew get-together after her last run would be the most fitting anyway.
I think that no ceremony could hope to properly acknowledge all that the QPR has seen and meant to the people who inhabited this big glorious coast of ours, “The Greatest Place on Earth.”
Last Edit: Mar 23, 2009 21:53:15 GMT -8 by Mill Bay
I think that this thread is as good a place as any to remember two Northern Queens.
The above painting is from an original art work done in 1986 by my brother David (Mr. DOT). This once was on display on board the Queen of the North near the forward stairs on the Saloon Deck, I recall. The painting's fate is unknown. It may be resting on the bottom with the ship.
My brother's artwork will also serve as my 'sig pic' for the next few weeks.
Many crew I spoke with, will tell you that the QPR has been one of the most dependable ships, plying treacherous waters under work-horse conditions of any of the vessels in the BC Ferries fleet. And to that, I would agree. In Forty-three years of operation, that included 2 major accidents, NO loss of life, one major rescue mission to the MV Taku in 1971 as well as countless smaller rescues, and the provision of general "coast -watching" duties, the QPR's 4 Mirrlees engines have logged 174,000 hours of service, or the equivalent of 7,250 days. I agree with Wett Coast Kidd, build another "Rupert"! Unfortunately the original 6 million back in 1966 won't get you much boat these days. T
Good to actually hear what most of us had already concluded. .
6 Million wouldn't even have gotten you the same ship after 1966 either. I'm sure many people have heard the legend that the QPR was intended to be supplemented on the northern route from the very beginning by a sister ship drawn from the same plan. (Twin QPR's... what would they have named the other one?)
Instead she soldiered on alone for all that time until the QoTn appeared in the fleet. I had often wondered what became of the plans for the second ship until recently, when I found new information in a book I'm reading that indicates that the planned second vessel went as far as the tendering process, but tendered price came out to 50% higher than the original construction of the QPR, so the bid was rejected, and the ship never built.
Actually, I don't bet. By then BCF policy was that "Queen of" vessels needed to be named after population centres, whereas the minor vessels were being named for the route. Given that Prince Rupert is/was the only population centre on Route 10 I imagine it would have been a random name given the service area. Queen of Mission?
We have done photo tributes to other recent 'retirees', but so far nothing for our beloved Queen of Prince Rupert. She has only a few days left in service with BC Ferries. So tonight I am kicking off things with photos from the pastel blue era, and a few of my brother's works of art. Some of these photos have been seen previously on the historical photos thread, and on my photo website. Enjoy...
On the ways at Victoria Machinery Depot - 1966 - Beautiful BC Mag 1966 [DOT Collection]
QPR on display in Victoria - Spring 1966 - BC Govt - Dept of Travel Industry [DOT Collection]
Place mat from QPR restaurant on 1st voyage [DOT Collection]
First dry docking @ Esquimalt Dry Dock 1966 - DOT photo
@ Kelsey Bay c 1966 - magazine print [DOT collection]
Captain T. Parkinson - Wheel House in the early days C1968 - John L Barnard photo [JST collection]
@ Alaska slip, Prince Rupert - Aug 1975 - JST photo
more to come...
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2010 19:10:19 GMT -8 by WettCoast
Post by Starsteward on Apr 10, 2009 6:57:57 GMT -8
Before this long week-end is over, I will have a full QPR tribute of pictures and some video on this thread and on photobucket. Seeing as Wett Coast Kidd has provided the 'launch pad' with some super material I hope my additions from my service aboard this fine ship from 1967- 1971 as well as material from my recent round trip to Prince Rupert, ( and over to Skidegate), and back to Port Hardy will add some 'ship' touches as well as some 'then' and 'now' shots you all may find interesting. Captain Ludvik Charasz and his crew were extremely hospitable and accomodating but allowed me access to sections of the QPR that are now delineated as unserviceable. Also a note of thanks to Vicky at Port Hardy, Gail at Skidegate and Thelma at Prince Rupert who are exceptional customer service agents at these forementioned terminals! They were immensely helpful, cheerful, informative and a breath of fresh air in customer relations to the travelling public. Some of the terminal staff 'Down South' could use a refresher 'PR' course from these excellent ladies! There really is a different vibe up North and it's really great More later...now back to getting this presentation together.