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Sternwheeler International on the West Arm

SS International leaving Nelson. Image courtesy of Touchstones Nelson Archives

Quick Facts


Year Built: 1896

Location: Kaslo Bay

Company: International Navigation & Trading Company

Year Withdrawn: 1908

Notes: Built as competition for the Kokanee, it was known to participate in races along the lake.

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The SS International

Sternwheeler International at Kaslo

Built to replace the SS Alberta by the International Navigation and Trading Company in 1896 at Kaslo Bay, the SS International was one of the fastest boats on the lake in its time. Only the SS Kokanee, a BC Lake and River Service (CPR) boat could beat the SS International's best speed of 24km/hr (15m/hr). Its launch took place on July 7, 1896 with its first run on November 16 of the same year.

Built by James Carson, the SS International was 43 metres (142 feet) long, 7.5 metres (24.9 feet) wide and licensed to carry 300 passengers. While most ships at that time had a promenade deck that extended from bow to stern the SS International had a salon deck that extended to the edge of the ship. This unique design allowed passengers to enjoy the views from the comfort of the interior. The ship's salon deck was finished with oak woodwork, wallpaper, comfortable sofas and rocking chairs.

From 1896 to 1901 the SS International worked the Nelson to Kaslo run and as relief for the SS Kaslo from 1902 to 1906. In 1906, the boilers of the SS International were rebuilt, and when they gave out in 1908, it was laid up for repairs. It never returned to service. In 1912 it was sold to G. Matthews for $1500 to be used as a tourist lodge at Galena Bay, Riondel. In 1952, the SS International was destroyed to make way for the construction of overhead powerlines.

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