The last of Victorias great ships…
The four–masted barquentine S.F. Tolmie
Plaque 20 SF Tolmie
was built by Victoria’s Cholberg Shipyard in 1921. The scantlings of her wooden hull were 235’ x 45’ x 20’. She displaced 1497 dwt. The vessel was named after Simon Fraser Tolmie (1867–1937), a Victoria veterinarian, farmer, politician, and the 21st Premier of the Province of British Columbia.
SF Tolmie in Drydock courtesy of the Maritime Museum of BC
Though her plaque on the Parade of Ships accurately commemorates her as the last tall ship designed in Victoria it should be noted the schooner Pacific Grace was both designed and built in the harbour by SALTS in 2000.
Victoria Ship Owners Ltd. of Victoria BC was her original owner, though they went bankrupt that same year. From 1921 through 1923 she served on the Canadian Government Merchant Marine Ltd.’s Orient/ Australia / New Zealand routes under Captain James C. Stewart. Stewart was a veteran of the Aberdeen White Star Line. Mr. C. Tennant served as her First Mate while F. Collins served as Second Mate. R.E. Smith of Nanaimo BC succeeded Collins as Second Mate.
In 1923 she was sold to British Columbia Mills Timber and Trading Co. Ltd. then laid up at the Great Northern Dock, New Westminster BC in 1927. In 1928 she was sold to Nelson Brothers Fisheries Ltd. and converted into a floating herring saltery for use on Vancouver Island’s west coast. She was again laid up, this time in Annacis Slough before being purchased in 1930 by Vancouver’s Gulf Islands Fisheries Ltd. In 1932 she was purchased by Nelson Bros. Fisheries Ltd. od Vancouver, then by the Gibson Brothers who converted her into a log barge.
On December 27, 1944, after a long and storied career S.F. Tolmie broke loose from her moorings at Victoria’s Ogden Point and broke up on Macaulay Point.
The Victoria Harbour History Society wishes to acknowledge it debt to Nauticapedia, the west coast’s most comprehensive maritime encyclopedia.