Accreditation: Wikimedia Commons
pair of handsome sister-ships, Princess Elizabeth
and Princess Joan
, arrived at their home port of Victoria from Great Britain in 1930 for CPR coastal service. Both were also products of Glascow’s Fairfield yard. These 365’ x 52’ x 25’ three-funnel vessels of 5,251 tons were driven by twin screws and quadruple-expansion engines giving them a service speed of 161/2 knots. They were the first Princess’ to be used in the famous midnight sailings between Victoria and Vancouver. They also became known to thousands of tourists as the last of the Princess steamers to operate on the winter Seattle-Victoria run.
Princess Joan, while outbound with 400 passengers from Vancouver to Victoria, rammed and sank the small coastal freight steamer Squid on the night of October 12 1943. The freighter, owned by Frank Waterhouse & Co., was transporting 25 tons of dynamite to the Brittania Mining & Smelting Co. in Howe Sound when the accident occurred near Point Grey, Vancouver. The dynamite did not explode and no lives were lost. Princess Joan took the five-man crew safely off Squid.
On the evening of February 25th, 1959, the steamship Princess Elizabeth left Seattle on the final voyage in year-round passenger service between that port and Victoria, which had been inaugurated on January 20th, 1904 by Princess Beatrice. The breaking of this maritime link of well over half a
century passed almost unnoticed in Seattle, although the Washington State Ferry Quinault altered her course to salute the departing three stacker as did the tugs Carol Foss and Shannon Foss. The harbor launch Susan Jane, operated by maritime photographer Joe Williamson, who has recorded most important Puget Sound maritime events for the past 30 years, also escorted the Princess from Elliott Bay. The Princess Joan and Princess Elizabeth were laid up at Victoria and subsequently disposed of. This also terminated the famous midnight sailings of these steamers between Victoria and Vancouver. Service on the Seattle-Victoria route continued during the summer months
only, maintained by the splendid day liners Princess Marguerite and Princess Patricia. All winter service between Victoria and Vancouver was also canceled at this time, but heavy protests from provincial and local governments resulted in an agreement by the company to continue service on a limited basis of one round trip daily by the Princess Marguerite or Princess Patricia. The Vancouver-Nanaimo ferry service by Princess of Vancouver and Princess of Nanaimo continued.
Princess Joan and Princess Elizabeth, in layup since the abandonment of the Vancouver-Victoria and winter triangle routes, were sold to the Epirotiki Line of Greece and placed in excursion service to the Greek Inlands. They were renamed Pegasus and Hermes and joined three other old B.C. Coastal liners, Princess Alice, Princess Adelaide and Princess Charlotte around the Greek islands.