The MV Lady Rose rusts as she sits moored to Jamie’s Whaling Station’s dock in Tofino May 2015. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO                                The MV Lady Rose rusts as she sits moored to Jamie’s Whaling Station’s dock in Tofino May 2015. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

The MV Lady Rose rusts as she sits moored to Jamie’s Whaling Station’s dock in Tofino May 2015. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO The MV Lady Rose rusts as she sits moored to Jamie’s Whaling Station’s dock in Tofino May 2015. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

The iconic MV Lady Rose passenger vessel has been sold again

Sechelt group buys former Union Steamship vessel from Tofino owner

The iconic MV Lady Rose, a former Union Steamship Company cargo and passenger vessel that gained popularity plying the waters of the Alberni Inlet, has been sold again.

An ownership group from Sechelt has purchased the ship and will move it from its present mooring in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast, across Georgia Strait to the Sechelt Inlet.

“It has been purchased,” said Dick Clayton of Sechelt. “(The Lady Rose) is the last floating Union Steamship vessel. We didn’t want the last one to disappear.”

Originally christened “Lady Sylvia,” the MV Lady Rose was built in Scotland and first launched in 1937 by the Union Steamship Company of British Columbia. She was the first single-propeller diesel vessel ever to traverse the Atlantic under her own power. The vessel spent 70 years ferrying passengers and supplies from Port Alberni to Bamfield and Ucluelet, but had her route taken over by the MV Frances Barkley in 2007.

The Clayton family has a long history with Union Steamship Company, having run a general store on the Sunshine Coast for the company since the end of the First World War, then starting their own Clayton’s Grocery store.

“My father worked with them,” Clayton said of Union Steamship Co., which had holdings in Sechelt and Bowen Island. The company was founded in 1889 and offered passenger and cargo service all up and down the B.C. coast, supplying logging and fishing camps and sawmills.

READ: Lady Rose — what a fine lady she was

Jamie Bray of Tofino, who owns Jamie’s Whaling Station, purchased the MV Lady Rose in 2010 after previous owner Mike Surrell took her out of service. Bray spent a year making the Lady Rose seaworthy so he could move her to the west coast, where he wanted to convert the ship into a floating restaurant.

The MV Lady Rose left Port Alberni for the final time on March 27, 2011, taking four and a half hours to make the trip to Ucluelet, then to her most recent resting place in Tofino.

For the past eight years the Lady Rose has been moored at a wharf in Tofino; Bray never did turn her into a restaurant.

Bray said via e-mail that he was contacted by a group involved in a Lady Rose restoration and display project in Sechelt.

“I liked what they had to say, so we came up with a deal for them to take the Rose and fix her up.

“I am happy to see her go to this worthwhile project and wish them lots of luck.”

Surrell, who still owns Lady Rose Marine Services operating out of Alberni Inlet, said he is happy to hear someone wants to restore the Lady Rose.

“I hope it works out well for them. I’m really glad something’s happening with it.”

READ: Alberni man wants to resurrect iconic MV Lady Rose

Clayton declined to give details on the sale or how much the new ownership group paid for the vessel.

There are no firm plans for the Lady Rose’s future, although she will be moved from Tofino to Sechelt sometime in the future. “We’re not sure when,” he said. “It’s partly to do with a weather window. It will have to be towed over.”

He said there is some interest in moving the Lady Rose to Bowen Island, where a marina named the Union Steamship Company Marina is located. The next step is to form a society to look after the vessel and its restoration.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do with it. Nothing’s been decided. It’s just been secured so it didn’t disappear.”

Clayton told a Sunshine Coast newspaper that the vessel could either be a land-borne display or perhaps restored to run as a historical vessel for limited water runs.

The ship is not in any condition to run under its own steam right now, said Clayton, who has not seen the ship personally (although others in the membership group have, he added).

“It’s rusty. It needs paint. It needs TLC, there’s no question of that.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read