Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about Visiting
What is the Sicamous?
The SS Sicamous is the largest surviving stern wheeler in Canada. The ship is now a museum, heritage site and must-see tourist attraction. The lower deck hosts the original steam boiler, steam engines and a model of the Kettle Valley Railway (with working miniature trains!) The upper decks have been fully restored, and you can see the cabins, dining saloon and even the Captain’s wheel. Visits take up to an hour, and guided tours are available.
Planning a Visit to the SS Sicamous
If you are planning a visit to the museum you can visit almost every day during the summer – from Sunday to Friday. (Unfortunately we are not always open on Saturdays, as the ship is closed for Weddings, but Sunday is usually open as usual). You can visit on weekends in the autumn, winter and spring. The SS Sicamous is easy to find. Look for us on the beach in Penticton, on the Southern shore of Okanagan Lake. Our address is 1099 Lakeshore Drive West, Penticton, BC V2A 1B7.
Can I book a visit for my School or Tour Group?
We are happy to offer guided tours for groups, including visiting bus tours, seniors groups and guests and conferences. Some discounts are available for large groups. We are also offering Free tours for school groups this summer (2017) to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Please click here to learn more: Group Visits to the SS Sicamous
Is the ship suitable for families?
The museum is a perfect activity for families with young children. The kids love watching the trains move around the model railway. If you climb up to the pilot house (at the very top of the ship) you will find the Captains wheel and a brass tube marked “speaking tube”. This is connected to a tube downstairs in the engine room, and can still be used to talk through. If you pull the little levers at the base of the Steering wheel, little bells will ring downstairs. It is also a nice rainy day activity, and an escape from the heat and sunshine of the Okanagan summer.
Is the Museum Wheel Chair Accessible?
The SS Sicamous has recently had an elevator installed. This means increased ease of access for guests with wheel chairs, and visitors who have difficulty with stairs. Unfortunately some of the original doorways on the upper levels are very narrow, and may pose a problem for larger wheel chairs (with a width of 27.5″ or greater). We encourage you to double check with the crew before your visit. To view an access map of the inside of the museum please click here: Wheel Chair Access Information
This project was made possible by partial funding from the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, and from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. The supporting pier around the elevator was built by volunteers, who have invested many hours into seeing this project through.
Do you host Weddings and Receptions?
Yes we do. The Sicamous is available for weddings year round, and you can hold the ceremony and reception on board. You can find details about the wedding options, pictures and pricing on the Weddings website. The Sicamous is also available for events such as Anniversaries and wine tastings. If you are considering hosting one of these events at the Sicamous, please take a peek at the Weddings Site as well, as this has the most relevant pricing information and planning details. Registered Charities may also be eligible for non-profit rates. Please contact the SS Sicamous Society for more information.
Who operates the Museum?
The Sicamous is owned by the city of Penticton. It is operated by a non-profit organization called the SS Sicamous Society. Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the marine heritage of the Okanagan Valley. We are led by a board of directors, and have a team of dedicated volunteers. The Sicamous Society receives funding from the City of Penticton, and the Community Gaming Grants. Click here to learn more: About the SS Sicamous Society
Where can I find more information about the Sicamous ?
Finding History Books and Articles – If you would like to research the history of the Okanagan lake ships under your own steam, there are plenty of books available to you, and the local Penticton Library has an extensive local history section. Click here to see the online catalogue: The Penticton Library
Online Articles from the Okanagan Historical Society (OHS) – The OHS has an extensive collection of articles about the Sicamous, the lake boats and life in the early Okanagan (the lives of 20th Century European settlers). The collections have been digitized and can be accessed for free from the University of British Columbia’s online collections. Click here to see the online collections from the Okanagan Historical Society: Okanagan Historical Society
Can I buy prints of old historic photos?
Yes, but it is a three step process:
Step 1: Choose your photo. If you have seen a photo on this website that you would like to have printed, have a look at the caption. There will be a little identification number (for example, the launch of the SS Sicamous is PMA# 5219 ) on each for easy identification. The City of Penticton Museum and Archives has a large collection. If you want to browse the photos you can make an appointment with Gary or Jeanne at the Penticton Archives, and they can help you choose from the digital collections (there isn’t a charge for this service). The archives are usually open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. Calling ahead is the best plan, as it means the Archives volunteers can get materials ready ahead of your visit. To contact the Penticton Archives call 250-490-2451 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 2: Find a high resolution digital copy. If you have the number (for example #PMA 3854) you can contact the Penticton archives directly, and arrange for a copy of the file. There may be some paperwork, depending on the use of the photo. If you have already gone in to browse the collections, you can do this stage at the same time.
Step 3: Bring the digital file on a USB stick for printing and framing. For printing and framing of archive photographs we recommend by Stuart Bish Photography in Penticton. They have done all of the printing at the Sicamous, and also the Penticton Museum, and you can always be sure of the quality.
Skipping Steps 1 and 2: Stuart Bish has some high quality SS Sicamous image files at the studio, ready for printing and framing. If the image is for personal use (in the home or office) it may be best to contact him directly, to see if he has the photo you are looking for! Here is the website: http://stuartbish.com/
To learn more about the SS Sicamous, including the construction, launch, day to day operations visit the History page.
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