About the S.S Sicamous Society
To preserve and present the marine history and heritage of the Okanagan with historical integrity; to preserve, restore and maintain the historical vessels of Okanagan Lake.
What does the Sicamous Society do?
Our society cares for the S.S. Sicamous Stern Wheeler. It is open as a museum and heritage site. We have a full time staff that is led by a team of 8 volunteer directors. Funds raised from admissions are directed back towards the restoration of the SS Sicamous, and the ships in the park. Volunteers are on board year round, undertaking work in the ship, and developing the displays.
In the Park: In the spring, summer and autumn we have a team of volunteers working in the engine room of CN Tug #6. You will also see volunteers busily going to and from the Dredge Shed. This heritage structure houses many of the restoration activities in the warmer months!
Work is also ongoing inside of the SS Okanagan Stern Saloon (the last surviving structure from a sister ship of the SS Sicamous). In addition the Society is also raising funds to raise the S.S. Naramata (the last surviving steam tug in the interior of BC) so that the hull can be repaired – and the ship returned to the water where she belongs.
Why is the work of the Sicamous Society important?
There were once sternwheelers and tugs all over the lakes and rivers of BC. This part of our history is quickly being lost, as the ships are lost to decay, torn apart for scrap, or lost to fire. Without restoration, these physical reminders of the past would simply not survive, and would not be preserved for future generations. By undertaking these restorations, we are able to communicate their importance with the public, and raise awareness about this aspect of Canadian history.
How did the Sicamous Society begin?
Our Society was founded in 1988. It was started by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to preserve the S.S. Sicamous, and protect it from slated closure (after years of neglect from a succession of commercial owners).
After the most urgent repairs and restorations were undertaken, volunteers began to look outwards, at other vessels that were similarly at risk. The society soon began acquiring other vessels, to be preserved alongside the S.S. Sicamous.
Volunteer activities now have a broader scope that includes related historic vessels, artefacts and archival materials. Today the Society works to preserve and communicate this unique chapter in Okanagan and Canadian History.
How does the charity raise funds?
Funds are raised through admissions to the museum, through memberships, donations, venue rentals and grants. We receive municipal grants from the City of Penticton to look after core operations and utilities.
Funding for special projects has also recently been awarded by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan | Similkameen, and the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT).
How You Can Help
There are many ways to get involved with the Sicamous, from making a donation, to becoming a member or coming for a visit with your family. If you are looking for something quick and easy, consider joining our mailing list. As a stake holder you can help us spread the word about news and upcoming projects.