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[Marine] Ferry services to/from Victoria harbour

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#1 Holden West

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 11:35 PM

Thought I'd start a thread with a vintage photo:

[url=http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/mketran&CISOPTR=509&REC=1:ee267]CPR steamships Princess Patricia and Princess Joan, 1958[/url:ee267]

I'm waiting for a downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver foot passenger ferry service.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#2 ressen

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 08:10 AM

Did they not try that some years ago with a hover craft. It takes too long to get to Vancouver from Victoria so unless it was to be a boose cruise I don't think it will work.

#3 gumgum

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 08:14 AM

I'm pretty sure they introduced one in the summer holden. A four hour cruise from D/T to D/T.
Anybody else remember this?

#4 Icebergalley

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 06:41 PM

Paddling back from McCauley Point last Wed. and saw a great white glow from the harbourside showrooms added to the Victoria Regent Hotel last summer...

Walked by there later in the week.. and it is now the Business Office for Harbour Ferries...

I'm sure they will add blinds a time goes on..

#5 G-Man


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Posted 22 January 2007 - 07:50 PM

There was the Harbour to harbour catamarans about 12 years ago or so. Royal something or other. I think the same boats are now used to go to Seattle.

They should have one from Swatz Bay to Downtown though. That would work.

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#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:28 PM

Yup, it was called Royal Sealink. Great ride, but the Victoria to Sidney part of it was 45 minutes and the Tswassen to downtown Vancouver part of it was 30 minutes, so it sucked time-wise. And it was $40. but I took it a lot, was a great booze cruise.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#7 Icebergalley

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:59 PM

I recall 2 types of walk on walk off ferries...

In 1986, I recall coming here for the first time from Vancouver by hovercraft...

And in 1992, I think it was a "cat"...

#8 Rob Randall

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 11:25 PM

There was a third type. Does anyone remember? ;)

#9 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:34 AM

New hydrofoil service: Seattle to Victoria to Vancouver, B.C - Spirit of Friendship
Sunset, June, 1985

Find More Results for: "victoria vancouver hydrofoil "
Butchart turns 100:...
If it weren't for the water outside, you might think you were airborne. A surprisingly smooth ride, airplane-style seats, and "flight" attendants aboard Isnland Jetfoil's Spirit of Friendship hydrofoil may have you thinking you've taken wing. You feel virtually no turbulence at top cruising speed of 50 mph even in swells of 9 to 12 feet.

The 90-foot, 240-passenger ship began daily service in april. Each leg takes about 2 hours. The early sailing trip departs Seattle's Pier 69 at 7 a.m., leaves Victoria at 9:30, arrives back in Seattle at 11:30. The second sailing departs Seattle at noon, pauses in Victoria, then leaves for Vancouver at 2:30 p.m.; it returns to Victoria at 7, and departs for Seattle at 7:30. In Victoria, board at Ogden Point off Dallas Road; in Vacouver; board at the Sea Road; in Vancouver, board at the Sea Bus Terminal, foot of Granville Street.

Fares in U.S. dollars for both Seattle to Victoria and Victoria to Vancouver are $45 for adults ($79 round trip), $25 for children 2 through 16 ($45 round trip). Tuesdays through Thursdays, seniors pay the same prices as children, subject to seat availiability. Seattle to Vancouver (via Victoria) fares: $65 for adults ($99 round trip), $40 for children ($65 round trip). Deli-style meals cost $2.25 to $4.

This one is coming in 2023:

<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#10 G-Man


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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:47 AM

What? Is that true was there really hydrofoil service?

I did the google search and it seems that every article refers to the Clipper as Hyrofoil service. Man Seattle in 2 hours that is great.

I think someone should start this up again.

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#11 Rob Randall

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:20 AM

Yes, the Boeing 929.

Since there seems to be almost nothing on the internet about this nearly forgotten chapter in Victoria history I thought I'd research and write a little article.

In 1980, my mother was office manager at Truman Advertising, the Victoria advertising agency based at the top floor of the Harbour Towers Hotel. They won the provincial government-owned BC Steamship account. This small agency had the impossible challenge of convincing locals and tourists the value of a new transportation system nobody wanted (They also "won" the E&N Railway account).

Since 1975, BC Steamship (under the watchful eye of the Social Credit government) had been running the old CP ship "Princess Marguerite" between Victoria and Seattle. In an effort to lively up the old ship, Union Jacks were painted on the smokestacks and successful ad campaigns featuring jaunty jingles were run in the American media "Take a Princess to sea; have a crumpet and tea!" (were they responsible for perpetuating Victoria's phony "little bit of old England" schtick? Right-o, old chap!

The new Princess Marguerite in 1949 off Vancouver.

The "obsolete" Marguerite in 1979 docked in the Inner Harbour.

Anyway, the problem was, the old ship was considered obsolete, slow, unsafe and in desperate need of replacement despite counterclaims that it was safe and reliable.

Cabinet initially pegged the BC Ferry Queen of Surrey (the original cruise-ship-styled one, not the current double-ender) for the job and spent $50 000 drawing up plans. For some reason, that plan was scrapped and the Queen of Prince Rupert, also a cruise ship-style BC Ferry was pulled from its northern route and renamed the Victoria Princess. The Marguerite was unceremoniously mothballed in Esquimalt Harbour at a cost of $5000 a month. The Queen of Prince Rupert was replaced on the northern route by the now-sunk Queen of the North.

The Victoria Princess, 1980.
(Sorry for the poor quality! I didn't have my digital camera in 1980!

in March, 1980, the second piece of the puzzle was announced: the Victoria Princess's partner, a Boeing 929 jetfoil leased from Boeing Marine Systems capable of speeds topping 74 km/h (compared to the 55 km/h of the catamaran operating the route today).

Boeing 929 Jetfoil
Photo: Boeing

Once up to a sufficient speed, the jetfoil would rise on vertical wings and "fly" above the surface of the water, the jet propulsion units being contained in the wingtips below the water's surface. Rumour had it at the time the cost of the changeover so far was upwards of $5 million and rising quickly.

Flying Princess II, 1978
Shown docked at Seattle in its original Boeing colours two years before its sale to BC.
Photo: ©The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Everyone in the ad agency and their family received a free weekend in Seattle which was a big thrill for a 13-year old boy like me. On the May long weekend, we sailed on the maiden voyage of the Victoria Princess which was crammed wall-to-wall with other freeloaders--Socred cronies, administrators, politicians, Boeing Aircraft employees and God knows who else. It was hot, stuffy and unbearably crowded.

Promotional poster created by Truman Advertising

We stayed at the Seattle Park Hilton (which was my first experience in a skyscraper--indeed, I made an ill-fated attempt to access the roof via a stairwell and was intercepted by a kind-yet-firm security guard who guided me back to my room). We returned to Victoria by the Flying Princess II jetfoil.

Then the numbers came in. Travellers hated it. Passenger ridership was down considerably over the previous year. The minister responsible bragged about the whopping 3,424 passengers the two ships carried in the first six days but was forced to admit that included the free-for-all maiden voyage we were on. By mid-summer passengers were down by 30%, revenue by 50%. The government blamed the US economy (the usual excuse) and the recent eruption of the Mt. St. Helens volcano (not so usual) for the decrease in passengers. Here's a typical exchange in the BC Legislature from that summer:

MR. HANSON (NDP) : Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Highways. Would he confirm for the House that the Victoria Princess had 83 crew members and 72 passengers on board for its 6 o'clock sailing from Victoria on Saturday--less than 10 percent of a similar departure last year?

HON. MR. FRASER (SoCred): Mr. Speaker, I have no information on that at all. I don't go and look for pessimistic answers--I look for optimistic answers.

The season was a disaster and the following year the Victoria Princess was given back to BC Ferries, and given back its original name and route. BC Steamship brought back the Marguerite until the operation was sold.

The Marguerite in 1981. Out of mothballs and back in service.

Stena Lines of Sweden took over the running of the Princess Marguerite until 1989, when they replaced her with another ship on the Victoria/Seattle run. Stena operated the route for a few years before bailing out of the Victoria ferry business. The Marguerite was sold to a Singapore company for use as a restaurant ship and was eventually scrapped near the port city of Bhavnagar in the State of Gujarat on the West Coast of India in 1997.

The Boeing jetfoil "Flying Princess II" is [url=http://www.jrbeetle.co.jp/english/:e776d]now serving travellers between Korea and Japan[/url:e776d] under the new name [url=http://www.mirejet.co.kr/community/3_view.asp?id=242:e776d]Kobee V[/url:e776d]. In May 2005, Kobee V [url=http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/393812:e776d]struck a whale[/url:e776d] and sustained heavy damage after leaving Busan, Korea and had to be towed back for repairs. All Boeing's remaining jetfoils operate between Japan and Korea and Hong Kong and Macau.

#12 aastra

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:33 AM

Good stuff. Nice pic of the Regent Hotel under construction, too.

#13 G-Man


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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:35 AM

Wow! An amazing visual story that I had no idea about until today. How many months was the jet foil in service?

I have been on one between Morocco and Spain and thought it was amazing, smooth and very fast. Not sure about the economics of it though.

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#14 Icebergalley

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 01:55 PM

Fabulously interesting.... Thanks...

I think that the Canadian Navy had a hydrofoil in about the 70's... Bras d'Or.. ??

Named after the lake in Cape Breton where Alexander Graham Bell tested hydrofoils...

Good for Wikiwiki...


And here's a report about the Hovercraft that operated between Victora and Vancouver - Expo 86..

Hovertravel sells Idun Viking

Hovertravel's AP1-88/100 hovercraft Idun Viking has been purchased by F H Bertling to support its operation in the Caspian Sea. Hovertravel's crew delivered the craft under its own power to Oostende, Belgium on August 24th where it was loaded for shipment to the Caspian Sea. The trip from the Isle of Wight to Oostende took just under 6 hours.

Completed in 1984, the craft was the first production AP1-88/100 built by British Hovercraft Corporation (two AP1-88/80's having been delivered prior to it) and originally was being used by BHC for demonstrations. It would be 2 years before the craft entered a scheduled passenger service however.

In April 1986 the 82-seat hovercraft was transferred to Canada's West Coast, having been leased by HoverWest Ferry Services for operation between Victoria, Vancouver Island and Vancouver during Expo'86. Named Expo Spirit it operated in Canada from May till September afther which it returned to England.

Idun Viking on Hovertravel's operating service before being sold to F H Bertling

A new lease contract, initially for a 1-year period, then was signed early in 1987 between BHC anda Norwegian company, Hovertransport, which introduced the craft in the Oslo fiord, including serving Oslo Fornebu Airport in April. However, this too, would prove a rather short-lived venture and the service was suspended some 6.5 months later, in November 1987.

In September the following year the craft was acquired by Danish operator Dampskibsselskabet Oresund which already operated the second and third production BHC AP1-88/100s on the Compenhagen Airport-Malmö, Sweden route, introduced in 1984, on behalf of Scandinavian Airline System. Refurbished to SAS requirement and renamed Idun Viking it entered service towards the end of 1988 and remained at the DSO/SAS hovercraft maintenance base at Kastrup for another three years until sold in May 1997 to Hovertravel in the Isle of Wight. Prior to entering service here in 1988 Idun Viking was rebuilt including being fitted out with 98 seats as opposed to the former SAS configuration of 81 Euro Class seats pul catering facilities.

Idun Viking traveling as deck cargo through the Kiel Canal in Germany heading for the Caspian Sea

Source: Classic Fast Ferries Magazine

#15 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 04:51 PM

Thanks for this write-up, Rob! Fascinating stuff...
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#16 Icebergalley

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 05:25 PM

And, another hovercraft venture... The Timeshaver....

45 minutes Vanc. to Nanaimo and 1.5 hrs Vanc. to Victoria... 1970's...

Check the url for a pic...


TimeShaver: 4-Panel Brochure for a Passenger Hovercraft Service Which Connected Vancouver Island (Nanaimo and Victoria) with Vancouver, British Columbia in the Early 1970s
British Columbia, Pacific Hovercraft Limited. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Rare momento of this early high-speed endeavour to connect passengers travelling between Vancouver and Vancouver Island by sea. Claimed to connect downtown Nanaimo with downtown Vancouver in just over 45 minutes; downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria in under one and a half hours. Light wear. Few pencil notes. Very Good.
CAD 195.00 = appr. US$ 144.30
Offered by: northwestbooks.net - Book number: 323a0906
See more books from our catalog: British Columbia

#17 G-Man


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Posted 23 January 2007 - 05:35 PM

An hour and half? That is impossible. It would have to be going in the 80 to 90 kmh range to do that.

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#18 Icebergalley

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 06:40 PM

Now we have to find out if The Timeshaver was for real or was a proposal...

#19 Rob Randall

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 09:16 AM

Thanks, I had fun putting it together.

How many months was the jet foil in service?

I believe both vessels were in service for the full season, which ran from the May Day long weekend to mid-October.

I found this interesting item from Hansard, 1977:

Mr. Speaker. Could I ask the minister if, prior to the incident at the weekend, plans were being developed to send the Princess Marguerite to California on a tourist promotional visit following the end of the normal schedule?

The answer was no, but it's an interesting idea, seeing as the ship itself is a floating billboard.

#20 gumgum

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 09:59 AM

This would be sweet!


Entrepreneur plans ferry service

Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An Alberta businessman is proposing to launch a harbour-to-harbour ferry service between Victoria and Vancouver using a vessel he says is a hybrid between a catamaran and a hovercraft.

The idea for the 500-passenger ferry is in its infancy, but city councillors Geoff Young and Charlene Thornton- Joe met this week with the businessman. Don Stein, with a company called Nautisol, wants to offer four round trips daily on a surface affect vessel, which is capable of travelling between the two harbours in 70 minutes.

Paul Servos, general manager of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, confirmed the agency has entered into a six-month memorandum of understanding with Stein to give him time to develop a detailed plan.

Young said Stein is interested in a piece of city-owned land along the Inner Harbour close to the Johnson Street Bridge, where he'd build a floating facility to dock the ferry.

Stein told CH News that one-way fares would be between $25 and $50, and the ferry would be built at Point Hope Shipyard. This isn't the first time passenger ferry service has been proposed between the two harbours. Royal Sealink Express, which served the route in the early 1990s, folded after 19 months and the operators had lost millions. The 302-seat catamarans were criticized for causing seasickness. In 2001, Mayor Alan Lowe mentioned meeting with proponents of another ferry plan but that idea didn't pan out.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007

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