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M.V. Britannia Boat Ride & Royal Hudson Steam Train Ride Day Trip, Vancouver to Squamish & Back

Updated on September 19, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Ticket for Britannia / Royal Hudson Steam Train trip

One of our ticket stubs
One of our ticket stubs | Source

M.V. Britannia / Royal Hudson Sightseeing Excursion

One of the five days my mother, niece and I spent in Vancouver, Canada while on our 15 day vacation, we decided to take the M.V. Britannia ship ride from Vancouver up to Squamish returning on the Royal Hudson Steam Train back to Vancouver. It was a day trip sightseeing excursion and we knew that we would be introduced to new and different things that were out of the ordinary for each of us.

It was a rather cloudy day and many of my photos reflect that. At least it did not rain!

We started out by going to the Harbour Ferries dock at the north end of Denman Street, between the Westin Bayshore Hotel and Stanley Park.

The Westin Bayshore Hotel was our home for the five days we spent in Vancouver, so this was very convenient for us to get to the boarding area.

The tall building to the right behind the boats is the Westin Bayshore Hotel.
The tall building to the right behind the boats is the Westin Bayshore Hotel. | Source

The ship was due to depart at 9:30 am and return 6 1/2 hours later.

Once we and the other passengers were on board the Britannia set sail and we started to see Vancouver from the perspective of being on the water looking back at the impressive skyline.

Skyline Images of Vancouver from the Water

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Notice the boat / airplane refueling stations on the water Vancouver skyline More Vancouver skyline from the water
Notice the boat / airplane refueling stations on the water
Notice the boat / airplane refueling stations on the water | Source
Vancouver skyline
Vancouver skyline | Source
More Vancouver skyline from the water
More Vancouver skyline from the water | Source
A
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada:
Vancouver, BC, Canada

get directions

Vancouver's Port

Vancouver has the largest and busiest port in all of Canada. It is also a hub for cruise ships primarily going to Alaska and back.

The next photo shows some of the bright yellow sulfur being loaded onto a ship for export.

Sulfur being loaded onto a ship for export from Vancouver
Sulfur being loaded onto a ship for export from Vancouver | Source

The next photo shows a group of small sail boats taking part in a sailing school.

A sailing school
A sailing school | Source

We were to pass beautiful scenery on our way up the coastline going to Squamish.

Typical terrain as viewed from the Britannia
Typical terrain as viewed from the Britannia | Source
A pretty lighthouse
A pretty lighthouse | Source

At one point we saw the Royal Hudson Steam Train chugging along the cliffs along Lion's Bay. We were to take that very same train from Squamish back to Vancouver later that day.

While on board ship we were served lunch. Barbequed salmon, a green salad, potato salad and rolls comprised the menu.

Seating aboard the ship Britannia was comfortable. At one point my niece laid down and took a short nap. My mother and I were engrossed in watching the passing scenery.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yours truly and my niece aboard the BritanniaAnother view of the lighthouse Rocky terrain getting closer to Squamish
Yours truly and my niece aboard the Britannia
Yours truly and my niece aboard the Britannia | Source
Another view of the lighthouse
Another view of the lighthouse | Source
Rocky terrain getting closer to Squamish
Rocky terrain getting closer to Squamish | Source

Approaching Squamish

As we got closer to Squamish we saw Shannon Falls from a distance and also we began to see many logs being floated in the water and being transported elsewhere.

Logging is a big business in this part of the world.

As a matter of fact they have a world famous Logger Sports Show where competition between lumbermen provides great excitement each year.

Canada coastline between Vancouver and Squamish, Canada

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shannon Falls as viewed from the BritanniaWe start seeing more timber being floated in the water.Inside the Britannia looking out at the lumber being held in the water.Timber ground into pulpBoats near Squamish
Shannon Falls as viewed from the Britannia
Shannon Falls as viewed from the Britannia | Source
We start seeing more timber being floated in the water.
We start seeing more timber being floated in the water. | Source
Inside the Britannia looking out at the lumber being held in the water.
Inside the Britannia looking out at the lumber being held in the water. | Source
Timber ground into pulp
Timber ground into pulp | Source
Boats near Squamish
Boats near Squamish | Source

Squamish, British Columbia

We disembarked the Britannia boat at this point and got to see a bit of the town.

Squamish means "Mother of the Wind" in Coast Salish.

The town is situated in a very scenic valley at the tip point of Howe Sound.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
We disembark the Britannia in SquamishMy niece in front of the Britannia in Squamish, CanadaSquamish, CanadaHotel in Squamish - Note the two entrances
We disembark the Britannia in Squamish
We disembark the Britannia in Squamish | Source
My niece in front of the Britannia in Squamish, Canada
My niece in front of the Britannia in Squamish, Canada | Source
Squamish, Canada
Squamish, Canada | Source
Hotel in Squamish - Note the two entrances
Hotel in Squamish - Note the two entrances | Source

The 2nd largest granite monolith in the world, Stawamus Chief, towers over Squamish.

Mountain and rock climbers from all over the world like to come here and test their climbing skills along the many trails.

In fact, there are over 300 climbing routes which can lead one to the summit.

Squamish is only about an hour north of Vancouver by auto.

Besides mountain climbing, there are a number of other activities such as wind surfing, camping, golf and other lures which bring in many tourist dollars.

There is a B.C. Museum of Mining which we did not have time to explore on our layover.

Historic locomotive in Squamish on display.
Historic locomotive in Squamish on display. | Source
My niece in Squamish, Canada
My niece in Squamish, Canada | Source

We did get to see the Pacific Great Eastern railway # 2 Steam Locomotive which now graces a small park.

It was the first steam locomotive built in 1910 in Philadelphia. In 1947 it went to work for Crown Zellerback Canada and was retired in 1960, going on display in 1967.

A
Squamish, Canada:
Squamish, BC, Canada

get directions

Royal Hudson Steam Train

After meandering around the town of Squamish for a short time the Royal Hudson Steam train pulled into town for the return journey to Vancouver.

These steam engines and rail cars have been in and out of operation for years. At one time there were a fleet of 65 Hudson type locomotives operating. Originally built in the 1920s in America for use between New York and Chicago they made their first appearance in Canada in the 1930s.

There were several classes of these steam engines.

Due to a royal visit from King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth in 1939, the Canadian Pacific (with the King's permission) attached royal crowns to the engines and from that point on they were designated the Royal Hudson's.

Most all of these old steam engines were decommissioned as were most of the rail cars. But due to interest in reviving this old mode of travel and the romance of it, we can now once again ride the rails in authentic carefully refurbished British Columbia rail cars being powered by the Royal Hudson steam engine.

Royal Hudson Steam Locomotive
Royal Hudson Steam Locomotive | Source

The trip between Squamish and North Vancouver is very scenic. The rails which were difficult to originally build in that area hug the cliffs and run alongside the water. This was my very first train ride anywhere.

The beauty of this day which started with the boat ride on the Britannia from Vancouver to Squamish and then the trip back via train on the Royal Hudson is not one that we will easily forget. Given the choices of all the things that one can do and see while in Vancouver, we were happy that we selected this as one of our day trip adventures.

Hope that you vicariously enjoyed this ship / steam train day trip from Vancouver, Canada to Squamish and back to Vancouver along with us.

Does this look like something you would enjoy doing?

See results

Location of Squamish, British Columbia

A
Squamish, British Columbia:
Squamish, BC V8B, Canada

get directions

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Massey,

      I guess we were truly fortunate to be able to enjoy this day trip at the time we did. Apparently, the harbor in Squamish has not yet been dredged out to allow ships the size of the Britannia to enter from what you wrote. It is sad that the Royal Hudson trips had to also be discontinued. At least what we got to see and enjoy is documented in this post. It is now a part of history for that area.

    • profile image

      Massey Jones 

      5 weeks ago

      Unfortunately, the Royal Hudson trips were discontinued in 1991, when the 2860 failed her boiler test. funds were gathered to repair her and she now resides at the West Coast Railway Association Heritage Park, the largest rail museum in Western Canada, next to Exporail near Montreal and still operates for special trips.

      As for the Britannia III, my research foun out that it now operates on trips in Vancouver Harbour ant it would seem no more to Squamish.

      May I point out that your article and pictures were truly enjoyable, the best I have read, while preparing a YouTube video on Royal Hudson trip I took, back in 1987. Massey

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      8 weeks ago

      That is a good idea. Locals can definitely help tourists figure out where to go when they visit.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      That is true. We will probably never see everything that there is to see and enjoy in the Houston area. I am doing more of it because of my website. It gives us reasons to keep exploring and we are having fun doing so. Tourists would have to pick and choose from among some of the highlights.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      8 weeks ago

      Yes, many large cities have a lot to see and tourists rarely have enough time to see everything.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      Having a base of operation is always nice. Spending five days in Vancouver was not nearly long enough to see the beauty in that part of the world. It would be fun to go there again and do more day trips from that location.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 months ago

      Yes, that seems a good strategy for a vacation. When I was in vacation I use to do day trips from San Antonio,

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It is nice to be able to unpack and stay in one location for a time. Day trips from that location are then fun to do.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 months ago

      Those are the best kind of day trips.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It made for one very fun, educational and informative day trip away from Vancouver while being based there on vacation one year.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 months ago

      A boat trip and a train ride, two great ways to see a city or countryside. I'm sure those were wonderful trips.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dale,

      So glad you enjoyed this virtual tour. I have no idea if the Squamish harbor is now open to ships such as we were able to take.

      If you look down in the comments, 5 years ago I was contacted by Ana Santos who was writing an article to help promote the harbor there. She wished to use some of the information that I had written along with some of my photos. The harbor had silted up and needed dredging.

      Hopefully by now that has been accomplished because it certainly was a wonderful experience for us and I am sure it brought more tourists to Squamish who might otherwise have missed visiting there.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      5 months ago from The High Seas

      LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! Going to re-read this with my wife and then I will have more sensible comments to share, I am sure.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      This really was a delightful day that we got to spend while in Canada. I hope for the folks living in Squamish that their port is once again in full use someday so that more people can see it as we got to do. I am sure it must be cooler in Canada right now compared to our high temps in Texas. Would be nice to be experiencing those cooler temps!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      3 years ago from North Texas

      Can't believe I haven't read this before! Even though I haven't been here before 'it' wouldn't let me give you 5 more stars, but I tried.

      We're to have 5 days in a row of 99 degrees and Canada sounds like a great place to be right now. All of these activities sound wonderful -- and cool!

      Pinned to my 'Travel' board, and shared with followers.

      Hope all is well with you . . .

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi CherylsArt,

      So glad you found this hub easily and glad that you enjoyed it. It was a wonderful and scenic day for us with those two different modes of travel and getting to see the the scenery that we did from the water and on land.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Wow, that looks pretty interesting. It's so neat to do the round trip with two different modes of travel. Thanks for sharing the title. I did an easy search in the general search box and quickly found your hub. : )

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ana Santos,

      Thanks for contacting me with regard to using some of this information with regard to offering a similar trip in the future. Per our telephone conversation, I am happy for you to use a few selected excerpts from this hub and a couple of the photos. I had no idea that the harbor had silted up and had to be dredged so that larger boats like the M.V. Britannia could once again access the harbor in Squamish. If publicizing the fun we had will help bring further funding to accomplish it, then I am happy to be a small part of that. The ship / train trip from Vancouver to Squamish and back made for a very enjoyable day and now...a fond memory of our time spent in British Columbia, Canada.

    • profile image

      anasantos 

      5 years ago

      Hi Peggy,

      I am from Squamish and I love your description of the trip. I wish I had been here at the time to enjoy it too. I am writing an article for the local newspaper that will deal with issues related to waterfront development and management. I'd like to mention your trip as a great way to attract visitors in hopes that we can have something like that happening again in our town, perhaps reviving this same type of excursion. Do you mind if I use some of your descriptions and a couple of your wonderful photographs? Ana

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      It was fun getting to experience that old Royal Hudson Steam Train trip as well as taking the boat ride up to Squamish from Vancouver. You will definitely see pretty scenery along the way if you take the same journey. With your love of trains, I am happy that I could introduce you to this particular one. Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm quite the rail afficionado but this is the first I've heard of this steam train. I'm going to explore this great attraction online so I can take it next time I'm in Vancouver. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks again, albertacowpoke!

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 

      7 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      You're very welcome Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello albertacowpoke,

      Your complimentary comment means a lot since you know the area so well. Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      The parts of Canada that we got to see were wonderful. Would love to see more someday. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 

      7 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Having lived on Vancouver Island, with a 90 minute ferry trip to the mainland, I have enjoyed the beauty of supra natural British Columbia. You did an excellent job describing your trip. There is so much to see. Thanks for you fabulous story, extremely well represented.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Fabulous Peggy would love to visit Canada

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky,

      That daytrip from Vancouver to Squamish by boat and back by the Royal Hudson Steam train was most enjoyable. We certainly got to see and experience things in a different way. Such a beautiful part of Canada! Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Peggy it's just awesome again! Once more you have a wonderful trip, directions, commentary, and videos to entertain! God bless Dear Peggy!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Billy,

      Some of the photos are not quite as crisp because they were shot through the windows while aboard ship on our way up to Squamish from Vancouver, but glad you liked them. Will look forward to your new hub when you get it published. You are making me go back and do some adjusting on these old hubs...and then tweeting them. Thanks! :-)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      Very informative it reminds me of a story I am researching on commodities and the Canadian economy. The lumber and sulfur here and those mountains there with gold in them (well maybe). great photos.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi ss sneh,

      I have always enjoyed traveling and I am simply doing some "memory trips" by posting things like this online. This portion of our trip...Boat, Steam Train ride...between Vancouver and Squamish (and back) made for an interesting and scenic daytrip, providing content for this hub. Happy to hear that you liked it. Thanks for the comment.

    • ss sneh profile image

      ss sneh 

      8 years ago from the Incredible India!

      Hi! Thanks for the trip! ...You have a nice way of living your life and sharing your beautiful moments with others! (and making money out of it too! I envy you) -- Thanks

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again WE5,

      Meeting your wife there and also living in Vancouver for awhile would have created many great memories for you. Your photos and ours of the Vancouver area are probably replicated with different people in them far and wide. So many pretty areas in that city for the taking of photographs.

    • WE5 profile image

      WE5 

      8 years ago

      Peg,

      I noticed some of your other Hubs regarding the Vancouver trip you had. My wife and I met in that city (although we are both from Newfoundland & Labrador - the other coast!). We actually lived in North Van and your Hubs are pretty much the same photos as we have in our scrapbooks! With different people...LOL. That park with the nice lighthouse is named rather unimaginitivly "Lighthouse Park". There's a lot of memories there for us.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi WE5,

      Lucky you...getting to actually live in Vancouver. We loved that city, what we got to see of it in 5 days of vacationing there. This ship - steam train daytrip was just one of the interesting things that we did while there. We certainly saw some pretty scenery between Squamish and Vancouver. Thanks for the compliment on the hub.

    • WE5 profile image

      WE5 

      8 years ago

      Peggy,

      I've done part of this trip way back when I was living and working in Vancouver. We used to take the train up to Whistler to ski. you did a great job with the Hub.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings guylaine,

      Happy that you learned a bit more about the western part of Canada in this hub about taking the ship up to Squamish and returning via the Royal Hudson steam train back to Vancouver. We spent 5 days in Vancouver and 3 on Vancouver Island and I wrote hubs about each. Check them out if you want to see more.

      I'll be checking out your hubs as well. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      guylaine 

      8 years ago

      wow, I didn't realize the west coast was so rocky/granite. That lighthouse pic reminds me a bit of Peggy's Cove! I really really have to get out to BC someday. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello loveroflife,

      Thank you! Thank you! LOL Nice to know that you are enjoying our travelogs to places like Vancouver and Squamish in Canada. The ship and steam train daytrip was a real treat. Thanks for the comments.

    • profile image

      loveroflife 

      8 years ago

      Your travelogs are a pleasure to both view and read.

    • profile image

      loveroflife 

      8 years ago

      Your travelogs are a pleasure to both view and read.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello shamelabboush,

      Glad you enjoyed this segment of the trip. Thanks for the comment.

      Hi kiran, Once again...thanks for reading and commenting.

      Hello Pete, Traveling is so much fun. So are writing these hubs about our traveling experiences. Thanks for the comment.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 

      9 years ago

      You definitely make me want to travel.

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 

      9 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Excellent ! thanks a lot :)

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 

      9 years ago

      I envy you Peggy! This is an amazing trip. Nice photos there..

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Melody,

      So happy that you enjoyed the trip. Have more from Vancouver that I will be doing... Thanks for commenting.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Oh, Peggy, thanks a lot for inviting me. I enjoyed the trip sooo much.

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