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M.V. Britannia Boat Ride & Royal Hudson Steam Train Ride Day Trip, Vancouver to Squamish & Back
Ticket for Britannia / Royal Hudson Steam Train trip
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 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 WaterClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
The next photo shows a group of small sail boats taking part in a sailing school.
We were to pass beautiful scenery on our way up the coastline going to Squamish.
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.
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, CanadaClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Location of Squamish, British Columbia
© 2009 Peggy Woods