Earlier this week, the chair of the Marine Museum told Global News about the possible acquisition of a Titanic-era ship when it returns to its Ontario Street facility.
While many in Kingston are hoping the S.S. Keewatin will steam into town, a group on the other side of the province where the ship currently resides is hoping that isn’t the case.
Chris West is the board chair of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.
“It’s the last passenger steam ship from the Edwardian era — that’s the Titanic era,” West explained. “The last one in the world intact — there is none other from that period. They’re all where the Titanic is, or they’ve gone to scrap.”
That was West earlier this week when he told Global News about the potential acquisition, a one-of-a-kind artifact that would settle in nicely at the Ontario Street museum.
Debbie Holdich is with the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites. She says if it happens, it’s great news.
“Additional attractions bring in additional monies to the hotels, to the retail, to the restaurants for the downtown sector,” Holdich said.
“It’s going to be good for everyone.”
The S.S. Keewatin is currently docked in Port McNicoll, Ont., on Georgian Bay and has been for years. Many people there don’t want it to leave, including David Blevins.
“Yeah, it’s a punch to the gut,” Blevins said. “Our belief and devotion to this ship goes very deep.”
David Blevins is with “Friends of Keewatin.” He says thousands of hours of volunteer work went into the restoration and upkeep of the vessel. Port McNicholl is its home, he says, and has been for more than half a century.
“We have the full backing of the local municipality, we have the support of the county, we have support of thousands of signatures on the on-line petition, as well as the real financial backers to keep the ship where it is,” Blevins said.
The ship is owned by Skyline Investments out of Toronto.
Global News spoke with Blake Lyon, the company’s CEO, on Friday. He says yes, the Keewatin has been gifted to the Kingston Museum. In fact, the museum is currently being vetted by the department of Canadian Heritage to see whether it would be a good host.
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