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1936::Disembarking from the Motor Ferry SS Olympic on the Port Angeles to Victoria Route

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

The busy motor ferry SS Olympic kicking off one of Vancouver Island's busiest tourist seasons since 1929.

1936::Disembarking from ferry in Victoria, BC

"Disembarking from the motor ferry SS Olympic in Victoria, British Columbia"

Photo Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1936)

On June 14, 1924, the Steam Ship (S.S.) Olympic sailed out of Victoria's harbour on her inaugural trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Angeles, Washington. It was the first time Port Angeles was connected to Vancouver Island by a sailing vessel designed to transport automobiles. It had only been a year since Vancouver Island had launched her first automobile ferry (the MV Motor Princess), but now there were other ships designed to transport automobiles on and off the island. At the time of her launch, the S.S. Olympic was one of six automobile vessels that together offered a total of 10 round-trips per day on any one of the following four routes connecting islands and the mainland during the tourist season:

  1. Nanaimo, BC to Vancouver, BC;

  2. Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC;

  3. Anacortes, WA to Sidney, BC; and

  4. Bellingham, WA to Sidney, BC.

1940::SS Olympic on the Port Angeles to Victoria, BC run.

"S.S. Olympic"

Photo Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1940)

The S.S. Olympic, formerly the Steamer Sioux, had been completely reconstructed into a first-class automobile ferry for the Port Angeles to Victoria route. She had been cut in half, and her two ends pulled apart to extend the ship for additional vehicles. When she was ready to sail, she could transport as many as 60 automobiles including their passengers on three round-trip sailings per day. But it wasn't enough, even with help from the S.S. Iroquois. The two small ships ran consistently at maximum capacity all summer long, often being forced to leave vehicles and their passengers behind. In 1942, after almost twenty years of service, the S.S. Olympic was taken off the route to make way for a larger ship, the S.S. Malahat.

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