The Princess Mary

© David Watts

Victoria winter 1996


In nineteen ten near Glasgow a ship came off the ways

A single-stacker packet built for half a world away

With sixty double cabins and berths for thirty more

Across the Georgia Strait and out along the western shore.



She’s the last and lone survivor of a coastal dynasty

Of Canadian Pacific princesses on the waters of BC

Calling at each cove and island, heading up each strait and arm

In the Princess Mary restaurant you’ll feel their warmth and charm.



From Comox to Powell River, back to Nanaimo

Then through the islands of the Gulf of Georgia down below

Summers on the open Long Beach coast where the sea would swell and pound

And even up to Alaska to replace a ship that drowned.



For forty years along the coast she sailed through thick and thin

And all of the town would go down to the dock on days when the ship came in

She was a water taxi, ferry, a flying doctor too

When the Princess Mary ran the route the mail would go through.



Now some folks weren’t content to simply shuttle up and down

The longed to spend a week aboard and sail the Island around

Canadian Pacific heard them out and hearkened to their views

In the Princess Mary special Round Vancouver Island Cruise.



Now the world after the War became a different place by far

As steamer runs and trains gave way to planes and motor cars

Yet with the changes all around she sailed through ‘fifty-one

Then with the season at an end, her seagoing days were done


Her hull became a freighter barge that sailed for three years more

Till under tow with all on board, it sank in fifty-four

Her after deck was salvaged, with the paneled dining room.

Enjoy your meal in the Upper Harbour shore in the ship’s saloon.