SS City of Medicine Hat

The SS City of Medicine Hat

The SS City of Medicine Hat did not live a long life. She was built in late 1906 and was wrecked in 1908. Horatio Hamilton Ross designed the paddle steamer sternwheeler with the intent that she would work as both a pleasure cruise ship as well as a shipping vessel.

This third sternwheeler built by Ross, who hailed from Scotland, was part of a fleet that would serve Ross’ new shipping company he founded for the Canadian prairie provinces. City of Medicine Hat would ply the waters of the Saskatchewan River.

But the ship was wrecked during a pleasure cruise that Ross himself captained. He had a number of friends as well as his crew on board when they set out from Medicine Hat, Alberta for Winnipeg, Manitoba. However, the rail bridges of the South Saskatchewan River proved difficult to navigate, especially as the spring flood waters were running high. Luckily, Ross disembarked his passengers ahead of the Grand Trunk Bridge where unseen telegraph wires would ensnare the rudder. With the loss of steering power, the vessel drifted and hit one of the new Traffic Bridge’s piers. The crew and the captain were able to escape with their lives.

What is believed to be the City of Medicine Hat‘s anchor was found by the Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services divers in 2006. It can be viewed at River Landing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Archeological projects conducted in 2008 and 2012 uncovered more artifacts and in 2013, a new underwater study has given rise to the assumption that it’s possible Captain Ross could have scuttled the ship as it had been losing money and because there were little personal effects found.


Text source: Wikipedia under Creative Commons licence.

Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain image.

© Copyright Vince Capone 2013