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Public invited aboard the Providence wooden ship in Steveston this weekend

A boat built in 1903 in Denmark, whose current home is in Steveston, has a storied history as a fishing boat and for use by the Danish Navy.
The Providence is open for viewing from Aug. 12 to 14 in anticipation of next weekend's Richmond Maritime Festival.

The Richmond Maritime Festival is on next weekend (Aug. 20 and 21) but the public is invited to a sneak peek of one of the historic ships on display already this weekend.

The Providence will be open to the public for free on-board viewing from Friday to Sunday (Aug. 12 to 14) from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Providence was built in Denmark in 1903 and was a fishing boat in the North Sea until it was taken into use by the Danish Navy during the Second World War. It remained with the Danish Navy and the Danish Home Guard until 1976.

In 1978, the Providence was bought by Peter-Thor Watson and it was sailed to B.C.

In 2017, it was bought by Simon Fawkes and Danny Robertson who are planning to convert it into a charter ship as well as a cargo ship.

It has overnight berths for 15 people. Its current home is in Steveston.

Steam tugboat featured at Maritime Festival

Another wooden ship featured at the Maritime Festival is the SS Master, built in 1922 at the Beach Avenue Shipyard in False Creek.

It is one of only a few remaining steam-powered tugboats and still has its original First World War surplus steam engine.

The SS Master was used to tow logs and barges in the Pacific Northwest until 1962.

It was left for scrap in 1962 but was then bought by the SS Master Society for $500 and has been extensively restored.

Festival free to public

The Steveston Maritime Festival will run on Aug. 20 and 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In all there will be almost a dozen ships along the 190-metre dock at Britannia Shipyards, accessible through the Seine Net Loft.

New to the festival this year are a series of themed areas, where attendees can learn about different aspects of seafaring culture.

A community stage at the festival will have performances that highlight various groups who historically fished in Steveston, including an Indigenous group, Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack), a Japanese group, Go Taiko, and the Irish Wakers.

There will also be pop-up musical and storytelling performances throughout the site by The Seabillys and the Cannery Mermaids.

Other activities include Rikki the Rat and his crew, hands-on workshops, heritage games and a family portrait sketch artist.

Strollers, dogs and large backpacks won’t be allowed on the steep ramps or floating docks. Organizers are cautioning wheelchair users that the ramps will be very steep during the festival because of the tides, and they only recommended wheelchair access from 2 to 6 p.m.  

The Richmond Maritime Festival is free to the public. For more information, click here.