Destination: The Keewatin, Port McNicoll, Ontario
Cost: $20/adult, $11.50/students (12+)
The Keewatin is a passenger ship that travelled between Owen Sound and Fort William (Thunder Bay) from 1908 to 1965. Once it was decommissioned, it lived in Michigan from 1967 to 2012. In 2012, a dramatic homecoming was mounted, with the SS Keewatin coming back to Port McNicoll, where, in May of 2013, it became open to the public. It isn’t sea-worthy at this point, but is open for guided tours and is in remarkably good condition for it’s age.
I came across the Keewatin’s website while googling summer activities to do with my kiddos. Initially I thought it would be kind of neat to tour a boat that originally made the same trip that we had made just this spring, from our hometown up to Thunder Bay. But when I did a little more research, I discovered something else.
The Mr. and I love watching Murdoch Mysteries. It’s homegrown, the episodes are well-written, the talent is great, and it takes place in turn-of-the-century Toronto. You can’t get much better than that.
Well, as I quickly discovered, the Season 7 premiere of Murdoch was due to take place aboard a ship. Guess which one? That’s right, the Keewatin. So not only was there some great history involved, but there was also the possibility of a few behind-the-scenes anecdotes to be had.
We were not disappointed. Our guide led us through room after room of beautiful period furnishings, all while sharing his experiences as a teenaged waiter aboard the ship, and as an extra during the filming of the Season 7 premiere of … you guessed it, Murdoch Mysteries.
The tour was quite long, at least an hour, but the kids were pretty interested in what we were seeing and what our guide was sharing. I wouldn’t want to take kids much younger that mine (6+), and a stroller wouldn’t be terribly practical on the ship. But for older kids, this was a great way to step back in time and get a bit of a history lesson in the process.
The crowds haven’t discovered the Keewatin yet, which makes this an ideal destination in my mind, and perfect for a lazy summer afternoon outing.