MV Hiawatha

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Kwasind and Hiawatha -a.jpg
Historic ferry Hiawatha passes her slightly younger berth-mate Kwasind.
Name: Hiawatha
Owner: Royal Canadian Yacht Club[1]
Port of registry: Canada Toronto, Ontario[1]
Builder: Bertram Engine Works
Completed: 1895[1]
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Type: Ferry
Tonnage: 46 GT[2]
Length: 56 feet (17 m)[2]
Beam: 13.3 feet (4.1 m)[2]
Depth: 6.3 feet (1.9 m)[2]
  • Steam engine (prior to 1944)
  • gasoline engine (since 1944)[1]
Capacity: 100 passengers[2]

MV Hiawatha is a passenger ferry built in 1895 for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1][3] The boat is 56 feet (17 m) long, 13.3 feet (4.1 m) wide, has a depth of 6.3 feet (1.9 m), and measures 46 gross tons. Her capacity is 100 passengers.[2]

Hiawatha was built by the Bertram Engine Works near Queen's Wharf in Toronto harbour and named for the First Nations leader and co-founder of the Iroquois confederacy Hiawatha. It is claimed to be the oldest passenger vessel still in active service on the North American Great Lakes.[1] Hiawatha has served as a ferry for the yacht club since 1895. The boat was converted from a steam engine to a gasoline engine in 1944.[1] The ship was refurbished in 1983.[4]

On July 26, 2000, both Hiawatha, and the yacht club's slightly newer ferry, Kwasind, were sunk by vandals.[2][5] Kwasind was refloated, and was back in working order the day of the sinking, while Hiawatha required further repair.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ship of the Month, No. 9 Hiawatha". Toronto Marine Historical Society. Archived from the original on November 22, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2011. Bearing this in mind, we find it surprising that very few of our Toronto members realize that they have, right under their noses, what appears to be the oldest operating passenger vessel on the Great Lakes.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Surette, Louis (July 27, 2000). "What lies beneath is ferry low blow". Toronto Star. p. B 07. Archived from the original on April 21, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2011. The Hiawatha, built in 1895 and considered one of the world's oldest vessels still in daily service, was boarded and sunk by vandals at the yacht club's dock on Queens Quay, police said. The boat took club members and guests between the city and Toronto Island.
  3. ^ Kuitenbrouwer, Peter (August 6, 2011). "Doing water-tight deals". National Post. Archived from the original on November 22, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2011 – via The Royal Canadian Yacht Club, founded 1852, moved its clubhouse to Toronto Island in 1881; members and guests access the island with a pair of century-old ferry boats, the Hiawatha and Kwasind (names in a Longfellow poem).
  4. ^ "M.V. Hiawatha Historical Plaque".
  5. ^ "Ferry Sinks". boatnerd. July 29, 2000. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2011. The Hiawatha's sister vessel the Kwasind was also left semi-submerged and adrift, but was salvaged and returned to its dock. Police investigation continues but the police suspect that vandals opened the sea valves, allowing the vessel to fill with water.
  6. ^ Younger-Lewis, Greg (August 22, 2000). "Cash reward offered to solve boat sinkings". Toronto Star. p. B 05. Archived from the original on April 21, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2011.

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