Those members who read these pages regularly know that we have closely followed the restoration and reactivation of the venerable Muskoka Lakes passenger steamer SEGWUN, (a) NIPISSING (II). This 124-foot, coal-fired steamer was built in 1887 as a sidewheeler and was converted to a propellor in the mid-1920s. She operated until regular steamer service on Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau was finally abandoned in 1958.
SEGWUN then served for a number of years as a static museum at Gravenhurst, Ontario. But as a result of the generosity of many interested parties who shared liberally of their efforts and funds, SEGWUN was restored to operating condition and she was placed back in passenger service in 1981. During 1982, despite hard economic times and some rather poor summer weather, SEGWUN enjoyed a successful season, operating to approximately 85 percent capacity over the year.
SEGWUN is operated by the Muskoka Lakes Navigation and Hotel Company Ltd., the charter of the old firm of this name, which long ran the Muskoka steamboats, having been reactivated when SEGWUN was restored. As anyone who has travelled in SEGWUN recently will know, she is a "class operation" without equal. The steamer has been beautifully rebuilt to superb condition, and is operated with considerable panache, and yet she still runs with much of the "ad hoc" style which made backwater steamboating such a joy in its heyday.
During 1983, SEGWUN will attempt to consolidate her position as an operating reminder of days gone by, and to prove that such a service can still be economically viable. Now that SEGWUN is back in service and the sound of her chime whistle once again echoes amongst the islands of the Muskoka Lakes, she deserves the support of anyone who appreciates steamboating. Indeed, she must have our support in order to remain in service, and we cannot let this fine vessel fall back into a state of disuse and disrepair.
100 Mile Cruise: Departs Mondays and Thursdays from Gravenhurst, up Lake Muskoka, through the Port Carling lock into Lake Rosseau and return, with lunch stop Mondays at Clevelands House or Paignton House and Thursdays at Windermere House (all traditional old resort hotels). Operates June 27, 30. July 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, August 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, September 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, and October 3 and 6.
Two-Day Cruises: Special trips to all three lakes, with an overnight hotel stop on Lake Rosseau, departing June 23, September 19, 22, 26 and 29. The autumn trips will be superb for viewing the famous Muskoka fall foliage.
A Thanksgiving Special version of the 100 Mile Cruise will run Monday, October 10 to celebrate the holiday and close out SEGWUN's 1983 schedule, with a special Thanksgiving dinner served in the steamer's beautiful wood-panelled diningroom.
It is not every day that one can actually sail aboard a 96-year-old steamboat and we must do all that we can to ensure that SEGWUN is a success. For this reason, we are pleased to make her operations known to our members. All major trips depart from the town of Gravenhurst, which is a comfortable drive of less than two hours north from Toronto. SEGWUN sails from the Town Dock, the ticket office at the wharf being the preserved pilothouse of SEGWUN's longtime running-mate CHEROKEE.
To obtain further information or reserve space on SEGWUN (reservations are a must at all times in order to ensure that space will be available), contact the Muskoka Lakes Navigation and Hotel Company Ltd., P.O. Box 68, Gravenhurst, Ontario P0C 1G0, phone (705) 687-8185, or Mr. John Lang of the line's Toronto representatives, The Cruise People Ltd., 1752 Victoria Park Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario M1R 1R4, phone (416) 759-6606.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.