Queen of Esquimalt


Official No: 0318673
Place Built: Victoria, BC
Builder: Victoria Machinery Depot
Year Built: 1963
Years Rebuit: 1969, 1982
Vehicles: 376
Passengers: 1,630
Crew: 27
Overall Length: 129.97 m
Length: 122.22 m
Breadth: 23.20 m
Gross Tons: 9,304.0
Service Speed: 19 knots
Horsepower: 8,500

The Queen of Esquimalt , now named Princess Jacqueline , operated as a BC Ferry from 1963 until the spring of 2008. During her final years as a BC Ferry, the Esquimalt was mainly used as a relief vessel on the major routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. In June of 2008, the Queen of Esquimalt was sold and registered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her new Chinese owners intended to transport the ferry to Asia, however plans have been put on hold and from October 2008 to the present, the Princess Jacqueline has been tied up along the waterfront in Port Alberni, BC.

As a BC Ferry, the Queen of Esquimalt had the normal amenities such as a cafeteria, snack bar, and gift shop.

The last scheduled sailing of the Queen of Esquimalt occurred on March 8th with a 1830 departure from Duke Point to Tsawwassen. She made one round trip on March 14th, making her last revenue crossing departing from Horseshoe Bay at about 1630 for Departure Bay. On May 25, 2008, the Esquimalt was decommissioned and removed from the BC Ferries fleet.

Ferry Horn

To hear a soundclip of the Queen of Esquimalt's horn, click on the speaker.


Built alongside the Queen of Saanich , the Queen of Esquimalt was launched from Victoria Machinery Depot on January 22, 1963 and made her inaugural run on April 31, 1963. She was the sixth of fourteen vessels built for BC Ferries between 1959 and 1965. A few years later, most of BC Ferries' larger vessels including the Queen of Esquimalt had platform decks installed on the car deck to increase capacity by about 40 cars. In order to further increase passenger and vehicle capacity, in 1969 the Esquimalt was cut in half and lengthened by approximately 25 additional meters. Another "slice and dice" operation took place in the spring of 1982 when the Queen of Esquimalt was again sliced in half, this time horizontally. An additional vehicle deck was added to double her car carrying capacity.

Vehicle Capacity
Passenger Capacity
Length (m)
Gross Tons

Original (with platforms)

After Stretching

After Lifting

Origin of Name

Queen of Esquimalt - Named after the city of Esquimalt, a suburb across the harbour from downtown Victoria. Esquimalt has an important place in British Columbia's history. In the mid 19th century, the British Royal Navy made Esquimalt the base for their Pacific Fleet. The city is still home to a major Royal Canadian Naval base along with major shipyards. Ferries often undergo repairs and refits at Esquimalt. The name Esquimalt is derived from the First Nations word Ess-whoy-malth," meaning "place of shoaling waters." ("Esquimalt" - Encyclopedia of British Columbia ).

For Further Reading

Bannerman, Gary and Patricia. The Ships of British Columbia . Surrey: Hancock House Publishers, 1985.

Favelle, Peter. The Queens of British Columbia: a detailed account of the ships in the B.C. Ferry fleet . North Vancouver: Discovery Magazine, 1974.

Griffiths, Garth, and H.L. Cadieux. Dogwood Fleet . Nanaimo: Cadieux and Griffiths, 1967.

Rusty Deck of Memories - An account and album of the Queen of Esquimalt 's last day of regular service.


Thanks to Chris Cornwell from the West Coast Ferries Forum for providing the soundclip of the Queen of Esquimalt's horn.

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