Victoria Machinery Depot
one of BC Ferries many minor vessels. Built as the
in 1964, the ferry can hold 30 cars and 244 passengers. Today she operates on the scenic Heriot Bay (Quadra Island) - Whaletown (Cortes Island) route. Her raised bow enables her to handle the sometimes rough seas as she crosses Sutil Channel between the two islands. Based at Whaletown, the
makes 6 round trips per day.
Since 1994, the
has been based out of Whaletown, Cortes Island making 6 daily round trips to Heriot Bay, Quadra Island. Though a small ferry, the
has three passenger lounges: two on either side of the over-height lane and a larger one above. Inside, the ferry has washrooms and a vending machine. Outside, there are two levels of open passenger space facing the rear of the ship.
is pushed by two propellers powered by two main Caterpillar engines. For emergencies, the ferry is equipped with life rafts lowered by davits on the upper passenger deck. There is also a rescue boat near the stern on the outside area of the lower starboard passenger deck.
was built in 1964 as the
for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways. Considering the name of the ferry, it is likely that she was intended for the Ministry's new Westview (Powell River) - Little River (Comox) route although the first trip on that route was not made until March 25, 1965. In only a few years, the route outgrew the
and beginning in 1969 the Ministry had to borrow the BC Ferry
Queen of the Islands
to assist with summer traffic (Clapp, 61). In 1976, the Ministry replaced the
with the much larger, newly acquired
In 1977, the
was re-engined and renamed
. Beginning in 1979, the
took over as the main vessel on the Port McNeill - Sointula - Alert Bay route, replacing the smaller
, which had become too small to handle the increasing traffic.
In 1985 the
, along with all of the Ministry of Transportation and Highways coastal assets, were transferred to BC Ferries. With BC Ferries, the ferry was used on a number of different routes, including Swartz Bay to the Southern Gulf Islands.
In 1994, the
again replaced the
, this time on the Heriot Bay (Quadra Island) - Whaletown (Cortes Island) route. BC Ferries had to rebuild the dock on Cortes Island to accommodate the
, and the ship began service on the route in time for the Victoria Day long weekend. Ironically, when the
needs to be replaced, it is usually the
that takes her place.
Origin of Name
- One of the more oddly named ferries, the word Tenaka comes from the name of a river in the north-east part of the province (Peace River region). (Clapp, 79).
For Further Reading
Ministry of Transportation and Highways: Inland and Coastal Ferries.
Victoria: Province of British Columbia, 1981. Also 1978 and 1991 editions.