"The Peerless" after her hair-raising voyage through the Thompson River's Black Canyon. Photos courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives.
The Peerless, a paddle wheeler built and launched in Kamloops in November 1880, was to capitalize on the CPR construction activity.
She was an impressive 131-feet long by 25-feet wide, drew only 18 inches of water, had 16 watertight compartments, and could move at 18 knots (about 35 km/h). If you’ve rafted with Kumsheen Rafting Resort, visualize three J-rig power rafts tied side by side. Now add fifteen more rafts in rows of three lashed end to end, and you can get some idea of her massive size.
In June 1881, the Peerless headed down the Thompson to Harpers Grist Mill on the Bonaparte River above Ashcroft. Captain Irving, a highly skilled river man, had little difficulty getting back up the Thompson to her berth in Savona.