Nice RPPC photo postcard of the Hudson Bay Company sternwheeler ‘The Peace River’ at Fort Vermillion Alberta.
The 'Peace River' was 34 m long, and could carry 80 tons of cargo and 25 passengers. The Peace River had navigational difficulties. The Vermilion Chutes was the first impassable barrier, and the Peace River operated on the 800 km between Fort Vermilion and Fort St John.
Fort Vermillion was a HBC trading post, and Roman Catholic missionaries provided educational services at their mission there from 1863 onwards.
Written at bottom “The Peace River in front of the Mission Fort Vermillion Alta”
Based on 'CYKO' photographic paper used, dates from 1904-1920.
Light crease UR.
(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale)
The Peace River, which flows from the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia to the Peace–Athabasca Delta and Lake Athabasca in Alberta, was navigable by late nineteenth and early twentieth century steamboats from the Rocky Mountain Falls at Hudson's Hope to Fort Vermilion, where there was another set of rapids, then via the lower Peace from Vermilion to Lake Athabasca.
In 1905, the HBC launched a sternwheeler of their own, the Peace River. Built at Fort Vermilion, this 110-foot (34 m) long vessel could carry forty tons of freight and worked on the Peace River for ten years, until she was taken through the rapids below Fort Vermilion.
Steamboats had a limited season, often making only making 3 or 4 trips a year. These trips up and down the river would take several weeks, depending on conditions and sand bars. Boats did not travel at night due to limited visibility. Wood was the traditional fuel, and these sternwheelers could burn as much as three or four cords of wood per hour. Paying passengers had no guarantee of a leisurely trip; although contractors were hired to cut and stack cordwood along the river, the sternwheelers often burned wood in such enormous quantities that the passengers would be called into service and set ashore with crosscuts and axes to replenish the wood supply. The season was short due to winter and ice up, and the boats had to be pulled from the water in winter to avoid destruction by the ice.