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SS Iroquois Keys

Maritime Museum of BC

If you spend summers bicycle riding along the Lochside Trail, you might know of Iroquois Park in Sidney. It’s not named for the Haudenosaunee People, but rather it is named for a steamship known as the SS Iroquois. Long before BC Ferries, there was just a series of private ferry companies that operated along Vancouver Island. The Iroquois transported people from Sidney to Nanaimo with several stops along the Gulf Islands. Tragically she sank in 1911 off the coast of Sidney because she was overloaded with unsecured cargo. The three heroes of that story were three Indigenous men. William Tzouhalem, Donat Charlie and Bob Klutwhalem of the Cowichan First Nation were nearby and rushed to help with their canoes. They saved several people from drowning.

In 1980 the rudder from the Iroquois was salvaged, and is still on display today in Iroquois Park.