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The wreck of the SS Capilano

The SS Capilano, a registered BC Heritage site, and one of my favourite dives in Canada.

The Steam Ship Capilano sank in the northern Strait of Georgia on October 1, 1915. Built in 1891, the 120 foot long Capilano was a small steel coastal freight and passenger steamship.

The Capilano played an important role in the development of a reliable water transportation network for British Columbia coastal waters. The ship was one of three steel steamers built in Scotland in 1891-92 to meet the increasing demand for cargo and passenger transport from Vancouver to the growing number of up-coast settlements and industries.

The wreckage was discovered in 1973. The steel hull of the vessel, along with all its machinery and rigging gear, remain upright on flat sandy bottom. The main structure is still in relatively good shape.

The Capilano feels like a shipwreck. At over a hundred years old it’s easy to imagine people walking around the decks. I like to swim off the wreck and kneel in the sand at 130 feet depth, taking it all in - or as much as the visibly allows. The ship has now become an important home to marine life, with nothing else nearby to produce a suitable fish habitat, wrecks like this one are now an important resource for our sea life.


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