Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Royal couple returns to Red River
Paddlewheel Queen and Princess return to North End docks
The Paddlewheel Queen and Princess will be back on the Red River this summer — and the two passenger ships will be docking at a familiar spot.
Owner Steve Hawchuk said the boats are scheduled to set sail in the coming weeks after being out of service all of last year because of unusually high river levels.
Hawchuk, who also serves as captain, said the ships will once again dock near Redwood Avenue and Main Street.
The Redwood dock was the ships’ original base from 1969 until 1984. They were subsequently moored at the Chief Peguis, Alexander and The Forks docks.
Hawchuk said he has already received several calls from people wanting to know when the ships will begin cruising the Red.
"We got so many requests and calls for our royal couple," he said of his two vessels.
"Also the last few years have been high water. It should be some time for lower waters. I haven’t seen water levels this low."
Hawchuk said he briefly considered dropping anchor and retiring from the business before deciding to return for another season.
"After spending so much money on these boats, it was a shame to have them not run and collect rust. After so many phone calls and emails, I thought — let’s keep sailing," he said.
Hawchuk has enjoyed his share of adventure as ship captain. The Guess Who sailed with him for a piano party in the 1970s and he once picked up singer Franki Valli on the shores of the Red in the late ‘60s. The two paddlewheel ships also have welcomed aboard royalty and hosted at least one Prime Minister.
"We took Pierre Trudeau to Lockport."
Hawchuk expects the Paddlewheel Queen to be sailing by the end of May and the Princess to follow in early June. The Queen can hold up to 400 passengers, while the Princess can accommodate half as many subjects, with a passenger limit of 200.
Hawchuk said he expects the crews of the two ships will be kept busy this summer.
"We jam out 125 dinners usually in the first hour of each trip, so we’re going fast from the get-go," he said.
Hawchuk said while the tourism industry has changed since 1969, people are still looking to sail the Red.
"I used to have double deckers myself and other bus tours come in, but graduations, weddings and other fundraisers hosted on the boat have always been popular," he said.
For more information, call 942-4500.
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(1 of 10 articles for today)05/21/2013 10:44 AM 0
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