S.S. Keenora – Victoria Beach – 1927


S.S. Keenora – Victoria Beach – 1927

S.S. Keenora is on Wikipedia.

The steamboat SS Keenora is probably the best-known and most loved of all Lake Winnipeg steamboats. The vessel began operations as a steamboat on Lake of the Woods in Ontario, where from she was transported to Winnipeg, Manitoba and rebuilt. Currently retired from service, Keenora is the centrepiece of collection at the Marine Museum of Manitoba in Selkirk, Manitoba.


The steamboat Keenora was built in 1897 for passenger and cargo traffic along the Ontario‘s Lake of the Woods, where she ran successfully for over a decade, serving isolated communities on the lake as distant as Rainy River. When the Ontario and Rainy River Railway was built in 1901 traffic volumes began to decline, following the takeover of this railway by Canadian Northern Railway in 1915, the vessel was sold to a consortium of Winnipeg lawyers. Keenora was dismantled and transported in sections to Winnipeg on railroad flatcars in 1917.

Once reassembled in Winnipeg, she received an additional 30-foot (9.1 m) extension to her hull, increasing her overall length to 158 feet (48 m). For a season the ship served as a floating dance hall in downtown Winnipeg, but was later assigned to cargo and passenger traffic on Lake Winnipeg and the Red River. A total of 65 passenger cabins were constructed, and a new machinery was installed. The machinery guaranteed a speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).

The regular route started from Winnipeg, with a turnaround point located at the northern end of Lake Winnipeg, at Warren Landing on the Big Mossy Point. From Warren Landing the passengers and cargo were transferred to a smaller steamboat, which covered the last 30 kilometres (19 mi) to Norway House. Keenora was too large to enter the shallow Nelson River.

Keenoras career ended in the 1960s when she could not meet the new maritime regulations. At first the ship was destined to be scrapped, but was salvaged to be the cornerstone of Marine Museum of Manitoba’s collections.


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Minaki, Ontario – Nelson House – Minaki, Ontario


Minaki, Ontario – Nelson House – Minaki, Ontario

On page 6 of the album, man number 2 and man number 5 appear once again.


Man number 5 is most probably Bill who would be a mechanic in the RCAF.


EPSON scanner image

Bill appears many times in the album.



He seems closely related to a young woman who I believe has to be Charlotte M. Campbell.


Grand Rapids, 1927

But then I could be wrong…

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Deer Lake, Manitoba

We will probably never find out about Charlotte M. Campbell, but this does not deter me to search for her or for other people we see in the album.

Finding about the planes is much easier.


This is page 5 of Charlotte M. Campbell’s precious album. I had to know more about that plane.

So I went on the Internet and I found this on a forum.

Top to Bottom – Left to right 

Canadian Vickers Vedette II G-CYZM – Canadian Vickers serial number CV50. Taken on Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 17th of May 1927. Struck off Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 21st of June 1933. Subsequently carried Canadian civil aircraft registration CF-SAB and flew with the Government of Saskatchewan air services.

‘EV’ (with the men sitting on starboard side of the hull) is G-CYEV, a Canadian Vickers Viking IV. It is serial number CV2. Taken on Strength with the Canadian Air Force on the 15th of August 1923. Struck off Strength with the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 20th of February 1931. This Viking served with No. 1 Operations Wing (Headquarters at Winnipeg, Manitoba) with detachments (also referred to as sub-bases) at Victoria Beach, Norway House, Lac du Bonnet and Cormorant Lake. This aircraft was struck off strength with the R.C.A.F. at Cormorant Lake on the 2th of February 1931.

The aircraft with the airman on the top wing refueling it is a Canadian Vickers-built Avro 552A Viper (T.S. Patrol A.V.S.) * (Two Seat Patrol Avro Viper Seaplane). It was powered by a Woseley Viper.

‘GC’ is a G-CYGC, a Canadian Vickers-built (s/n CV21) Avro Viper 552A (T.S. Patrol A.V.S.). Taken on Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 26th of May 1925.. Struck of Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 18th of October 1927 as a result of an accident the same day at Bowden Lake.

“GE’ is another Avro 552A. It was Canadian Vickers s/n CV23. Taken on Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 12th of June 1925. Struck off Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 16th of January 1928 at Long Lake, Manitoba, the same day it suffered category ‘A’ damage.

The last photo showing a group of pilots in front of the sole Avro Wright (Two Seat Patrol Avro Wright Seaplane) the R.C.A.F. operated, G-CYGK. Canadian Vickers s/n CV29. Re-serialed to R.C.A.F. s/n 12. Taken on Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 14th of July 1925. Struck off Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 17th of January 1930. Category ‘A’ crash at Orillia, Ontario on the 26th of September 1929.




Canadian Vickers Vedette II G-CYZM – Canadian Vickers serial number CV50. Taken on Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 17th of May 1927. Struck off Strength with the R.C.A.F. on the 21st of June 1933. Subsequently carried Canadian civil aircraft registration CF-SAB and flew with the Government of Saskatchewan air services.

But there is more on the forum…

Hello, I was looking through these photos as my great grandfather flew Vickers Vedettes and other such flying boats out of Victoria Beach in the 20s. I noticed in the photo of the four men sitting on the hull of the aircraft marked “VE” that the furthest right is my grandfather, Gordon Donaldson. If you have any more photos of either the aircraft at Victoria Beach or just Victoria Beach itself i would be very gracious if you would email them to me or post them on this site.

-Inigo Jenkins



Page 4…


Not much to go on unless you know what type of plane is on that picture.


Collection Charlotte M. Campbell

This is a Vickers Vedette the same plane as these other pictures I found on the Internet.

Source Internet

The Canadian Vickers Vedette was the first aircraft in Canada designed and built to meet a specification for Canadian conditions. It was a single-engine biplane flying boat purchased to meet a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) demand for a smaller aircraft than the Vickers Viking with a much greater rate of climb, to be suitable for forestry survey and fire protection work. The type went on to have a long and distinguished career in civil operations in Canada. Most of the topographical maps in use in Canada today are based on photos taken from these aircraft. (Wikipedia)


Now we are getting somewhere with this picture.


Collection Charlotte M. Campbell

Canadian Vickers

Vedette II
CV 73
Used at Lac du Bonnet.

first date: 14 June 1928 (Taken on strength)
last date: 25 November 1931 (Struck off)
Source: http://www.rwrwalker.ca/cab_detail_xa_zz.html

Charlotte M. Campbell’s photo album is about people who were involved with aerial photography and somehow with the RCAF.


Source Internet


Source Internet

Charlotte M. Campbell’s photo album is part of Canadian history.

Collection Charlotte M. Campbell – Rottenstone Lake

Turning to page 3, and setting the time machine to Rottenstone Lake, Saskatchewan, in the year 1929.



No.3 Photo Flight
Season 1929
Lake, Saskatchewan

I think we are getting somewhere with the caption.

And the faces!




But no still names for now, just numbers for now to help me.


All these people ought to be part of RCAF No.3 Photo Flight in Rottenstone Lake, Saskatchewan, in 1929.

My guess is that no.5 is Bill.

EPSON scanner image



Ross Campbell told me Bill was probably a ground crew (mechanic) and not a pilot. Bill isn’t on this group picture of pilots either which is part of the photo album, unless you can spot him for us.



Let’s us know.