And members of the Pipher Family were present to participate in the celebration of the return. The return of this magnificent ship took place to-day; that is correct, June 23rd, 2012. The return is of interest to all Canadians but especially to the Piphers because both Gary and Ross worked on the Lakers in their early days!! No doubt they would have shared the shipping lanes with the Keewatin as it sailed from Port McNicoll to Fort William/Port Arthur, now Thunder Bay.
Here is Gary’s personal account: “It was a memorable day for the Georgian Bay village of Port McNicoll when the Keewatin pulled into the docks this afternoon. She was away for 45 years and has finally come home to rest. The main boiler was removed but somehow using compressed air they managed to crank the engine and rotate the huge prop as she made her way into port. The anchor was raised by the same method and the log board in the engine room said shut down forever 46 years ago. We went up to Giants Tomb about 8:45 am and there were several boats already gathered. Sharply at 10:30 the tug boat pulled her around to the East and headed toward Port. As we neared Midland I would estimate 200 boats of all makes and size following in the flotilla. There are big plans in the works for Port McNicoll and Skyline Development has already built several large condos. It was a great day and the weather co-operated.
To read an historical account of the Keewatin, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Keewatin You may wish to view some more personal items on Youtube. To do so, click: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=The+Mighty+Ship+Keewatin&aq=f
Submitted by Gary Pipher. 2012 06 23