on the classic riverboat
The Prairie Lily
Saskatoon's riverboats since 1996 !Peter and Valerie Kingsmill started offering boat tours for birdwatchers at Redberry Lake in 1989, where for several years the tours were operated in partnership with The Redberry Pelican Project. In 1996 Peter teamed up with two other Saskatchewan tourism professionals and started Shearwater Properties Ltd., the company that designed, built and operated the Saskatoon Lady on the river in Saskatoon from 1996 through 2002.
Peter and Valerie bought controlling interest in the founding company in 2002, purchasing and re-fitting the passenger motor vessel Saskatoon Princess (originally named the Queen of Ottawa plying the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa). In 2007, the company also purchased the former Lady Chesley from a company in Manitoba, re-named her the Meewasin Queen and put her into service in the spring of 2008.
2012 and The Prairie Lily
2010, Shearwater Properties Ltd. (the founding company) expanded its
industrial marine services division as a separate entity (Shearwater
Marine Services Ltd.) and - together with new principals Michael and
Joan Steckhan, began the process of assessing the market for a larger
ship to serve the Saskatchewan river cruise market. After a year-long
search that involved looking at vessels in Manitoba, California and
Nevada, the team established a new company (Shearwater River Cruises
Ltd.) and purchased what will be the company's new flagship: the
63-foot, 149 passenger riverboat The Prairie Lily.
The Prairie Lily was built in 1989 in La Crosse, Wisconsin and moved by truck to Laughlin, Nevada where she served as a sightseeing, dinner and wedding charter ship on the Colorado River until purchased by Shearwater in March, 2012. The Lily is driven by two propellers powered by Cummins diesel engines, as well as a separate 40 kw diesel generator. She is registered at 107.5 gross tons, is over 64 feet long with a 20 foot beam and draws just under 4 feet of water. Her cruising speed is about 5 knots, and she is equipped with GPS, Sonar, Marine VHF Radio and hydraulic steering.
ABOUT THE TOURS
Each scheduled tour lasts about one hour, leaving from the Shearwater docks behind the Mendel Art Gallery on Spadina Crescent near the University Bridge in downtown Saskatoon. The ship travels under four of Saskatoon's eight bridges, past the downtown core with its elegant landscaped parks, natural areas, and some of the city's most opulent residences. Enjoy watching canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs, wakeboarders and waterskiers enjoy this beautiful river valley, recognized as one of the finest and best-kept in the world. On our daily scheduled sight-seeing cruises, you will enjoy our carefully-researched commentary, which will inform you about the river, its landmarks, cultural highlights, and fascinating history.