21 May

The Historic S.S. Bigwin Steamship

It was one of those murky days as I made my way through the town of Dorset and noticing the S.S. Bigwin steamship moored at the town docks with not a soul around.

A little history – In 1910 James Kuhn a Pittsburgh, PA industrialist launched a steamship on Lake Muskoka named after his wife Ella Marie. They spent their summers on Belle Isle (recently destroyed) just north of Beaumaris on Lake Muskoka. After experiencing financial difficulty the Ella Marie was sold some 15 years later and relocated to the Lake of Bays where she served as the ferry boat for Bigwin Island for the next 45 years.

At 66ft in length and a registered 25 tons the S.S. Bigwin would carry guests such as Clark Gable, Louis Armstrong, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo and many other famous people out to the world-class Bigwin Inn on Bigwin island. Around 1970 the Bigwin Inn went out of business and the steamship was left to rot in her slip. In 1991 the Dwight Fire Department floated her to a local dock and then hauled  her onto a property in Port Cunnington where restoration started in 2002.

The S. S. Bigwin was relaunched again on July 10, 2010.
The Bigwin Floats Again


In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, tripin around towns

8 Responses
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  1. You really get around, Ed! Don’t you just love Dorset? It’s one of my favourite places up here – the village divided right down the middle between Muskoka and Haliburton. And that fabulous, fabulous bridge…
    The Bigwin legacy is fascinating and I’m glad to see the old girl afloat. Great pic, as always!

  2. RobertB says:

    I’m also in love with Dorset. Especially the fire tower, which I climbed for the first time last year, after overcoming my extreme fear of heights. During my tenure as a cottage owner on Pencil Lake in Haliburton, I had heard many stories of the Bigwin. I saw it for the first time while visiting Dorset. She’s quite a beauty.

  3. I think perhaps it was Port Cunnington on Lake of Bays that it was taken to. Good on you for exposing those who have wronged you.

  4. Ed Boutilier says:

    Dorset is a cool place. Especially that Robinson’s General Store

    Thanks Elaine!
    I made the change

  5. JuliaBD says:

    Thanks for the blogging and photos..still homesick after working so hard at leaving..why on earth would you ever!! Your photos nearing Dorset and Dwight (Lake of Bays) are awe inspiring..again..many thanks

  6. Brad says:

    nov 17 2012 pulled the big win out on rail way beautiful old boat

  7. anne c says:

    What’s going on with the SS Bigwin?

  8. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Anne, as far as I know the SS Bigwin is still sailing out of Dorset

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