View of USS Saranac

© Museum at Campbell River


This Learning Object Collection features ten stories of shipwrecks along the Vancouver Island coast. Here, you can learn about how shipwrecks became dramatic and terrifying events in people’s lives.

We have created a special “shipwrecks newspaper” for you to read, called the Shipwreck Times. In each article, the terrors of a wreck, the anticipation of news at the home port, and sometimes even the joy of rescue are there for you to explore. Sometimes, those aboard a wrecked ship did not survive to tell their tale, or their experiences of the events were different from others who were also there. This means that we do not know all of the details, or that there are several very different versions of the same story. Here, we have taken quotes from interviews, historic newspaper articles, official statements and even a journal entry to make the Shipwreck Times pieces vivid and exciting. You can read about the sources in the citations section, and find out where to learn more in the bibliography.

Like all great adventures, life on the ocean gives us champions to admire and cowards to despise. The Boston, Tonquin and Lord Western date back to the early years of trade and exploration by Americans and Europeans around Vancouver Island. The USS Suwanee and the USS Saranac wrecks involve dramatic encounters with coastal geography. The Ericsson was once an engineering wonder, and the HMS Condor presents a genuine shipwreck mystery. The losses of the Carelmapu and the Valencia are tragic and mysterious tales and the Uzbekistan and the Vanlene wrecks are examples of how even modern freighters are not safe from the rough coast. We can share in these stories as they take us above and below the ocean.

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