< Back Contents Next >
Fran├žaisFR

"Scotia Mac" John McDonald joined the BYN Co. after working on a number of steamers for numerous organizations starting in 1896, mostly on Kootenay Lake in British Columbia.

In 1902, MacDonald worked on the sternwheeler Scotia on Atlin Lake as a mate. He eventually earned the position of captain of the Tutshi, as well as a reputation as a jokester and a storyteller. While at Ben-My-Chree, he was rumoured to have told some tourists that red cabbages had been "struck by the northern lights." His love of pranks resulted in embarrassment for the captain once when he decided to nudge a sandbar in order to frighten the passengers and ended up getting stuck. The passengers danced though the night as the crew worked to get the Tutshi off the bar.

The deckhands were hired locally. They handled the lines, kept the deck clean, filled the water barrels on the deck, manned the life boats and fire hoses and occasionally helped the waiters clean the tourist cabins. The deckhands and the firemen lived in the engine room cabins. The rooms off the freight deck were occupied by the waiters and cooks.

Many of the waiters on the WP&YR steamers came north from the lower mainland of British Columbia. The work was attractive to university students who could earn enough money to pay tuition and live in comfort for the rest of the year. Due to the intensity of the Tutshi's schedule, a crewmember only had three hours in Carcross between runs to Ben-My-Chree.