The sale of a group of fishing lodges on Vancouver Island will mark the end of an era in Ucluelet's harbour.

The community has been told arrangements are being made to remove the 1930s-era Canadian Princess ship, said Ucluelet Mayor Dianne St. Jacques.

"It will be a real change in our landscape to not have her there," said St. Jacques. "She's been quite a going concern over the years."

The Canadian Princess is part of a hotel that operates under the same name. It is one of three seasonal fishing lodges the Oak Bay Marine Group has put up for sale on Vancouver Island.

The company has not yet shared what it plans to do with the Canadian Princess once it is removed from Ucluelet, said St Jacques, who also used to work onboard the ship.

But removing the large vessel from the harbour may require dredging, she added.

"It's going to take some work to figure out how to get her out of where she is."

Storied history

The Canadian Princess, originally named the William J. Stewart, was built in Ontario in 1932, according to information on the website for the Canadian Princess Fishing Lodge.

The vessel was used for research on the B.C. coast but was pressed into service by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.

Not long after returning to civilian duties, the Canadian Princess struck the famous Ripple Rock near Cambell River and nearly sank. The ship was salvaged and later purchased by the Oak Bay Marine Group of Victoria.

The Canadian Princess was permanently moored in the Ucluelet harbour in 1979 to serve as a floating fishing lodge, the website said.

Change in direction

The Oak Bay Marine Group has not commented on what the future holds for the Canadian Princess, but said it will eventually be removed from the harbour, as part of the sale of the lodge.

"These amazing properties and the people who work there are very close to our hearts," spokesperson Susan Barcham said in the statement.

Canadian Princess Fishing Lodge

Accommodations on land next to the Canadian Princess have been added to the property over the years and are for sale. (TripAdvisor)

"But with numerous operations in three countries we intend to regroup and re-focus on our core business operations."

The sale will also affect the upcoming season at the Canadian Princess Fishing Lodge. It will no longer offer fishing or whale watching trips, Barcham said.

Any guests that have already booked have been contacted and offered replacement trips at either Painters Lodge or April Point Resort and Spa on the east coast of Vancouver Island, she added.

Sally Mole with the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce said there will be an economic hit for the community.

"There is obviously some concern about the loss of jobs being that that establishment has been there for decades," she said. "There are some people who are longtime employees."

As for the loss of the Canadian Princess from the Ucluelet harbour, St. Jacques said the ship will be missed, but people in town appreciate the way the company has handled the situation.

"They've been very respectful of the community's ties to the ship itself, so they want to have a party for her when she goes."