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Edmonton Queen ready to sail again as new owners gear up for the season

The Edmonton Queen Riverboat has new owners and they’re excited to get sailing.

The iconic river boat is being set up to start the summer season and it’s even back to its old name after being known as the Edmonton Riverboat for some time.

“A lot of people have a lot of strong feelings about that it’s the Edmonton Queen. We’re not going to disappoint them,” said Rob Davy, one of the new co-owners of the boat.

Davy and Eric Warnke, the other co-owner, also own the laser tag business Laser City.

“We’re in the business of making memories, kids birthday parties, corporate events, special occasions, that kind of stuff,” Davy said. “Whilst there’s going to be no laser tag on the boat, unfortunately, there will be memory making.”

When the riverboat went up for sale, Warnke started asking a friend, the general manager of the boat, about it.

“I was looking for something to pour my passion into, something that I thought was iconic and part of Edmonton that I could make sure that my kids are proud of just as much as I was,” Warnke said.

Some of the events they plan to host include dueling pianos, Canada Day fireworks sailing and live music.

“We’re hoping to make it accessible for all Edmontonians,” Warnke said. “There are the sort of date night, more higher-end dinner buffets that are happening late at night…We also are offering easily-accessible tickets if you just want to ride or if you just want to come for a barbecue on deck with the family on a Saturday afternoon.”

A view of downtown from the deck of the Edmonton Queen Riverboat on Monday, May 6, 2024. (Amanda Anderson/CTV News Edmonton)

They also plan to look into ways to use the boat during the winter, such as hosting Christmas parties.

“I think this boat should mean more to Edmontonians…The Riverboat, I don’t think often makes the top 10 list of things that Edmontonians think about,” Warnke said. “It’s not any fault of the Riverboat, but we’re hoping that we can make sure that we do right by it for future generations.”

Finding staff for a boat in the middle of the prairies is another challenge they faced. They’re still looking to hire for a few more positions including deckhand, engineer and first mate.

The Edmonton Queen will be open for public sailings starting June 1.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson

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