It’s rare for a ship that’s foundered in BC’s water to leave a physical legacy. An exception is BC’s first steamship: the Beaver. The Hudson’s Bay Company commissioned the 31-metre paddlewheel steamship in 1835, and she was built by Wigram & Green, Blackwall Yard, London. After rounding Cape Horn and sailing on to Victoria, she served all along the Pacific northern coast as trading vessel, hydrographic ship, quasi warship, a judicial platform, a tow boat and a symbol of Empire. For 53 years, she kept her crew super busy cutting cords of wood to power the 35hp steam engine.
The Beaver foundered off Stanley Park in 1888, but the ship’s salvaged metals became the source for the Beaver medal. The Maritime Museum of BC now awards these medals to persons and organizations who have made significant contributions to BC’s maritime environment.
Thus the legacy of this iconic ship lives on.
On November 9, for the sixth time, the Maritime Museum of BC awarded its prestigious Beaver Medal to four individuals and one organization. As the Museum’s honourary patron, the Honourable Judith Guichon, LG, bestowed the medals at Government House. The awardees were on hand to receive their medal and include the following winners.
Photo above: Left to right: SALTS representatives, Pacific Swift skipper Tristan Hedley, Board chair Derek Rand, Pacific Grace skipper Tony Anderson, Executive Director Loren Hagerty, her Honour LG Judith Guichon, Barrie Farrell, Campbell Black, Keith McLaren, and Roland Webb. (Thanks to Marianne Scott for the photo!).
Campbell Black is the founder of Blackline Marine, a pleasure-craft repair shop in Sidney. Besides his entrepreneurial bent—he partnered with Brian Henry of Ocean River Sports to build “Current Design” kayaks—he created the Quadrant Marine Institute, an apprenticeship training facility in Sidney that educates marine technicians for careers in BC’s boat and ship repair/building sector. Quadrant schools its students in a wide range of marine-related skills and provides training in Sidney and Vancouver’s Granville Island. The Nova Scotia Boatbuilders' Association uses Quadrant’s curriculum in its apprenticeship program, as do several organizations in the US.
Nanaimo-based Barrie Farrell built his first boat as a teenager on the Sunshine Coast. When fiberglass became available in the ‘60s he quickly realized its advantages and developed an innovative hull form suiting the fishing industry’s requirements. His gillnetters and trollers dominated the BC salmon fleet in the ‘70s and ‘80s. His distinct hulls were also adapted as fast pleasure boats. By the late ‘90s Barrie had built more than 300 commercial and pleasure boats, leaving a profound stamp on BC boatbuilding.
Retired deep-sea and coastal mariner, formerly senior master of Spirit of Vancouver Island and author of award-winning seafaring books, Keith McLaren began his seagoing years in 1969. These experiences included two seasons in the Bluenose during the ‘70s. Captain McLaren eventually earned a Master Mariner ticket before joining BC Ferries. Keith has published three books on nautical subjects. One is an outstanding collection of seafaring photographs of BC’s fleets. His other books cover Nova Scotia schooners; the 2007 A Race for Real Sailors won “best book of the year” from the Canadian Nautical Research Society.
Since 2008, White Rock-based Roland Webb has been senior vice-president at Vancouver’s Robert Allan Ltd., Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, the leading designer of work- and tugboats worldwide. He graduated from the Coast Guard College in Sydney NS in 1974 and rose to the position of Chief Engineer. He then moved into management in the ship repair/shipbuilding sector, holding executive positions in several shipyards on both coasts, including managing the three Washington Marine Group Shipyards.
The Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) of Victoria was recognized for its youth sail training and motivational programs established in 1974. Annually SALTS reaches over 1,700 young people aged 13-25. Aboard the schooners Pacific Grace and Pacific Swift, SALTS helps "to develop the spiritual, relational and physical potential of young people through sail training and associated activities.”