TABLE FOR II
Novel idea gives refurbished vessel a national flavour
By Robert Hirtle:
LUNENBURG – Bluenose II has always been billed as Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador.
Once the reconstructed ship is back in the water this fall, however, that distinction might very well be changed from a provincial one to a national one.
On July 26, 2012 a table built by Colin O’Toole of Covey Island Boatworks was dedicated at Provincial House in Halifax by the council of Canadian Premiers who were holding their annual meeting.
The table which is comprised pf materials representing every province and territory in the country was the brainchild of the Covey Island Boatworks team, part of the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance which is carrying out the restoration of the iconic schooner.
“It was something we had kind of talked about in the office here, to do something like this”, explains company President Al Hutchinson.
Once the seed for the idea was planted, the firm’s research and relations associates, Patrick Hirtle, sent out letters to the various provincial departments of tourism pitching the project.
“We got a few quick responses. New Brunswick. Manitoba and Saskatchewan were all on top of it quite quickly” Mr. Hirtle said, “we enlisted the help of Gerald Keddy’s office….and that was a huge help in making those contacts across the country. They did provide a lot of support in making that happen.”
Ultimately each province and territory provided wood or stone components for the trapezoid shaped table, which will grace the fo’c’sle of the newly refurbished ship.
Nova Scotia provided red spruce, Prince Edward Island red oak, spruce came from Newfoundland and Labrador, sugar maple from New Brunswick, spruce from Quebec, black walnut from Ontario. White spruce from Manitoba, white birch from Saskatchewan, lodgepole pine from Alberta and Douglas fir from British Columbia..
Some contributions came from Nunavut in the form of granite and Northwest Territories which provided a piece Acasta Gneiss a 4 billion year old piece of the earth’s crust, and the Yukon provided a gold nugget in the shape of that territory.
That latter element, while much appreciated, caused a bit of head scratching on how to protect it, considering the price of gold in today’s market.
“We struggled a bit with how to incorporate that and put it under a piece of glass,” laughed Mr. Hutchinson, adding that eventually the nugget will likely be cast in a piece if UV stabilized epoxy so it cannot be chiseled out.
The border of the table is made of Angelique, the same wood that was used in the reconstruction of Bluenose II’s hull, and its legs are made from African teak that was residual from the salon of the original panelling in the original vessel.
Each individual board of the table was inset with a piece of ash from the restoration which was laser etched with the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance logo and an identifier naming the type of wood as well as the contributing province.
Similar markers will also be inset near the stone pieces and gold nugget which were contributed by the three territories.
As a special added bonus, every provincial and territorial leader signed the bottom side of the table after the dedication ceremony , making the work, like Bluenose II itself, an icon in its own right.
After the dedication, the table was transported to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic where it will be temporarily on display, appropriately enough in the Bluenose Room, before it is transferred to the ship.
Premier Darrel Dexter said that, much like the Council of the Federation, the table “represents the sum of many individual parts, our country’s diversity, and strength.”
“The table will serve as a beautiful symbol of the contribution of each province and territory makes to our great country. Like Bluenose itself, it is a true Canadian legacy”, he said.
Mr. Hirtle said the project was one that people really got excited about, “from the premiers down to the guys working at ground level, in the trenches, in the departments.
Working with some of those contacts, people were just generally excited to be able to contribute,” he said.