Category Archives: history

CBC’s Land and Sea Documentary Maritime Shipbuilding

 Maritime Shipbuilding is a half hour documentary that reveals the seafaring history and the proud tradition that still lives on to this day. The film will have its world broadcast premiere on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 12 Noon on CBC TV’s Land & Sea.
 Along with the News Release and the above trailer came a series of photographs, of ship building locations Then and now. It Sounds like this film will be a good complement to the talk on shipbuilding at the Maritime Museaum in October.
Spencers Island Beach, Nova Scotia – Photo Credit Geoff D’Eon.jpg
Hantsport, Nova Scotia – Photo Credit Geoff D’Eon.jpg
Port Greville, Nova Scotia – Photo Credit Geoff D’Eon.jpg

The News Release:

It’s a chapter of history mostly forgotten, not just across Canada but even in the Maritime provinces themselves. Shipbuilding – like fishing – is an obvious fact of life on the Atlantic coast, but few people today know just how extensive the industry once was. There was a time not that long ago when men built ships in sheltered harbours, on open beaches and up narrow rivers – ships that went on to carry cargoes and passengers all over the world.
From the first boats built by the earliest settlers, to the golden Age of Sail in the 1800s, and from the Grand Bank fishing schooners to the high tech naval frigates of today – the thousands of vessels built in Atlantic Canada during the past 250 years have shaped the region like no other industry.
Maritime Shipbuilding is a half hour documentary that explores this seafaring history and the proud tradition that lives on to this day. The film travels to once-thriving shipbuilding centres in the Maritimes to rediscover the story of one of the world’s most vibrant, productive, and profitable shipbuilding regions.  
Although no longer the economic driving force it once was, the shipbuilding industry in Atlantic Canada continues to prosper. The thousands of people who recently attended the re-launch of the Bluenose II in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia are a testament to that enduring legacy. 
Maritime Shipbuilding was written and directed by award-winning Halifax documentary-maker Geoff D’Eon, (Blood On The Coal/Facebook Follies) and produced by Edward Peill from Halifax-based Tell Tale Productions Inc.
“This was an interesting piece to work on. More than 28,000 ships built in the Maritimes? Who knew?” says D’Eon “It’s not only the numbers that are surprising, but the locations where these ships were built, places that today show no trace of the industry that once was.”
Maritime Shipbuilding will have its world broadcast premiere on CBC Television’s Land & Sea on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 12 Noon. Following the broadcast, the documentary can be watched on the CBC TV website at:  www.cbc.ca/landandsea. Land & Sea is CBC’s 2nd longest running TV series and can be followed on Twitter: @cbclandandsea
Maritime Shipbuilding was produced in association with CBC TV with funding from Film NS, and Provincial and Federal tax credits.

Help Save Part of Canada’s Costal Forces from WWII

The Canadian Coastal Forces Trust has launched a campain to raise funds to Purchase and restore a WWII Motor Torpedo Boat. In the Course of thier research, they have identified ex RCN MTB 486 curently acting as a house boat in the UK. The Plan is to Purchase the vessel, and have MTB Marine Ltd., who maintain Britain’s MTB 102, to restore MTB 486 back to operational condition.  MTB Marine have provided a quote of $750,000 to make MTB 486 operational again.

You can Contribute Via Indiegogo or CanadaHelps.org

(Bellow) MTB 486 as she appears today.


To My knowlege, the only other vessels preserved in canada from the second world war are HMCS Haida in Hamilton (Tribal Class destroyer) and HMCS Sackville (Flower Class Corvette) in Halifax

USNS Grapple Update

USNS Grapple paid a visit to Halifax earlier this month. When She left, she gave a “random” (ie not a major port) destination in Quebec. It now appears that she was tasked with the recovery of remains of the aircrew of a PBY 5A Catalina Aircraft which went down in November 1942 off the coast of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Parks Canada Discovered the aircraft in 2009. You can read more about the Recvoery at PC.GC.CA

One of the primary roles for Catalina Aircraft (And the Canadian version, the Canso) was anti-submarine warfare. the PBY was likely patroling the Gulf of St Lawerence when it went down.

Tall Ships Circa 1984

Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting a Selection of photos from the very First Tall Ships NS – Circa 1984. First up, We have A visitor from earlier this year – Venezuelan Navy tall ship Simon Bolivar

Next We have a familiar face, The Bluenose II

The Soviet Navy Sail Training Vessel Kruzenshtern, A Difficult get I would imagine in 1984. If the Tug looks familiar, its the Florence M, during her time as Point Vibert with Eastern Canada Towing and Salvage (EC Tug).

Finally we have this unknown American Schooner, I belive to be the Harvey Gamage passing the EC Tug Wharf.

The Titanic Post

This April 15th marks 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic. The events of the Night of April 14/15 are very well known. Titanic sets sail on her maiden voyage, hits an iceberg, and sinks. hundreds die.

Halifax’s connection to the wreck is in the aftermath. Cable Ships such as the Mina and the Mackay Bennett are dispatched from Halifax to search for survivors/recover bodies. They found hundreds, and they are buried in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Dr. John Henry Barnstead, a Halifax Physician was tasked with identifying the Dead. the Methods he Developed for identifying bodies in mass casualty situations are still in use today (and his records are held in the NS Archives)

More broadly, the titanic disaster led to changes that greatly improved safety at sea. The SOLAS (Safety of life at Sea) Conventions were a direct result of the Disaster, as were the Codification of ship board Radio requirements, and the adoption of S.O.S and MAYDAY as distress signals.

For More on Titanic’s Nova Scotia Connections, Including Documents, See the Provincial governments site http://titanic.gov.ns.ca/

The IEEE Spectrum has an article on the radio changes that Titanic brought about.

Live Tweeting the Halifax Explosion

Live tweeting is such an awkward term for tweeting events that happened 94 years ago, but I suppose it is less awkward then Historical re-enactment Tweeting..

If you Follow @hfxshippingnews on twitter, you will see I am live tweeting the Halifax explosion. A tweet will occur at the same time key events took place, 94 years ago to the minute.

We all know the story of the Halifax explosion. The Mont-Blanc Laden with explosives, collides with the Imo in the narrows. The Mont-Blanc catches fire, explodes, and flattens the north end, killing two thousand people. What most people don’t realize, or appreciate is that every incident has a timeline, and that the players in this incident are already in motion. Your Morning routine is much the same as it would have been in 1917.

Today, vessels are at anchor, and there are expected arrivals and departures, for the most part, residents of Halifax pay no attention. They will get up tomorrow morning, go through the morning routine, send the kids to school, and go off to work. As the tweets come in, you can experience, 94 years later, how your ordinary day, became extraordinary.

Update:
I See @ns_archives will also be doing this with the tag #hfxexplosion

Arthur Lismer, Halifax, and the War.

Most people are familiar with grand paintings commemorating great victories and heroes of wars. These hang in galleries around the world, Including Examples such as Benjamen West’s “Death of General Wolf”, which hangs at the National Gallery of Canada.

Beyond these Examples, Fewer people Are familiar with the War Art programs of the first and Second World Wars. Artists received official Commissions form the government to document the war effort. Some of these paintings are triumphant, But most show the dramatic effects of war. The First World War had a great influence on the Group of Seven. A.Y Jackson and Frederick Varley served with the infantry, and the style of their work is different in the pre and post war periods. – Post war their landscapes almost look dead.

Arthur Lismer, another founding member of the group, spent the War in Halifax. He was at the time serving as the director of the Nova Scotia College of Art. He received a commission to Document the Activities in the Harbour.

Lismer; HMCS Grilse on Convoy Duty

Lismer; The Transport Aquitania

Lismer’s works detailed the comings and goings of ships, Harbour patrols and Mine sweeping, and serve as a vibrant reminder that the war touched us here on the home front.

One Final Footnote – The Jagged paint Schemes on the ships was called Dazzle. It was meant to Disrupt the eye and make ships courses harder to determine. It was Proposed by Painter Norman Wilkinson (who painted Canada’s Answer), In part to Discredit the Cubist Movement.

 Olympic with Returned Soldiers

Ghost Ships

In The Spirit of the Day, I present this link to the Top 10 Ghost Ships. The List includes Some well known stories, as well as the Story of the Young Teazer, which was an American Privateer Schooner preying on sea trade of the British Empire off the coast of Halifax. She met he end in Mahone Bay.

For More on the Young Teazer See:
In shallow waters: The final resting place of the Young Teazer
and
Wikipedia

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