Members of the Maritime Heritage Society installed a wooden seagull carving outside of the Hutcheson Gallery on Wednesday, May 2. FACEBOOK PHOTO

Port Alberni’s maritime gull needs a name

Maritime heritage society holds contest for ‘newest resident’

A new resident sits outside of the Hutcheson Maritime Heritage Gallery on Harbour Road.

On Wednesday, May 2, a wooden seagull was installed in its permanent resting place on top of the boom sticks next to the Maritime Discovery Centre’s Hutcheson Gallery. The bird was designed by local carver Jesse Toso and purchased by the Maritime Heritage Society last year. The carving was finished and brought to the gallery in December, because it needed to dry out before painting.

“It’s been a process in the making,” said Jenn Preedy, the Discovery Centre’s facility coordinator.

The seagull is yet another addition to the gallery’s outdoor exhibit, featuring steamboat The Swan and boom boat The Tatoosh. Volunteers with the Heritage Society have spent the past two and a half years working on a shelter, cradle and viewing deck for The Swan—a more than 120-year-old steam launch that carried passengers across the Alberni Inlet and Sproat Lake. She spent 50 years on the bottom of the lake before she was raised and restored by local businessman Art Skipsey and donated to the society. She now sits on display outside of the gallery.

“When Kenn [Whiteman] came on as president, this is what he wanted to get done,” said Preedy. “This is his project.”

Some restoration work is still needed—The Swan still needs a fresh coat of paint, as well as some repairs to the floorboards and fibreglass.

“It’s actually moving pretty quickly,” said Preedy. “People from all over the community have donated time and supplies towards getting this done.”

The Maritime Discovery Centre is now holding a naming contest for the centre’s newest resident. People can submit their names for the seagull in person at the gallery, online at www.portalbernimaritimeheritage.ca or on Facebook through the Maritime Discovery Centre’s page.

Submissions will be cut off on June 14, and the name of the seagull will be revealed on Port Day (June 16).

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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