Letter from John

Before there were Victory ships there where wooden hulled ships and ferries built in Vancouver.

Before wooden ships only canoes existed.

Certainly when the main vision and objective of North Vancouver City is to depict Lower Lonsdale’s, past, present and future in a museum to the thousands of visitors and cruise ship tourists with exhibits such as…

Re-establishing the old North Vancouver Streetcar Company. (at a cost to the City of approximately $13 million)
Featuring North Vancouver Shipbuilding, past, present and future in the prestigious Maritime Museum that will be located in the “Machine Shop” building at the foot of Lonsdale (at a cost of approximately $20 million)
Displaying the stern portion and the engine of the Victory ship Cape Breton (at a cost to the City of approximately $570,000)

I think it reasonable to assume that the more presentations and exhibits North Vancouver has to offer to the interested tourist, the more complete and frequent his or her visits and experiences to the North Shore will likely be.

Following all the extensive and emotional interest and public appeal covered over the many years in newspapers such as… The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The North Shore News and the North Shore Outlook to save the NO. 5 Ferry, the ship is doomed and faces the political axe occupied by North Vancouver City Council.

My question is “why”?

Why has North Vancouver City Council so completely unheeded the wishes of the community and not shown the propensity or desire to preserve or include this vital North Vancouver Heritage Structure in any way, Including featuring it in the new Marine Museum now under construction at the foot of Lonsdale.

The City Of North Vancouver have taken the position and is now deliberately ready to lose forever a significant piece of North Vancouver’s, heritage, culture and history, and threatens to lose forever the ancient technique of shipbuilding by losing “The NO.5 Ferry”.

From a North Vancouver heritage standpoint it is essential North Vancouver retains its ship to represent the time when the city operated its own ferry system for the benefit of its citizens.

Let me tell you some of what I know about the NO. 5 Ferry…

The NO.5 Ferry was a vital transportation link that carried thousands of workers per day back and forth across the inlet between 1941-1945 to Burrard Dry-docks and North Vancouver Ship Repairs. Both industries including “The NO.5 Ferry” were key players in North Vancouver’s contribution of producing over 164 Victory ships as well as other ships that played a significant role in winning the 2nd world war.

Upon Her launch and as written in the “Shipbuilder and Marine Engine Builder” archive 1941 it is written:

“The people of North Vancouver are to be congratulated on having available for operation between these two places on opposite sides of Burrard Inlet a ferry so well adapted for both winter and summer service, the design reflecting great credit on the navel architect responsible for this example of a specialized type of vessel”

I believe it to be the obligation of all responsible citizens in North Vancouver to remain respectfully proud of the men and women whom founded and built this city in which we reside.

That it be the duty of every citizen to assure it protects the heritage within its township before segments of its past vanish completely from our shores along with our aging population.

I wonder how professionally or accurately will the City of North Vancouver or its institutions will have depicted North Vancouver’s history, when they have failed to rescue the very last large-scale wooden heritage structure that serviced, was fabricated and still remains intact within in the boundaries North Vancouver!

What other similar historic large-scale wooden vessels does The City Of North Vancouver own, or indeed can ever have the opportunity to preserve again that will illustrate so well North Vancouver’s history more completely or accurately than the NO.5 Ferry?

The North Vancouver Ferry history itself should be made “at any cost” an indispensable attraction within a museum.

I believe North Vancouver City Council, its Heritage Committee and North Vancouver Museum and Archives Commission to be negligent in their duty of not saving the NO.5 Ferry. That it be remiss in not guaranteeing that NO.5 be saved, and certifying that North Vancouver history be preserved and protected for future generations to learn from, appreciate and enjoy.

Certainly the public will remain steadfast and diligent in their crusade to save the NO.5 Ferry and will unquestionably hold City Council and its institutions accountable for this grave error in judgement.

Through the excitement, haste and mindless vision for the future, have we failed or neglected to see our past?

The public has spoken loudly and repeatedly and rightfully…
Save the NO.5 Ferry