Monday, October 3, 2011

Cunard Line Celebrates Their Heritage & Their Founder’s Legacy

Let’s step back to Halifax, Nova Scotia half a decade ago. It was 2006 when The Honourable Alan R. Abraham of The Halifax Foundation, along with John Langley, chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society, spearheaded the initiative to create a bronze statue of Sir Samuel Cunard, who hailed from Halifax and established the iconic ocean liner company bearing his name more than 171 years ago.

Dedicated in October of that year, the statue, which depicts Cunard standing beside a ship’s telegraph (symbolic of steamship travel and the company he established), has presided over Halifax’s waterfront to recognize one of the city’s most famous and influential individuals.

Fast forward now to last week when Cunard Line took the opportunity to celebrate the legacy of their founder in his birthplace while Queen Elizabeth made her maiden call to Halifax. In honor of the maiden visit of Cunard’s newest ocean liner and the recent revitalization of the Halifax Seaport and waterfront, The Halifax Foundation re-dedicated the majestic statue, which is presently located in a prominent position adjacent to the Cunard Centre and overlooking the harbor.

On hand for the festivities were many members of the Paton Family, direct descendants of Samuel Cunard, whose younger members, Geoffrey, age 7; Ben, age 11; and Sam, age 13 cut the commemorative ribbon during the re-dedication. At that moment, Queen Elizabeth sounded her whistle in acknowledgement of the historic occasion.

Captain Christopher Wells, master of Queen Elizabeth, and members of the ship’s company joined the re-dedication ceremony on the waterfront. In his remarks Wells said, “The city of Halifax holds unique significance to Cunard Line, and we are proud to join Samuel Cunard’s descendants as we celebrate this special occasion. It is truly gratifying to see this majestic symbol of Samuel Cunard’s legacy take such a prominent position on the waterfront; it stands as a beacon to visitors from all over the globe, which is fitting since Samuel Cunard made far-reaching travel possible for untold millions.”

Prior to her maiden call to Halifax, Queen Elizabeth made her inaugural visit to Boston, before continuing up the eastern seaboard through Maine. She completes her maiden New England and Canadian Adventure voyage with a maiden call to Québec City, Quebec and Cornerbrook, Newfoundland before returning to Southampton, England.

Photo Courtesy of Cunard Line.
In front of Sir Samuel Cunard statue on Halifax waterfront, Left to Right: John Langley, Chairman, Cunard Steamship Society; Captain Christopher Wells, Master of Queen Elizabeth; The Honourable Alan R. Abraham, Vice Chairman of the Halifax Foundation. In the foreground: Members of the ship's company flank, members of the Paton Family, direct descendants of Samuel Cunard: Ben, Geoffrey, Sam and their father, Hugh.

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