During a ceremony in Halifax aboard Queen Mary 2, Cunard Line announced today that it will become the lead sponsor of the Sir Samuel Cunard Memorial Project, an initiative designed to honour the company's founder by erecting a commemorative monument on the Halifax Harbourfront in the fall of 2006.
Originally spearheaded by the Master of Queen Mary 2, Commodore Ronald Warwick, the Sir Samuel Cunard Memorial Project is being realized by The Halifax Foundation, the only community foundation in Nova Scotia.
"As the company that bears Sir Samuel Cunard's name, we are extremely proud to support this historic project commemorating Cunard's contribution to Halifax and Nova Scotia," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales for Cunard Line. "We look forward to the realization of this very deserving memorial."
The project recognizes the far-reaching impact of Sir Samuel Cunard's contributions to the city of Halifax, province of Nova Scotia, Canada and the world. Recognized as the most renowned businessman in the Atlantic Provinces, Cunard revolutionized commerce and communications between continents nearly two centuries ago. He was a true visionary who foresaw the day when steam power would replace sailing on the North Atlantic, changing the course of maritime history and creating the "ocean railway." Cunard's ships were long associated with many maritime firsts including the first to use navigation lights and the first ship to be lit by electricity.
Cunard Line is the lead sponsor of the memorial, contributing a $75,000 donation, and The Halifax Foundation has now raised $100,000 to support the $275,000 project.
"We are honouring Cunard's remarkable legacy and his world-renowned company," said the Honourable Alan R. Abraham, Sr., Project Committee Chair, The Halifax Foundation. "We are very grateful to have the support of those who share a history with Cunard today -- a long overdue commemoration has come to life."
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Honours Cunard
The Cunard celebrations continued today at Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the largest site in Nova Scotia that collects and interprets various elements of Nova Scotia's marine history.
First, Commodore Ronald Warwick was inducted into the museum's Admiralty Circle, honouring his illustrious maritime career. He joined Cunard Line in 1970 and was appointed to the Carmania as a junior officer. He then went on to serve in various ranks on the QE2, Cunard Adventurer, Cunard Countess, Cunard Princess and Crown Dynasty. His first command was of the Cunard Princess when she was sailing in Alaskan waters in 1986. He was navigator on the first QE2 world cruise in 1975 and chief officer for a number of years, which included the period when the liner was requisitioned by the British Government for service in the Falkland Campaign.
Commodore Warwick first took command of the Queen Elizabeth 2 in July 1990 and helmed the ship until he departed in 2003 to oversee the construction of Cunard's new flagship, Queen Mary 2.
In addition, the museum and members of the Maritime Ship Modelers Guild, in association with the Cunard Steamship Society, unveiled the fully restored ship model of the Franconia, which Cunard debuted in 1923. The "Franconia Project" began in July 2003 with the complete dismantling and cataloging of all parts of the ship. The modelers then identified the many different tasks which were then assigned to working groups from the modelers' complement.
During this period the restoration has been witnessed by countless visitors to the museum who have enjoyed watching the modelers in the workshop specially built to house the Franconia model while under refurbishment.
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