Two ships & Canadian sovereignty
May 12th, 2021
The legendary ship, St. Roch is famous for its 1940s west-east traverse of the Northwest Passage made to ensure Arctic sovereignty for Canada. The St. Roch is on permanent display at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
But another, little-known vessel was also part of the Arctic sovereignty effort: the Inuvialuit-owned North Star of Herschel Island.
To remedy this oversight, writer, sailor and artist, R. Bruce Macdonald (right) has written a biography of the two historical vessels, Sisters of the Ice: The True Story of How St. Roch and North Star of Herschel Island Protected Canadian Arctic Sovereignty (Harbour Publishing $19.95), an adventurous true story featuring everything from sea voyages to seafaring characters to escapes from dangerous ice conditions.
A virtual book launch will be held by Macdonald and the Vancouver Maritime Museum on June 1 at 7 pm. Macdonald’s virtual presentation, including unpublicized photographs, will include a brief history of Canadian Arctic sovereignty, starting with whalers in the western Arctic in the 1890s through to the Cold War in the 1950s. He will tell tales about storms, mysterious deaths and navigating the ice, and screen a brief video clip of life in the Arctic at the height of the fur trade.
Admission to the book launch is free, but registration is required. Books are available to purchase from the Vancouver Maritime Museum gift shop. For more information or to register, please visit https://vanmaritime.com/sisters-of-ice-virtual-book-launch/.
R. Bruce Macdonald has owned and operated North Star of Herschel Island for the past 25 years and has met and interviewed many of the people or their extended families who knew the ship in the Arctic. His first book, North Star of Herschel Island, was hailed by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, as “an important book that every Canadian should read.” Author Farley Mowat called the book “a helluva great book about one helluva great ship.”
Macdonald has published hundreds of articles in dozens of magazines worldwide and has logged over 100,000 nautical miles on the Great Lakes and in oceans worldwide and is passionate about the history and protection of Canada’s Northwest Passage.
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