Published on May 15, 2013
© The Yarmouth Vanguard
Article/Photo by Tina Comeau
After years of envisioning, planning, researching and prep and site work, the first of seven memorial panels inscribed with the names of people from Yarmouth County who lost their lives at sea was carefully positioned into place on the morning of Wednesday, May 15.
And then came a second memorial panel. The others would follow throughout the day.
By the end of the process the seven memorial stones - which will make up the Lost to the Sea Memorial - will bear the names of around 2,500 people, with room left on the final stone for the addition of another 200 names if, or when, needed. Additional names would include those in the future who are lost or die at sea, or names that may have been missed or not provided during the research stage.
The Lost to the Sea Memorial is located at the corner of Glebe and Water Streets. It will be officially unveiled on Yarmouth's Natal Day on Sunday, June 9 at 2 p.m.
For years this memorial was a conceptual drawing - the original drawings were produced in 2006 following a motion in 2005 to undertake the project. As the memorial now takes shapes physically, those who have been involved in the project - including the project committee, the Yarmouth Waterfront Development Corporation and staff at the Yarmouth County Museum - are feeling a great sense of satisfaction and pride.
"We're just delighted that we finally got this in place and we're getting ready for the unveiling on June 9," said Jim Corning, executive director of the waterfront development corporation, as he watched the work taking place on Wednesday morning. "The committee that we've had has stuck with us for the six to seven years it's taken. Dick Stewart, a board member, was the original mover and shaker who wanted something on the waterfront to remember those lost, so we're finally going to see it come together."
A bronze ship's wheel and a water feature are also being incorporated into the memorial's design.
A week prior to the June 9 unveiling of the Lost to the Sea Memorial on Yarmouth's waterfront, ceremonies will be held on Saturday, June 1, in Tusket at 11 a.m. (adjacent to the Argyle Township Court House and Archives) and at the Cape Forchu lighthouse at 2 p.m. where interpretive panels drawing people's attention to the memorial will be unveiled.
A crew from Yarmouth Crane was putting the panels into place on May 15. Committee member Dave Warner said each panel weighs 7,700 pounds so additional work was needed to prepare the site for the crane. Given the weight of the panels they could not be brought to the site all at once. The first two panels were in place by 9:30 a.m.
The first of the panels includes the names of people lost at sea during unknown timeframes. After that the names are in chronological order, dating back over the past few centuries with the most recent name being that of 20-year-old Michael Doucette of Wedgeport who was lost at sea in January of this year.
There is set criteria for being included on the memorial, most importantly, the person had to be born in Yarmouth County or be a resident of Yarmouth County. Names that were submitted that didn't meet the criteria are still included on the Lost to the Sea Memorial website, but not on the panels. Stories of those whose names are on the memorial are also included on the website - losttothesea.com.
Originally the plan had been to unveil the memorial during Yarmouth's 250th celebrations in 2011. But funding and the added time required to research all of the names pushed the project back.
The total cost of the project, including in-kind donations, is expected to be just under $510,000. Canadian Heritage provided $225,000 towards the memorial and the municipalities of Yarmouth and Argyle made contributions towards interpretive panels. The rest of the project has been funded by the corporation, which receives its funding from the Town of Yarmouth.
The criteria for being included in the Lost to the Sea List:
- Born in Yarmouth County or a resident of Yarmouth County.
- Drowned in salt water.
- Ship is missing - entire crew lost.
- Fell overboard and drowned.
- Killed by an accident while on board a ship at sea.
- Killed in a mutiny.
- Died of disease while on a ship.
- Died at sea or in a foreign port (having arrived there on a ship).
- Died of wounds while serving on a ship, or with a connection to the ocean.