Pender Island's Heritage Grafitti

John M. MacFarlane 2011

HMCS New Glasgow grafitti

On the cliff in Bedwell Harbour at Pender Island BC, in what is now part of the Gulf Islands National Park, it is still possible to make out the names of ships painted on the bare rock. Although it would now be considered as vandalism it was a common practice for vessels to leave calling cards on the water side of docks, in canal locks and on cliffs in anchorages.

On a visit in July in July 1989 I saw names that caught my eye:

  • New Glasgow (RCN frigate)
  • Royal T.65 (unknown)
  • MBI 1960 (unknown)
  • Port Quebec (RCN gate vessel)
  • Stettler (RCN frigate)
  • 10 (unknown)
  • Loripat (unknown)
  • Sault Ste. Marie (possibly RCN vessel)
HMCS Porte Quebec grafitti
At the marina I saw even more painted inscriptions:
  • YFP-308 (RCN yard craft)
  • Norav 1937-38 (unknown)
  • Porte Quebec UNTD 62 (gate vessel carry UNTD Cadets)
  • UNTD 63 (UNTD Cadets on a training cruise)
  • Tum Tum (power cruiser yacht)
  • Tsekoa (Government tug)
  • Danae 77 (power cruiser yacht)
  • YAG 306 (RCN yard craft)
  • Aquarius 1937 (yacht)
  • Sealark II (unknown)
  • Scagh Feb 67 (unknown)
  • Mistress 73 (unknown)
  • HMS Egeria 1905 (the subject of an upcoming article)

In earlier times younger members of the crew would sometimes be tasked (challenged or egged-on) with painting the name of the ship, or arranging stones in the name. Once I witnessed the name of the ship made out in oil-soaked rope on a hillside that was ignited at sunset as an announcement of our presence (nearly setting off a wildfire)! Today's vandalism, in the correct context, becomes a priceless martime heritage asset!

To quote from this article please cite:

John M. MacFarlane (2011) Pender Island Grafitti.

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