Thursday, March 31, 2016

The "Abegweit"

Donald Putnam (Editor).  Canadian Regions.  A Geography of Canada.  J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Ltd., 1952.

With her name taken from the Mi'kmaq word for Prince Edward Island, Epekwit'k, meaning "cradled (or cradle) on the waves," the Abegweit was designed by German & Milne of Montreal and launched in 1946 at the Marine Industries Limited shipyard in Sorel, Quebec.  At the time of her commissioning, she was the most powerful icebreaker in the world and, with a length of 113 meters and displacement of 7000 tons, was at one time the heaviest vessel ever constructed in Canada.  (The Cecon Pride, now the Micoperi Pride, launched in 2013 at the historic Davie Shipyard in Lévis, Quebec, is bigger, at 130 metres and 10,000 DWT.) Affectionately known as the "Abby", she remained in service until 1982.  She was saved from the wreckers through a wonderful quirk of fate.  The Columbia Yacht Club had been refused a permit to build a clubhouse on the Chicago waterfront.  To get around this, they bought the Abby to serve as a floating clubhouse. She remains in that role to this day, still with her original name and colours

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