CANSO – There were blue skies and warm weather for this year’s Seamen’s Memorial ceremony in Canso on Sunday, and a very strong wind kept the Scout flag-bearers on their toes.
This was the first year that traffic was rerouted along the stretch of Highway 316 leading into the community, as a safety measure to protect people walking to and from the Seamen’s Memorial park and standing near the roadway for the duration of the event.
Ray White was emcee for the well-attended ceremony, which is organized and hosted each year by the Canso Lions Club. He made special recognition of St. Mary’s Warden Michael Mosher who drove from his home in Marie Joseph to represent his municipality at the event. Mosher started fishing with his son in the 2018 season.
Mosher noted the importance of the fishing industry in the history of communities in St. Mary’s, from shipbuilding in Sherbrooke and the Coast Guard and lighthouse in Port Bickerton, to the fishing villages that dot the coastline.
“Remembering those who dedicated their lives to the fishing industry is so important to us that we wanted to make the journey here today,” he said. “To see the community support of all ages here is just wonderful.”
Canso-area church leaders, choirs and other government representatives also took part in the program.
In his remarks, Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie MLA and Minister of Transportation Lloyd Hines noted that although the fishery was not always well-managed in the past, he is encouraged by seeing the industry “alive and well” in Canso and many other coastal communities in the province today.
He said he was hopeful for the future of the industry because of today’s better management techniques and the “great stewardship of the fishermen and women who are the best ones to look after the fishery.”
MODG council member Dave Hanhams talked about the proclamation of Seamen’s Memorial Day in the provincial legislature back in 1989, as a day to remember those lost at sea and the dangers faced by seafaring people.
Piper Sandra MacIsaac and Arid MacIsaac played a piper’s lament as the flags were raised as a special salute.
Lion Barry Lumsden and Lion Janet Delorey read the names from the Memorial and the “In Memory” list. Wreaths were laid by the special guest, family members and area business and organizations and plaques indicating donations to the Memorial fund for upkeep of the site.
Wreaths placed on the Seamen’s Memorial will be on display until Sunday, August 18, when boats will meet at 1 p.m. at Whitman’s Wharf to pick up the wreaths. Captain Bill Bond of the Melissa and Papa III will lead the flotilla of boats. The boats will circle the harbour before taking the wreaths out to Chedabucto Bay for a final blessing and laid on the sea as a tribute to lost fishermen from area communities.