On the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s maiden call to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Sept. 25, Cunard celebrated the legacy of Sir Samuel Cunard, who hailed from Halifax and established the iconic ocean liner company bearing his name more than 171 years ago.
In honour of the maiden visit of Cunard’s newest ocean liner and the recent revitalization of the Halifax Seaport and waterfront, The Halifax Foundation re-dedicated the majestic statue yesterday which had been re-located last year to a more prominent position, adjacent to the Cunard Centre, overlooking the harbour and Georges Island.
On hand to join the festivities were many members of the Paton Family, direct descendants of Samuel Cunard, whose younger members, Geoffrey, age 7; Ben, age 11; and Sam, age 13 cut the commemorative ribbon during the re-dedication. At that moment, Queen Elizabeth sounded her whistle in acknowledgement of the historic occasion.
Captain Christopher Wells, master of Queen Elizabeth, and members of the ship’s company joined the re-dedication ceremony on the waterfront. In his remarks Wells said, “The city of Halifax holds unique significance to Cunard Line, and we are proud to join Samuel Cunard’s descendants as we celebrate this special occasion. It is truly gratifying to see this majestic symbol of Samuel Cunard’s legacy take such a prominent position on the waterfront; it stands as a beacon to visitors from all over the globe, which is fitting since Samuel Cunard made far-reaching travel possible for untold millions.”
“Today marks another noteworthy moment for the city of Halifax and the Cunard legacy,” said Alan R. Abraham, vice chairman of The Halifax Foundation. “Five years ago, we celebrated one of Halifax’s finest with a bronze statue of his likeness. We recognize his contributions to the city of Halifax again today and honour him with the re-dedication of his statue.”
In 2006, The Honourable Alan R. Abraham of The Halifax Foundation, along with John Langley, chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society, spearheaded the initiative to create a bronze statue of Sir Samuel Cunard, which was dedicated in October of that year and has presided over Halifax’s waterfront to recognize one of the city’s most famous and influential individuals. The statue depicts Cunard standing beside a ship’s telegraph, symbolic of steamship travel and the company he established.
"Cunard history and heritage is widespread as one might expect after 171 years, and counting. It was here that founder Samuel Cunard was born, later establishing a company which has no equal in the annals of ocean liner history. Today in Halifax was a great day for celebrating the man and his legacy," said John Langley, who is considered to be the foremost expert on the life of Samuel Cunard and who authored his biography, “Steam Lion.”
“We’re honoured to be included as one of Queen Elizabeth’s calls in her first year of operation,” said Cathy McGrail, manager of Cruise Development at the Halifax Port Authority. She added, “we're delighted to have Captain Wells and crew join the re-dedication of the Samuel Cunard statue, which has become a signature attraction to our port.”