Historic model of Canadian navy ship likely saved from scrapyard
PORT ALBERNI, B.C. -- A huge model of an historic Canadian naval vessel has been saved from destruction and may eventually find a future at a Ladysmith military museum.
Ben Kingston works for Canadian Maritime Engineering and says the model was destined to be carved up and dumped, but will now be spared.
"Nobody had really come up with a good plan on where it could go and when I heard it was going to get destroyed, I thought it was worth trying to save," Kingston says.
The model is of HMCS Rainbow, an Apollo Class cruiser built for Great Britain's Royal Navy in 1892 before being transferred to the Canadian Navy.
The replica was in a CME facility in Port Alberni being used by Navy cadets for training. When their league folded, the vessel remained and was apparently taking up needed space.
"It's been sitting here in storage collecting dust and we're trying to find the rightful owner of it to send it home," says CME sales representative Steve Dunagan.
But wherever it ends up, it's going to require a lot of space.
"It's 21 feet long, five-and-a-half feet tall and three feet wide, there's a steel frame underneath, plywood on the bottom, the rest is wood with some tin for smokestacks and various wires,” Kingston says.
Both he and Dunagan say constructing the model would have been an immense amount of work.
"We build boats and refit boats on a regular basis and it seemed a shame to dispose of it,” Dunagan says. “Somebody put a lot of hours into building it and it's obviously a piece of history, so we wanted to preserve it."
Kingston hopped onto social media Wednesday, March 24 looking for a new location for the replica to berth, and he found instant takers.
The first to call dibs on the model was McLean Welsh of the War Dungeon Military Museum in Ladysmith.
"I think I may build a building for it,” Welsh says. “Early naval stuff, especially anything Canadian, I've got quite a bit of Canadian stuff from every conflict. The ship is pretty wild.”
He says his nephew called him as soon as he saw a posting that Kingston had placed offering the vessel up for a new collector.
Kingston says he's had a great response from possible takers.
"I probably had somebody looking or interested in less than half an hour,” he says. “Since then, I've had about 10 offers of people looking for it. It feels really good. I was really afraid it was going to be garbage."