January 15, 2015
LAUNCH OF “WAR YUKON” STEAMSHIP IN 1918 REMEMBERED IN THE HISTORY DISPLAY AT THE BUTCHART GARDENS
Victoria, BC – On January 24th, 1918 at 10:30am Jennie Butchart broke a bottle of champagne across the bow of a ship christening her the War Yukon. News accounts of the day stated “Aiming very true, Mrs. R.P. Butchart, wife of the director of wooden shipbuilding on this coast for the Imperial Munitions Board, smashed the bottle of champagne across the fast receding bows of the steamer. Hats immediately went into the air and cheer after cheer rent the atmosphere as the gaily-beflagged hull sailed down the ways.”
In the annual ‘Historical Display’ at The Butchart Gardens which opened today, the ship is remembered with photographs along with the top portion of the champagne bottle moulded to a wooden replica of the G.H. Mumm bottle. The photographs not only show the ship prior to and during the launch, but also show the early days of Victoria’s harbour. The ship was the first of several built by Cameron-Genoa Mills Shipbuilders, Ltd. at a yard at Point Ellice. The War Yukon was part of an ambitious plan by the British government’s Imperial Munitions Board build the number of ships required for the war effort.
After the war the ship changed ownership a number of times and on June 12, 1933 was lost to the sea.
The Historical Display runs through March 15th, with photographs, letters and memorabilia in other parts of the multi-room display showing not only the development of the gardens, but also the deep community involvement of the Butchart family for over a century.
The Spring Prelude indoor garden which is also open runs through March 31st.
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