A Community Project

This restoration project was only made possible through the generous donations and funding by people who shared the vision and understood the importance of this boat.

The “Friends of the Merriwake” which included Joy Kogawa, Ian Fraser, David Jackson and Barbara McBride were the first to identify the need to save this boat and how its story reflected the journey of the thousands of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. With donations from these Friends and a grant from Columbia Basin Trust we started on this journey. The Copper Nail Boat Shop was engaged and the boat moved from Kaslo to Bonnington. Ted Fitzgerald – the last private owner – was especially happy to see the “old girl” be restored.

More than $13,000 was raised from private individuals including through the Vancouver Foundation – the Kogawa-Nakayama Fund and Howard C. Green Memorial Fund. A further $10,000 from the Boag Foundation. Partnerships were formed with the Village of Slocan and the Slocan Valley Heritage Trail Society as a location for its final resting place was identified. Regional District of Central Kootenay provided funding for the Conservation Plan.

The final funding for the restoration was provided by the Heritage, Museum & Archive program through Heritage BC and supported by Columbia Basin Trust.

In addition, we had a donation of period nails and other hardware from Vancouver Island Waterjet. The Copper Nail Boat shop kindly waived their storage fees while they waited patiently for us to arrange funding for the project. Former owner Bob Farrell donated the original driveshaft and propeller to the project. This was taken off the boat during his restoration of the craft in the late 1990s.

An unexpected bonus – we were approached by Shaw Spotlight. They wanted to do a documentary on the restoration of wooden boats and feature the Merriwake. Covid delayed some of the work, but it is expected to be released in 2022.

Village of Slocan logo
Our Funders
Merriwake at a the Boat Shop
2018 Merriwake arrived at the Copper Nail Boat Shop in Bonnington
Ready for Priming
Wild fire smoke in the background... this stalled the work on painting
Outside nearly complete - fall 2021
Aft Stem before replacing
New Aft Stem crafted
New Aft Stem installed
Oh-oh, this needs to be fixed
Craftmanship by original builders
This photo shows the detail of craftmanship from the original builder. Bulkhead fasteners installed in hand cut mortise and dress with a custom cut wedge. There are several of these in the original.
Steam bent Oak Ribs being installed
Installing new steam bent oak ribs
New screws need to look old
Period Boat Nails donated to the Project by Vancouver Island Waterjet
It's about the patina...don't need to clean it up too much.
And again the patina - shows it's age
Freshly varnished window frames
Ready to be dressed with new paint and canvas
New canvas being installed
Fine Tuning
Picture is worth a thousand words
Lovely nighttime picture