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.