A bronze bell from the S.S. Queen
The artifact described as "
"The ship was a site of nation building and it's one that Canadians don't know very well," said the exhibit’s curator
The Queen Victoria transported
The vessel was also famously the site of a champagne-soaked luncheon where the Canadian delegates and leaders from the Maritimes hammered out the plan to unite the
The return of the ship bell is a homecoming that is 150 years in the making, but it might not have happened were it not for one American with an affinity for
Since 1875, the ship's bell has been the cherished possession of
In gratitude, the captain of the Queen Victoria, Paul Pouilot of
"They feared that either the museum might confiscate the bell or the Canadian government may confiscate the bell."
One incident in particular came up again and again as evidence of
According to local memory, in the mid-60s an army helicopter landed in the parking lot of the women's club where the bell was being stored: a group of RCMP officers had been sent to strongarm residents into giving it up.
Another iteration of the tale recasts government agents disguised as insurance agents to appraise the bell.
"Perhaps at some point some Canadians came by helicopter and there may have been joking around but [that version] seems too bizarre to be true," said Lozier. "In the end we're extremely happy, we're extremely fortunate that good sense prevailed."
However the museum found a champion for its cause in
'The people of
However after much lobbying Bowen was able to persuade most people in the village that they had to do their part to help the Canadian celebrations.
"I think that if a museum dedicated to Canadian history was to do a major exhibit on the founding of a nation.. and this little community can help and participate, I think we ought to."
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