Long time Kelowna resident and retired physician, Dr. John Harland was presented with the SS Beaver Award on April 12 by the Victoria-based Maritime Museum of BC.
Dr. Harland, who turns 94 in May, is being recognized for his internationally respected maritime publications that have advanced knowledge about sailing ship technology.
“We’re delighted to be able to present John with his award here in Kelowna,” said retired Admiral and Ambassador John Anderson. “John is one of the world’s preeminent go-to experts on how sailing ships actually functioned and his work typifies the achievements that are representative of this award.”
Dr. Harland developed an intense interest in ships in his youth by visiting the Belfast docklands and making ship models. John left medical school during WWII to join the Royal Navy. During his naval service, he developed a special interest in sailing warships and steam whale catchers, which later resulted in the publication of 5 books and numerous articles. A bio on Dr. Harland has been included with this media release.
The MMBC has been awarding the SS Beaver medal since 2012 and presents up to four commemorative medals each year to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to BC’s marine sector. A notable vessel or organization is also recognized annually. The award is a gold-plated medal struck from material salvaged from the Hudson’s Bay vessel, Beaver. Built in 1835, it was the first powered vessel that served for 52 years in North America’s west coast as a floating trading post, Royal Navy survey ship and finally as a towboat.
Retired Commodore Jan Drent, who is assisting with Dr. Harland’s presentation, explains the purpose of this award. “It is to acknowledge outstanding individual achievements and to create public awareness of the diversity of our province’s maritime activities. The Beaver medal has been awarded for an impressive variety of achievements, ranging from a naval architect whose tugboat designs are being used around the world, to deep sea research craft engineered and built here in BC.”