The BCP45 rose to fame when the Bank of Canada used a 1958 image of the boat, taken north of Campbell River during sockeye salmon season, on the back of the $5 bill from 1972 to 1986. Today the historic seiner is housed at the Maritime Heritage Centre in Campbell River, along with many other important maritime artifacts.

Discover sailboat built by man blinded by explosives, Megalodon tooth and more

Maritime Heritage Centre has so much more to ‘seiner’ and do than the historic BCP45

Most people who visit the Maritime Heritage Centre in Campbell River want to see the BCP45.

The historic seiner is famous for gracing the back of the Canadian $5 bill from 1972 to 1986, and is arguably the centrepiece of the non-profit activity centre’s North Island marine history collection.

But there’s more to discover for locals and tourists alike, says Operations Manager Katrina Clark.

The ‘Margaret M

This 14-foot sailboat was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for being built by a man who was blind and had one arm.

As the story goes, 10-year-old Arthur Barnes of Victoria was helping his father at work when an explosive detonated. Barnes lost his eyesight and part of his right arm, but that didn’t stop him from building the Margaret M between 1951 and 1952 — a proper sailboat made of red cedar planks on steamed oak ribs.

Ian Andersen of Comox says he remembers his father and other machinists adapting tools for Barnes to use. “Very eerie to be in a room in total darkness listening to a person by himself sawing lumber on a table saw,” Andersen says. “One I will never forget.”

Jagged tooth gigantic

The now-extinct Megalodon was a prehistoric shark with jaws large enough to encompass a small vehicle.

Its name — derived from the Greek words for “jagged,” “tooth” and “gigantic” — suits it well. Scientists believe it had jaws that stretched over 2 metres across, with 276 serrated teeth spanning five rows. It’s also estimated to have grown up to 20 metres in length and weighed 50 tonnes.

Of the few hundred Megalodon teeth that have been excavated around the world, one is housed at the Maritime Heritage Centre. The triangular tooth was donated by Dr. Robert Somerville. Somerville was a Campbell River optometrist known for displaying his collected maritime artifacts in his waiting room and offices before he passed away in 2017.

‘Knot’ your average activity centre

If learning about the Megalodons inspires you to improve your seaworthiness, the centre also features an interactive sailing knot display.

Local sailing enthusiast and long-time volunteer Ruedi Pletscher built the display, which includes informational plaques about hitches, bends, sinets and sailing techniques in between, as well as yards of rope you can use to develop your skills.


“Ruedi keeps adding to it, making it even more amazing,” Clark says. “If you’ve been here before, there are new things to see.”

For more information about the Maritime Heritage Centre, exhibit hours and affordable volunteer-led local history tours, visit maritimeheritagecentre.ca. You can also call the centre at 250-286-3161, email info@maritimeheritagecentre.ca or visit in person at 621 Island Highway.

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Discovery Harbour outbreak declared over

Island Health says no new cases developed at Campbell River long-term care home

Mike Aldersey, the Port McNeill base manager for West Coast Helicopters has been awarded the prestigious Agar/Stringer Award by the Helicopter Association of Canada. (Submitted photo)
Vancouver Island pilot receives coveted helicopter industry award

Port McNeill based Mike Aldersey is the recipient of the 2o2o Agar/Stringer Award given out to select few Canadians

Although the Campbell River Shoebox Project is not actually collecting shoeboxes this year, instead they are providing gift cards, coordinator Alison Skrepnick (pictured from last year) hopes Campbell River and North Island residents will still participate. this year’s Dec. 9 deadline is looking. Photo contributed
Time running out to help brighten the holiday for local vulnerable women

The Campbell River and North Island Shoebox Project deadline is Dec. 9

Franca Warkentin, President, and Annie Holmes, Trustee, of the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary present a cheque for $500 to Hamper Chairman Ken Niesen. Photo contributed
Final week to apply for Christmas Hampers is upon us

Applications are coming in slowly but the Dec. 5 deadline is Saturday.

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

12-year-old Ella Smiley captured some video of orcas on a sea lion hunt on Nov. 28 at Kitty Coleman Park, just north of Courtenay. Photo by Ella Smiley
VIDEO: Orcas hunt sea lion near Vancouver Island shoreline

Twelve-year-old Ella Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings, caught up with a… Continue reading

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Most Read