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Coin Unveiling Ceremonies Photo Credit WebWise Inc.
Foreground:Brian Maber, Jenna Urdang, Alicia McLaughlin & Lucas Sears
Background: Barry Ogden & Mint President, Danielle Wetherup


Courage of shipbuilder cited as coin unveiled
Marco Polo hologram adorns $20 keepsake

By BOBBI-JEAN MacKINNON
Times Globe staff writer

   James Smith didn't listen to the naysayers when he was building the Marco Polo.
    He paid no attention when they said his design – combining a New Brunswick timber drougher, which is square on the mid ships, and a clipper, which is sleek and narrow - would not sail.
    And he gave no heed when the ship was described in a newspaper article as looking like a "pregnant duck."
    Mr. Smith believed in what he was doing, even when 'others did not and set new standards in speed, design and construction when the Marco Polo was launched in 1851.
   "Imagine if he would have listened to the naysayers, the critics, the people who did not believe," said Barry Ogden, a long-time Marco Polo enthusiast. "Everything is possible if we believe and support one another. "
    Mr. Ogden, who knows what it's like to persevere, was speaking to about 400 people yesterday at a special ceremony to launch a commemorative Marco Polo coin by the Royal Canathan Mint.
   The hologram cameo collector $20 sterling silver coin marks the 150th anniversary of the famous vessel, built in Saint John.
   Mint president, Danielle Wetherup, said the coin will serve as a symbol of our ancestors' achievements, recognizing their innovative spirit, ingenuity and progress in building a ship that captured the minds and hearts of people all over the globe.
    She credited Mr. Ogden for making the coin a reality, noting he has been lobbying for a long time. "I've been president almost seven years and one of the first letters I got about a coin was from Barry," she said.
   Mr. Ogden's mother, Elizabeth Ogden, knows that to be true, perhaps better than anybody. She remembers that her son told her when he was about 12 years old, " 'Someday I'm going to have the Marco Polo launched in Saint John. ' "
   Mrs. Ogden didn't really take it to heart at the time; Barry was only a boy. But all through high school and university, it remained his dream.
   The passion might have started with Mr. Ogden's great-grandfather, a captain, telling him stories about sailing, she said. Or it could have been from studying the Marco Polo at school. It could even have stemmed from watching the ships come in from the family business, the Balmoral Court Motel.
    But Mrs. Ogden thinks it all goes back to a model ship on the motel's lawn. The model, of an unknown tall ship, was given to Mr. Ogden's grandfather from an old fish store. Today, it sits in Mr. Ogden's basement where his two sons have played around it with plastic model boats.
   Mr. Ogden, whose wife calls him Mr. Marco Polo, said he wants to believe the mayor's pledge to build a replica.
    "I just question why does it take so long to make things happen in this community?" he said, defining feasibility studies as "a Canadian disease of extreme procrastination and fear.
    "When we come together, we can do anything," he said, citing the Imperial Theatre and Harbour Station as examples. "What holds us back? Fear? Division? Egos? Lack of belief in who we are or in others?"
   Built in Saint John in 1851 by James Smith, the Marco Polo was considered to be the fastest ship in the world at the time and was named the Queen of the Seas. It beat the world record run from England to Australia by a full week and it reached England from Canada in 15 days on its recordbreaking maiden voyage. It was also the first ship to circumnavigate the world in less than six months.
    Four elementary school students were each presented with a commemorative coin by the mint to recognize their study and enthusiasm for the ship: Jenna Urdang, Alicia McLaughlin, Brian Maber and Lucas Sears.
    In addition to the Marco Polo coin, two other coins were also launched yesterday in the Marco Polo Room at the Hilton Hotel: the Russell "Light Four" Model L Touring Car built by the Canadian Cycle & Motor Company Ltd. and The Scotia coin, featuring the first locomotive in Canada to be built with a steel boiler. The three coins comprise the mint's Land, Sea and Rail series for 2001.
   Each coin contains one troy ounce of sterling silver (92.5 per cent silver, 7.5 per cent copper) and bears a 24karat goldplated holographic cameo. Mintage of each individual coin has been limited to 15,000 worldwide.
   The coins are available for $59.95 each from the Royal Canadian Mint's worldwide network of dealers and distributors or by calling the mint directly at I -800-267-1871
The article above was taken from the Times Globe newspaper, Wednesday, April 18, 2001 addition.

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