Foreground:Brian Maber, Jenna
Urdang, Alicia McLaughlin & Lucas Sears
Background: Barry Ogden &
Mint President, Danielle Wetherup
of shipbuilder cited as coin unveiled
hologram adorns $20 keepsake
By BOBBI-JEAN MacKINNON
Globe staff writer
James Smith didn't
listen to the naysayers when he was building the Marco
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
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
"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
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
The hologram cameo collector $20 sterling silver
coin marks the 150th anniversary of the famous vessel, built in Saint
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.
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.
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
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
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
Mr. Ogden, whose wife calls him Mr. Marco Polo,
said he wants to believe the mayor's pledge to build a
"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?"
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
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
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
The article above was taken from the Times
Globe newspaper, Wednesday, April 18, 2001 addition.
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