Nonsuch: A Cause to Support

Her deck was originally built to support ten sailors in bare feet. Then, after 40 years of being trod on by over four million pairs of shoes, the wear and tear was starting to show.

Written by Canada’s History

Posted July 16, 2013

“The Nonsuch needs your help. Help conserve her legacy.”

That’s what we wrote in 2013.

In 1668, the original Nonsuch sailed into Hudson Bay in search of furs. The voyage led to the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company two years later, and was instrumental in establishing commerce in Western Canada.

Built in England to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1970, the Nonsuch is considered one of the finest replicas in the world.

The replicated ketch travelled 14,000 km across open water and land before coming home to The Manitoba Museum. Her deck was originally built to support ten sailors in bare feet. Then, after 40 years of being trod on by over four million pairs of shoes, the wear and tear was starting to show.

Conservation is always an ongoing task — Museum conservators fight a daily battle to preserve the rigging and other ship components against dust, excess light, climate extremes, vandalism, gravity shifts and pests.

Considered by many to be the Museum’s most iconic artifact, it was critical to conserve the revered Nonsuch, in order to preserve this treasure for future generations.

This 1968 documentary, created by Nonsuch Films Limited, traces the construction, launching and sailing of the replica Nonsuch built to commemorate HBC's 300 anniversary. the original film is available at the Archives of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

This is what happened next...

Anchors aweigh

The Manitoba Museum gives new life to its Nonsuch Gallery.

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This article was updated November 26, 2019.

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