The winners from the 2018 Northwest Passage Hall of Fame awards
This year’s inductee is the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 1923-25 expedition to establish their first trading post on King William Island. This expedition, led by Petter Norberg and Henry Bjørn, not only created new economic opportunities to trade with the Inuit of the Central Arctic, but the expedition also included a successful navigation of 420 miles from west to east through the Queen Maud Gulf in a former San Francisco Racing yacht El Sueño.
We are pleased to announce this year, the selection of the North Star of Herschel Island which resides in the Maritime Museum’s Heritage Harbour. This vessel was built in San Francisco in 1935 for a pair of Inuit trappers. It became the largest of its kind to operate in the Canadian Arctic, and was the last to remain in operations, retiring only in 1961. The first owners, through hard work and business ability gained financial and personal success, even at the time of the Great Depression. During the Cold War, Prime Minister Diefenbaker asked the owners of North Star to establish a presence on Banks Island at the western entrance to Canada’s Northwest Passage. This was to deter any Russian or American occupation of the strategically located island. Not only is North Star a symbol of the Canadian Arctic, but also of an Inuit success story.
The VMM is pleased to select Sven Johansson for the 2018 Northwest Passage Hall of Fame Individual Category. Sven was born in Sweden in 1924, but emigrated to Canada in 1962 and lived at Reindeer Station which sits on the McKenzie River Delta. His skills for Reindeer Husbandry, which he learned in Lapland, earned him a job with the Canadian Government, managing the reindeer herds in the Western Arctic. While living in the McKenzie Delta, Sven also took part in Geological surveys of Canada’s Polar Shelf as the owner and skipper of the North Star of Herschel Island. Perhaps one of Sven’s greatest accomplishments came in 1989 when, as captain of Belvedere, a 60 foot sailing yacht, he became the first person to captain a private vessel through the Northwest Passage.