1963.111 | Marco Polo

Marco Polo
William Vandervalk
1883, 20th century
270 x 190 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The Marco Polo met her end when, in a storm and leaking badly, she ran ashore at Cape Cavendish, PEI, on July 25, 1883. About a month later, she disintegrated and sank in another violent storm. One of the most detailed accounts of the event comes to us from Lucy Maud Montgomery, who witnessed the sad end of the mighty ship as a child. She speaks of how on that day "the waves ran mountains high" and the vessel was a "sight never to be forgotten." Run aground about 300 m from shore, "the foremast and the huge iron mainmast carrying the mizzen-topmast with it, went over with a crash that could be heard for miles above the roaring of the storm."

This side anchor was recovered from the wreck site in 1962. A century and a half after her launch, the Marco Polo remains New Brunswick's most famous ship and will be forever known as the fastest ship in the world.

  • What

    The anchor weighs approximately 450 kg and measures 2.7 m in height.

  • Where

    The Marco Polo was on a voyage from Montmorency, Quebec, to London when caught in the hurricane-like storm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

  • When

    In 1891 Lucy Maud Montgomery entered a story entitled "The Wreck of the Marco Polo" in a competition sponsored by The Montreal Witness.

  • Who

    In 1962 Frank Lewis and Tommy Gallant found the wreck in about 10 m of water.