By Jason Zuidema
Representatives of the Port and supporting communities gathered on November 23 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially re-open Mariners’ House, the seafarers centre in the port of Montreal.
Robert Zeagman, President of Seagulf Marine Industries and the Mariners’ House Board of Directors welcomed all gathered and expressed how happy he was to see such a warm and welcoming location for seafarers. Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of Montreal Port Authority, was the guest of honour and cut the ribbon. Fr. Andrew Thuraisingam and Chaplain Michelle DePooter blessed the new facility, asking that it continue to be a place of hospitality and service for seafarers.
The new centre is the latest development in the rich history of seafarers’ welfare in Montreal. The Montreal Sailors’ Institute (founded 1862) and the Catholic Sailors’ Club (founded 1869) combined in the 1960s to become Mariners’ House of Montreal. A third group, the Montreal Ministry to Seafarers (founded 1965), became an official associate in 2001. Mariners’ House is a wonderful example of the successful input of the local maritime community and aid organizations for the benefit of seafarers. These collaborations continue today, driving the comprehensive facilities that seafarers can find when calling at Montreal.
Carolyn Osborne, general manager of Mariner’s House, said “We are very happy with our improved surroundings. Seafarers look forward to relaxing after a long watch, using the high-speed Wi-Fi connection or enjoying a friendly conversation with a volunteer or staff member. We are grateful to Port of Montreal and all our patrons for their support of our centre.”