There was an air of mystery surrounding the first ship to ascend the Welland Canal in St. Catharines on Thursday.
When visitors showed up at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Center at Lock 3 for the annual top hat ceremony to open the waterway, they were greeted by a ship already in the locks, the CSL Welland.
The mystery was what lay under a giant white tarp covering the Trillium-class bulk carrier’s accommodation block as it lay there en route to Lake Erie.
Crew members stood on the port (left) and starboard (right) sides of the vessel awaiting a signal from CSL President and CEO Louis Martel, who was in the center speaking.
When they received this signal, they unveiled a colossal 16 by 14 meter mural depicting four runners in motion, struggling together towards a common goal.
“The Runners” was created by Canadian artists Bryan Beyung, Emmanuel Jarus, Andrea Wan and KC Hall to celebrate the spirit of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games taking place across the region August 6-21.
In a statement, Canada Steamship Lines said each artist painted a racer according to their distinct style, vision and tradition.
“Together, the four riders create a collective and harmonious work that reflects the broad mix of people, cultures, backgrounds and abilities in amateur sport today,” the statement read.
“As presenting sponsor of the Canada Games Torch Relay, we were very pleased to work with these young artists,” said Martel. “They captured the spirit of athletics and the common values we share with the Games – collaboration, inclusion, diversity, integrity, responsibility and perseverance.”
Doug Hamilton, chair of the board of the Niagara 2022 Host Society, said the original artwork will be a lasting legacy for the Games and the ideals they represent.
During the top hat ceremony, it was announced that the ship would carry the torch of the Games for its Montreal-Niagara leg. The torch will first be lit in Ottawa in July before heading to Montreal on CSL Welland.
Once on the Welland Canal, it will be brought ashore and travel through the Niagara region before a lighting ceremony during the Games Opening Ceremony.
“We can’t wait to see CSL Welland and this beautiful mural create energy and excitement for the Games — and we can’t wait to see a CSL ship carry the Canada Games torch for the first time in the world. story of the event,” Hamilton said.
Choosing CSL Welland to carry the marine torch and carry the mural was a way for the company to honor the local communities with which it has close ties.
It was also chosen because of the vessel’s distinction as a pioneer in supporting sustainable Great Lakes shipping as the company strives to achieve a zero-carbon future.
The vessel is an active participant in CSL’s biofuel program and has logged the most engine hours on B100 biodiesel of any vessel in the world.
“The success of using biofuel on CSL Welland and other CSL ships demonstrates the viability and practicality of this green alternative to support the decarbonization of shipping,” the statement said.
Since 2019, CSL vessels have accumulated nearly 30,000 hours of biodiesel operation, which is the longest biofuel trials in the world.
The company said the result reduced life-cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80%, compared to using marine gas oil.
“We are excited to announce that we will continue our B100 biofuel program on eight vessels during the 2022-2023 Great Lakes shipping season,” Martel said.
“Like the racers depicted in the mural, CSL is committed to continuous improvement and finding solutions to stay at the forefront of safer, greener and more responsible boating,” said he adds.
He said the company is doing this for young athletes, artists and the future of its customers, communities, environment and industry.