The Annual Mariners’ Memorial Service organized by the Mariners Park Museum and the South Bay United Church have developed an alternative plan for a service of remembrance for late County fishermen, merchant marine and Royal Canadian Navy members that will allow for physical distancing, due to COVID-19 pandemic and protocols.
An important tradition that serves to remember county folk that did their work on the water-either close to home or around the world- and both the Mariners Park Museum and the South Bay United Church wished to ensure the tradition continued.
Instead of being held inside the church, on Oct. 4 beginning at 9:30 a.m. people can gather on the grassy knoll between South Bay United Church and the Mariners Park Museum. If rain occurs the Annual Mariners’ Service will be held Oct. 18.
“We will gather on the grassy knoll between the museum and South Bay United,” stated Jessica Chase, Assistant Curator of museums for The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward. “Rev. Phil Hobbs will preside over a shortened service of approximately 30 minutes, with nods to the County’s maritime heritage. We will also pay tribute to those County mariners that have “crossed the bar” this past year.”
The Annual Mariners’ Service traces its roots back to the 1930’s and is one of only two such services left in Ontario.
“Social distancing will be maintained, and we will encourage those in attendance to wear masks,” Chase expressed. “There will be a keyboardist to provide us with music, though unfortunately we must refrain from singing aloud. We are encouraging people to bring their own lawn chairs, dress warmly, and attendees can feel free to peruse the outdoor exhibits at Mariners Park Museum after the service.”
Mariners Park Museum explores the many ways the inhabitants of Prince Edward County have interacted with its surrounding waters, from fishing and ship building to ice harvesting and rum running, and recreational pursuits such as boat racing.
The lighthouse located on the museum grounds was relocated from False Duck Island and beckons visitors to the site at South Bay, where they can also explore Fort Kente, a recreated fort from the 1812 War-era.