Skip to content

Time Traveller: Smashing a bottle over a ship's bow to send it off to sea

Here is a ship being christened at North Vancouver's Burrard Dry Dock in 1947

Here is a photo of Shirley Wallace, the daughter of Hubert Wallace, christening a ship at the Burrard Dry Dock ca. 1947 during a ceremonial ship launch.

Ceremonial ship launches date back to the Romans and the Greeks, but the tradition of a woman breaking a champagne bottle over the bow of a ship, as Shirley is pictured doing, is believed to have been popularized by Queen Victoria in the early 1890s.

If the bottle fails to break during the ceremony, it is believed to be a sign of bad luck for the ship and its passengers.

Visit the MONOVA website for more information about the history of the North Shore and to plan your visit to MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver, now open at 115 West Esplanade in The Shipyards.

Currently, MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver, at 3203 Institute Road in Lynn Valley, is open for drop-ins on Monday and by appointment Tuesday-Friday, 12:30-4 p.m. Contact: [email protected]

Navigate culture on the North Shore by using the North Shore Culture Compass.