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North Vancouver gantry crane named

Boundary student dubs shipyard's crane 'Big Blue' — or Hiyi Skwayel in the Squamish language
seaspan crane
Seaspan's gantry crane was officially named Hiyi Skwayel — or Big Blue — on Wednesday

Seaspan's massive new addition to the North Vancouver waterfront got some heavy lifting this week from a Boundary elementary school student.

Ella Tinto, 9, christened the newly assembled gantry crane "Hiyí Skwáyel" - pronounced hee-yay sk-why-el and meaning "Big Blue" in the Squamish language - at a ceremony attended by her Grade 3/4 class on Wednesday at the North Vancouver shipyard.

Ella's name was chosen from more than 200 submissions from North Vancouver elementary school students in grades 4 to 7 who took up the challenge of coming up with a suitable name for the North Shore's most notable new landmark.

Suggestions ranged from potentially copyrightchallenging "Captain Hook" to the more prosaic "Kevin," as well as "Ichabod Crane," "Seaspan Goliath," "The Megalodon" (after a prehistoric shark) and even "Sha-Crane-O'Neal."

Over half a dozen students suggested the name "Big Blue," said Jeff Taylor, spokesman for Seaspan, but Ella was the only one who suggested the Squamish language translation.

The final selection was made through a vote of Seaspan's employees.

On Wednesday, Ella got to see her suggestion written large on the side of the crane, as well as ride up to near the top of the crane in a scissor lift with her dad - Seaspan employee Tony Tinto - and company officials.

The new gantry crane can lift 300 tonnes and stands 80 metres tall. Once it's operational - later this summer - the gantry crane will be the largest of its type in Canada.

The crane will do the heavy lifting when the shipyard starts building vessels under the federal government's $8 billion National Shipbuilding Program this fall.

"It really is the centrepiece of all the improvements we've been doing over the past two years," said Taylor.

As part of Wednesday's events, Seaspan presented a cheque for $5,000 to the North Vancouver School District. Ella Tinto also won an iPad air for her winning suggestion.