The Nonsuch was the ketch that sailed into Hudson Bay in 1668-1669 under Zachariah Gillam, in the first trading voyage for what was to become the Hudson's Bay Company two years later. Originally built as a merchant ship in 1650, and later the Royal Navy ketch HMS Nonsuch, the vessel was sold to Sir William Warren in 1667. The name means "none such", i.e. "unequalled". The ship was at the time considered smaller than many others but was specifically selected because of its small size so that when she arrived in the Hudson Bay and the James Bay she could be sailed up-river and taken out of water so the thick ice of the bay wouldn't crush her.
A replica of the original Nonsuch was commissioned by the HBC to celebrate their tercentenary in 1970. It was crafted using tools and materials familiar to the seventeenth century. She was crafted to be as close as possible to the original and featured many of the features ships of the time would have had such as "hiding cabins" (small bunks hidden within a cupboard). The vessel has peg board used for tracking position and speed, a charlie noble (a chimney with a mobile head). Like the original she was armed, and in the case of the replica carried six two-pound muzzle loading smoothbore guns. As with most ships of the era she was very ornate carrying many carvings that took months to complete. When completed, it was placed on a ship and transported to Canada by The M.V.Halifax City, owned by Charles Hills of Bristol, where it sailed down the Atlantic coast of Canada and the United States. It also sailed through the Great Lakes and then was placed on a semi trailer and taken to Seattle for a voyage down the Pacific coast. It was presented by HBC to the citizens of Manitoba and placed on permanent display in 1973 in the Nonsuch Gallery at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba (then called the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature). Built specifically for the ship, it is a 90-foot gallery giving the feel of a seventeenth-century scene to visitors and shows the ship at the English port of Deptford, just before embarking on her journey to Hudson Bay.
Length o/a: 54' draught: 6'
- "GILLAM, ZACHARIAH". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- "Our History: Transportation & Technology: The Nonsuch". HBC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
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