September 22, 2015
Historic celebration at the Port of Québec surrounding the return of the MS Marco Polo to the St. Lawrence 50 years after its first arrival
Québec, September 22, 2015 – The Québec Port Authority (QPA) held a historic event this morning in collaboration with the Naval Museum of Québec to celebrate the return of the MS Marco Polo, which first came to Québec 50 years ago when the ship was called the Alexander Pushkin.
The ship’s arrival was highlighted for the first time by the City of Québec in April 1966. At the time, it was the very first ship from the USSR to sail the St. Lawrence River as it inaugurated the first Leningrad-Montréal transatlantic line. During a brief ceremony at city hall, Captain Aram Organov presented then-Mayor the Honourable Gilles Lamontagne with a gift from the mayor of Leningrad. The ship had 320 sailors and 700 passengers on board.
“It’s important for the Port to celebrate commemorative events that highlight the city of Québec’s marine heritage. I want to thank the Naval Museum of Québec, a true gold mine for Canadian marine history, as well as its director, André Kirouac, for helping us with this event”, said Mario Girard, President and CEO of the QPA.
“The arrival of the MS Marco Polo, formerly the Alexander Pushkin, makes us reminisce about the 1960s, as Canada was preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary and our society was showing its openness to the world. Relationships were being forged between the world’s port cities, as evidenced by the gift the mayor of Leningrad sent to Mayor Lamontagne in 1966 when the Pushkin chose the Port of Québec as a privileged location for its first stop in Canada”, stated André Kirouac of the Naval Museum of Québec.
The ship is coming back to the St. Lawrence this year as part of a 34-day cruise departing London for a commemorative trip to Canada. It has on board 678 cruise ship passengers, who are mostly English or Dutch, and 343 crew members. The MS Marco Polo should be returning to England on October 11. For more information on the ship, visit portquebec.ca/en.
Advisor, Public Relations and Events
Québec Port Authority