The model ships of Thiren Smallman at the Lefurgey Centre
Thiren Smallman may have been born sixty-nine years ago on a farm in western PEI, but his dream was to go to sea as a sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy.
However, rheumatic fever at the age of fourteen took the dream away. But it could not kill his love of the ships that sail the world’s seas. He studied and read about many of them and thought of them as his heroes.
The Bluenose was one such ship and in 2002, Smallman, who works as a truck driver and carpenter, challenged himself to build from scratch a model of the famous Nova Scotia ship, simply by looking at a photograph. He went on to build ships such as the Marco Polo, the Phantom Ship, the Edmond FitzGerald, Queen Mary, Titanic, and more. His work, much of which is by commission, has sold as far as Ontario.
Now Smallman is ready for his first solo exhibit which will run through July and August at the Lefurgey Cultural Centre, part of Wyatt Heritage Properties, in Summerside—the house that was once the home of Island shipbuilder John Lefurgey. The exhibit can be viewed Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm at the centre, 205 Prince Street.