Sea Keeper mural on its maiden voyage to Ohio

Click to play video: 'Saint Lawrence Seaway embarks on 59th navigation season' Saint Lawrence Seaway embarks on 59th navigation season
WATCH ABOVE: A mural paying tribute to Canada's 150th and Montreal’s 375th anniversaries was unveiled in celebration of the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway's 59th navigation season. Global's Navneet Pall reports – Mar 20, 2017

It’s the first day of spring and that means the St. Lawrence Seaway is once again open for business after being closed for the winter season.

To commemorate the occasion, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) honoured Canada’s 150th and Montreal 375th anniversary with the inauguration of a mural on the CSL St. Laurent, the company’s new state-of-the-art ship which was the first to leave Montreal’s locks.

The mural, called Sea Keeper, is an image of a Canadian icon, the goose, and was conceived by artist Bryan Beyung and executed by the A’Shop art collective, led by painter FONKi.

“It’s actually the most amazing project we’ve ever worked on,” FONKi said.

All told, it took A’Shop just two weeks and 250 cans of spray paint to create the mural.

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“We’ve been able to witness the four seasons in four days, it was warm then it was snowing,” FONKi said. “It’s great because the goose has to go through all the seasons to migrate.”

The Sea Keeper is a goose in shape but with a closer look, layers of  colours and Canadian symbols emerge.

“We wanted to celebrate, for example, the First Nations,” FONKi said. “We couldn’t celebrate Canada and Montreal if it weren’t for the First Nations.”

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The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is a non-profit operating 13 locks throughout North America, and has been in existence for 59 years.

Despite the economic downturn, the corporation’s President and CEO Terence Bowles expects this year to be better than the last.

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“We’ve seen unemployment rates go down, [Canadian and U.S.] economies are better,” Bowles said. “Europe is doing a lot better, so these are all areas that we ship to.”

The so-called H2O Highway is responsible for generating 35 billion dollars in economic activity and creating 227,000 jobs.

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